Hotel for Innard Lovers, Bargain Ducasse Lunch: Food Buzz

Tom Parker Bowles and Matt Parr
Food writer Tom Parker Bowles, left, and organizer Matt Parr at "The Complete History of Food," in London. Guests were escorted from room to room in an old mansion. Matt Crossick/Bompas & Parr via Bloomberg

St. John Hotel is scheduled to open in London’s Chinatown in mid-October, 16 years after the debut on Oct. 22, 1994, of St. John restaurant, best known for serving innards. Remember that we once thought brains were for boffins and hearts for Valentine’s Day?

The 15-room property, on the site of Manzi’s restaurant, will feature a dining room with 60 to 70 covers (compared with 100 at St. John in Smithfield) and an upstairs bar, said Trevor Gulliver, the business partner of chef Fergus Henderson. Gulliver said he is focusing on the project: He broke his leg in a collision with a bicycle on July 12 and has difficulty getting out to party.

Wahaca plans to add a fourth branch, on the site of the old Slug & Lettuce bar at 80 Wardour Street, in London’s Soho district. Opening of the Mexican eatery is scheduled for October and the fit-out will be certifiably green as it will be assessed under Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, or Breeam.

Bompas & Parr’s “The Complete History of Food” (with Courvoisier) offered an extraordinary ambulant meal on July 14 at a neoclassical terraced mansion in Belgrave Square. Courses included medieval cocktails from Saf, foie gras Ferrero Rocher from Gauthier and a Victorian dinner inside an iguanodon, courtesy of Bistrotheque. It’s worth watching out for future projects at

Koffmann’s opened at the Berkeley Hotel on July 15, before Pierre Koffmann even had his head chef in place. That job will be taken by Clive Dixon, who previously ran the kitchen at Heston Blumenthal’s pub, the Hinds Head. I keep reading that Koffmann is “iconic.” I have no idea what that means.

Alain Ducasse at the Dorchester is offering a two-course set lunch -- including vegetarian options -- with wine, water and coffee for 39.50 pounds. Not bad for a three-Michelin-star restaurant. Three courses are 45 pounds, as at London’s other three-star, Gordon Ramsay, where drinks cost extra.

The Mall Tavern, in Notting Hill, opened its own Kitchen Table on July 15. The aim is to create private dinner and lunch parties, rather than to replicate the chef’s tables pioneered in London by Ramsay. Head Chef Jesse Dunford-Wood will work with the host to develop a menu and matching wines from Lea & Sandeman, with prices starting at 25 pounds a head.

Marlon Abela, whose MARC Ltd. owns the Greenhouse, plans to open a contemporary Provencal bistro in October. Cassis will occupy the site of the Oratory at 232 Brompton Road. The head chef will be David Escobar, who has worked at the three Michelin star Lameloise, in Chagny-en-Bourgogne, France.

Waitrose rolled out some of Heston Blumenthal’s planned dishes on July 14 when it showed off its Christmas range to journalists in London. Sitting under a Christmas tree, I particularly enjoyed his Tea Smoked Salmon, with its back note of Lapsang Souchong. The “Heston at Waitrose” range also features a savory Vanilla Mayonnaise. Watch out for a new line of free-range, slow-growing turkeys. The name? Plumpie?

The reopening date for the Savoy and, of course, the Savoy Grill under Chef Director Stuart Gillies, is now Oct. 10. To find out when bookings open, e-mail

(Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Muse, the arts and leisure section of Bloomberg News. Opinions expressed are his own.)

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