The Windmill Theatre in London's Soho – the subject of the film and musical Mrs Henderson Presents – is set to reopen as a theatrical dining concept.
The venue has been acquired by Ryan Bishti's Cream Group (a backer of Lewis Hamilton's Neat Burger) and Amrit Walia's Global Hospitality & Events, the first collaborative venture for the two. Following a £10m restoration, the venue will reopen in June as the Windmill Soho, a 350-capacity dining concept and bar.
The site will put on entertainment inspired by the revudeville variety programmes which were conceptualised at the Windmill in the 1930s. "We will be paying homage and due respect to what it did back then – we're doing a modern day version," said Bishti.
"Once we came up with this concept we were trying to identify the best possible venue to home it, and then the Windmill just basically ticked all the boxes. We're bridging the gap between dining, theatrics, performance, food and drink all under one roof."
Walia added: "We were discussing how we could really disrupt this market, create something special and new, combining fine dining with theatre and entertainment and music and ensure that it's available no matter what time they want to go out at night."
The menu will be designed by executive chef Andrew McLeish, also executive chef of Kent's Chapter One restaurant. The kitchen will be overseen day-to-day by head chef Chris Zachwieja, former executive head chef of the Grosvenor hotel in London's Victoria. The à la carte menu will include sashimi platters and Atilius Oscietra caviar alongside light bites such as ceviche and tuna and black sesame tacos.
Larger dishes will include truffle Parmesan tagliolini, crab spaghetti, whole grilled Dover sole, wagyu sliders and roast rack of lamb. Desserts will include white chocolate and vanilla lollipops with popping candy and the menu will also feature rotating guest chef dishes.
The building became the Windmill in 1930 after it was bought by socialite Laura Henderson, who turned the former Palais de Luxe into a theatre. The location became famed for its avant-garde variety acts and that it never closed during World Wars I or II, going through various ownerships until the venue's most recent closure in 2018.
The theatre's neon signs have been reinstated and the mezzanine inside maintained alongside a hydraulic stage. Set across three floors the building will have a main restaurant, the upstairs Palais De Luxe bar, the Royal Box private dining room and speakeasy Hendersons.
Mixologist Andy Milz from the Cocktail Trading Company and Murder Inc has designed vessels for cocktails that are themed around the history of the building, while Ibiza event producer High Scream Productions will oversee the variety acts. It is also understood the lines will occasionally blur between front of house staff and performers.
Bishti and Walia hope to expand the concept internationally eventually – both have ventures abroad including in Dubai, where Walia said he has seen spend per head increase 350% after restrictions were eased and is hoping to see the trend continue in the UK.
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