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D&D Targets City of London With Two New Restaurants, Wine Store

Des Gunewardena
Des Gunewardena, chairman and chief executive of D&D London, whose London restaurants include Coq d'Argent. He plans to open two more restaurants and a wine shop in the City financial district. Source: Sauce Communications via Bloomberg.

D&D London Ltd., the former Conran Restaurants, whose venues include Coq d’Argent, Paternoster Chop House and Quaglino’s, plans to open a new steak and chop house, a fish restaurant and a wine shop serving the City.

They will be housed in the Old Bengal Warehouse, off Bishopsgate. D&D London is redeveloping the ground floor and basement, with interiors by Conran & Partners. The establishments are scheduled to open in the first half of 2012.

D&D London has already announced two projects in London’s financial district: a hotel that is being built on South Place, and an outdoor cafe at the Royal Exchange. The company said it is focusing on the City and that sales are increasing.

“I’m very confident about how things look for our London restaurants,” Chairman and Chief Executive Des Gunewardena said in a telephone interview. “We’re specifically investing in the City because it’s a good place to do business and will be for years to come. City people used just to have lunch but now they stay for dinner and Coq d’Argent even opens at weekends.

“Our trading is very strong and has been for the past 18 months, two years. Our numbers have been good and now we have the run-up to the Olympics. London seems to be at a different stage in the economic cycle from the rest of the country.”

Both new restaurants will feature outdoor seating. The wine shop will specialize in Bordeaux and Burgundy and will be available for tastings as well as private dinners. The 10,000 square-foot (929 square-meter) development forms part of the Devonshire Square Estate, where restaurants include Cinnamon Kitchen, Devonshire Terrace and Kenza.

The warehouse was built by the East India Co. in 1769-70 on the site of property purchased from Joseph Eyre for 4,650 pounds ($7,355), according to the National Archives. The company brought in imports along the Commercial Road from the East India Docks, according to The premises fell into disrepair and the building now also features new apartments.

(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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