Make It Nice is keen on expansion. Will they succeed in Vegas and London where others have failed or will they continue to set their own course?
— Jason Clampet
The new establishment will be called Davies and Brook, marking the hotel’s location on the corner of Davies Street and Brook Street, in Mayfair. It is scheduled to open this summer, chef Daniel Humm and business partner Will Guidara said in a telephone interview.
Davies and Brook will be a gourmet restaurant, in the smart casual style of Eleven Madison Park. What it won’t have is the lengthy New York tasting menus, which can cost more than $300. Humm is creating new dishes for London, and the current plan is to offer two savory courses for lunch and three for dinner. No decision has yet been taken on the prices.
“We are not opening Eleven Madison Park in London,” he said. “It is a different restaurant, a different format, but with the same philosophy. It is going to be of the same family as Eleven Madison Park. For Claridge’s, we want to be sure the food really fits. Claridge’s has something very classic about it and my food has always been a little classic.
“There are certain products that are really great in the U.K., like game, which isn’t really celebrated in America the way it is in Europe,” he said. “We are excited about certain fish, the cheese and the dairy. But if a guest feels a hint of Eleven Madison Park, a nod to it, that is who we are.”
He declined to name any dishes, saying he hasn’t decided yet. In New York, Humm’s most famous creations include a vegetarian version of steak tartare, served tableside using a carrot in place of the meat.
The new restaurant replaces Fera, which British chef Simon Rogan opened in 2014 and which closed on Dec. 31. (The space formerly housed Gordon Ramsay at Claridge’s.) Humm and Guidara’s group, Make It Nice, will create an entirely new look using the American architect Brad Cloepfil of Portland, Oregon-based Allied Works. There will be a bar where guests can dine, along with a new kitchen and dining room and also, possibly, a terrace.
(Make It Nice establishments include the more casual New York restaurant and bar NoMad, which has outposts in Los Angeles and Las Vegas.)
“We are just trying to create the best possible restaurant that we can for London that will fit within Claridge’s,” Guidara said. “We want to create a restaurant that, while we are part of the hotel, is also an amenity to the city.”
The executive chef in London will be Dmitri Magi, formerly chef de cuisine at Eleven Madison Park. That restaurant’s general manager, Billy Peele, is spending time in London to supervise the opening.
Humm was born in Switzerland and moved to the U.S. in 2003. He said he is particularly excited about the new restaurant for two reasons.
“When I was 15 years old, I cooked at Claridge’s very early in my career,” he said. “At that time, I was intimidated by Claridge’s, just walking by and seeing all the fancy cars outside. I would never have set foot in there. I was using the staff entrance and working downstairs.
“The other reason is what while I love being in America – it has been very good for us – at heart I am European. And spending time in Europe is important for me.”
Humm is not the first New York chef to open in London in recent years. Daniel Boulud opened Bar Boulud at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in 2010; and Jean-Georges Vongerichten opened Jean-Georges at the Connaught in 2017. (The Connaught, like Claridge’s, is part of the Maybourne Hotel Group.) Other U.S. chefs with London outposts include Cronut king Dominique Ansel, who has announced a planned second branch of his Dominique Ansel Bakery.
©2019 Bloomberg L.P.