Restaurants

Wolfgang Puck Has London in His Sights

“The timing is better than ever for a restaurant business in London.”
Corrected

Lobster at Puck’s Chinois on Main.

Source: Dorchester Collection

Wolfgang Puck, one of the world’s most successful restaurateurs, plans a pop-up restaurant in London next month as he scouts the city for a second permanent location.

He’ll bring his Santa Monica, California, establishment Chinois on Main to his first London restaurant, CUT at 45 Park Lane, from June 27 to 30. He wants to test the waters for his style of fusion dining, which combines Asian flavors with French cooking techniques, before deciding whether to open another U.K. outpost. He’s considering bringing the restaurant that made him famous, Spago, to the capital but is keeping an open mind about what he may do next here.

Wolfgang Puck
Photographer: Simon John Owen via Dorchester Collection

“The timing is better than ever for a restaurant business in London,” Puck said in a telephone interview from Los Angeles. “It’s good to be in a city where enough people go out to restaurants every day.”

While not all restaurateurs would agree with Puck’s rosy assessment of London, he’s made a great business by knowing what to do. Puck, 68, says sales total about $600 million a year for a business that encompasses almost 30 fine-dining establishments and about 80 outlets in airports and amusement parks, as well as kitchenware and food lines. He was born in a tiny village in Austria and emigrated to the U.S. at 24. 

Spago, a magnet for movie stars, is one reason why he has catered the Governors Ball Oscars party for 24 years in a row. He continued that tradition this year, serving caviar parfait dusted with 24-carat gold;  edamame and black-truffle pot stickers; and Caramel passion-fruit lollipops in the shape of miniature Oscar statuettes, according to Variety.

Chicken salad at Chinois on Main.
Source: Dorchester Collection

In London, his dishes are likely to include oysters with Japanese cucumber and Thai basil; crystal chive dumplings with hot mustard; Shanghai lobster risotto with pickled ginger and pineapple chips; and Peking-style duck with plum sauce. A six-course tasting menu will cost £115 ($155) and the eight-course menu is £165 including a cocktail, plus service charge. It follows a pop-up Spago last June.

Richard Vines is chief food critic at Bloomberg. Follow him on Instagram @richard.vines and Twitter @richardvines.

(Chinois on Main corrects to specify the larger tasting menu will be eight courses, in the final paragraph.)
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