John O' Ceallaigh, The Daily Telegraph, September 4, 2012
Bentley’s Sea Grill, Harrods
Opening this month in the Harrods Food Halls, Bentley’s Sea Grill is the third London opening by Richard Corrigan. He’s also behind Bentley’s Oyster Bar and Grill and Corrigan’s Mayfair. Seafood is the focus, of course, with a dedicated seafood cocktail section being opened and dishes available including simply prepared wild salmon, wild sea bass and Dover Sole. One of the signature dishes is to be the Bentley’s Royal fish pie, a dish first served at the Queen’s 80th birthday as part of the BBC series Great British Menu. The original Bentley’s was founded in 1916 and, although it was closed down for some time, it remains operational in the same building today. Key elements from the original restaurant’s design are replicated in Harrods, with oyster shell lamps, linen drapes and English cutlery decorated the interior.
Bentley’s Sea Grill’s soft opening has commenced; its official launch takes place on September 12.
Graphic Bar, Soho
In 2011 we recommended Graphic Bar as one of London’s most stylish bars . This year sees a significant change to the space takes place, with the installation of its 3D exhibition space. For six months, artworks by 3D artist Jim Sharp will be on display and the scale of the works on show will only be fully apparent when visitors wear 3D glasses. The installation is the latest in a series of collaborations with local artists, who have included Ben Allen, Eine and Mark Wallinger.
Everything should be in place and ready to view by September 12.
House 19, Portman Square
This month’s opening of House 19 marks the re-launch of the restaurant and bar of members’ club Home House . Jeremy Brown is head chef and his menu will concentrate on high-end, British brasserie-style dining; artworks by Rupert Shrive, Simon Edmondson and others will be on display in the space; service is to be “unfussy and unpretentious” but the restaurant won’t be open to walk-ins from non-members.
The restaurant is now open.
The Jam Tree; Clapham
Already open in Chelsea and Kensington, The Jam Tree expands further this month with the opening of a new branch in Clapham. The restaurant takes over the former site of Grafton House and will be a relaxed space – its owners are promising mismatched seating, battered Chesterfields, hammered tin ceilings and antique grocery shelves. The menu features a mix of British dishes, alongside what it terms “colonial favourites” from Countries such as Canada and India.
Opening date TBC.
Japan Centre’s food fair; Regent Street
The Japan Centre in central London turns its focus to the country’s cuisine this month, with the launch of the Japan food fair this month. Visitors to the site will have the opportunity to try complimentary samples of Japanese dishes and drinks each day between 3pm and 6pm. This year the event focuses on Hiroshima, taking a look at how the city has survived its tragic past to become a thriving cultural hub.
The food fair takes place from September 5-25.
Love & Liquor; Kilburn
A late-night cocktail bar in Kilburn High Road, Love & Liquor takes its inspiration from stripped-back New York drinking dens. Developed by The Colombo Group (Paradise by Way of Kensal Green; The Blues Kitchen), it focuses on classic cocktails and is another new venue that gives a nod to the trend for Speakeasy- and Prohibition-style bars: a weathered wardrobe opens up to reveal a concealed room for groups. It opens from 8pm to 3am on Friday and Saturday nights and will frequently host parties and club nights so may be more suitable for a group night out than a quiet date.
The launch event is on September 7.
Sipsmith Gin Palace; Langham Hotel
The Langham Hotel opened in London in the mid-1800s, around the time gin palaces were at their most popular in the city. This month the hotel opens the Sipsmith Gin Palace, a collaboration with Sipsmith gin distillery. Open in the hotel’s Palm Court from 7pm until midnight on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, the venue will offer gin-infusions and cocktails designed by Sipsmith master distiller Jared Brown and the Langham’s head mixologist Alex Kratena. Different drinks will reference different key points in the history of gin, and the drinks menu will be complemented by a range of tasting dishes.
Open from September 13.
Dukebox club; Chelsea
The team behind new Chelsea club Dukebox first came to popular attention with the opening of now-closed club Public. Guests there included Prince Harry, Pippa Middleton and Katy Perry, and Dukebox will be aiming to attract a similar clientele. Taking a playful approach to interior design, the 250-capacity space will combine a New York warehouse-style setting with odd theatrical touches – carousel horses, a roundabout podium, Waltzer cars and the like. The name, it seems, is a complementary amalgamation. According to the Dukebox press release it is “inspired by recollections of unimpeded childhood fun [and] is reminiscent of both the 17th century nursery rhyme “The Grand Old Duke of York” and a jack-in-the-box toy.”
It opens on September 13.
Rumble in the Kitchen
It’s not a new opening, but as an adjunct to the above, it’s worth noting a somewhat bizarre restaurant-related event taking place this month. On September 20, Rumble in the Kitchen sees culinary celebrities participate in what is billed “a white-collar boxing match”, apparently with saucepans. Boxers including Monica Galetti, Marcus Wareing and Fred Sireix will all compete to raise funds for Galvin’s Chance. The charity is an ‘into-work’ programme for disadvantaged youth, leading to an apprenticeship, college programme or sustainable employment in one of London’s prestigious restaurants or hospitality businesses.