The two-Michelin-star Paris restaurant Taillevent plans to open a London brasserie at which 110 wines will be available by the glass.
Les 110 de Taillevent, on Cavendish Square, will serve classic French cuisine in a smart brasserie where pairings will be offered at a range of prices likely to start at about £5 ($7.80) a glass. It will serve all day, including breakfast.
Restaurants from France have had a rough ride in London, where Le Chabanais arrived this month to mixed reviews. Even Alain Ducasse faced criticism when he opened at the Dorchester.
"It's a big challenge to settle in London," says Laurent Gardinier, who heads the Taillevent group with his brothers, Thierry and Stephane. "We don't want to be arrogant. We're bringing French gastronomic food from Paris to here, but we're going to adapt it to what London people like."
Taillevent has hired London veterans to run the brasserie. General manager Giuseppe Dewilde's resume includes the Bleeding Heart, Cafe Royal, Quaglino's, Bluebird, Le Pont de la Tour, and Bentley's. Head chef Robert Panek has worked at the Don, Le Pont de la Tour, Etihad Airways, Bob Bob Ricard, and Bluebird Café.
Prices have yet to be confirmed for Les 110 de Taillevent, which is scheduled to open later in the year. The brothers expect average spending of about £70 a person. A prix fixe menu will be available at lunch and dinner and may cost about £35.
A Wine Time menu with small plates will be served at the bar in the early evening. The à la carte menu is by Alain Solivérès, executive chef director of Taillevent Paris; the wine list is by Pierre Bérot, cellar director of Taillevent Paris. The designs are by Pierre-Yves Rochon and refer to wine production.
Laurent and Thierry Gardinier tell us they have dined in many London restaurants to better understand the city. They mention Pollen Street Social, Quaglino's, Hakkasan, Le Gavroche, the Wolseley, Chavot, La Petite Maison, and Roka.
"We want to see how is the market, what is the scene?" says Laurent. "The level is very high. The London scene is more open to foreign experience than Paris because the tradition of the English gastronomy by itself is not the same as the French gastronomic tradition. Also, people are more curious in London."
Are the brothers expecting to attract a lot of French guests?
"We're not creating a restaurant for the French," Thierry says. "We want a restaurant for London people. If the French come, we are happy, but it's not done for them."
Les 110 de Taillevent London, 16 Cavendish Square, W1G 9DD; www.les-110-taillevent-london.com
Richard Vines is the chief food critic for Bloomberg. Follow him on Twitter @richardvines.
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