In this month’s feature, we travel to three of London’s most luxurious hotels where new openings from acclaimed Michelin-starred chefs open their doors. In New York, we visit the new fine-dining establishment making waves with its $98 tasting menu and strict no-photo policy.
We also travel to Singapore, where one of the world’s most famous chefs follows Anne-Sophie Pic by opening a restaurant in the recently refurbished Raffles Singapore.
The Betterment | London
The Betterment at The Biltmore, London
Michelin-starred Jason Atherton will mark his anticipated return to Grosvenor Square next month with the opening of his new $6million restaurant The Betterment.
Atherton first made his name working alongside Gordon Ramsay at Maze before they infamously fell out with each other. He will now be going head-to-head with his former partner as the new restaurant sits in close proximity to Ramsay’s new Lucky Cat (featured in last month’s article).
The Betterment is located in the brand new luxury hotel The Biltmore and will feature a seasonally-driven menu. It will specialize in wood-fired fish and meats, fresh seafood and plant-based dishes. Atherton currently owns six London restaurants, including Berners Tavern and the Michelin-starred City Social.
Atherton said of his appointment: “To be returning to Mayfair’s Grosvenor Square after nine years in very special to me. We chse the name The Betterment to encapsulate our journey from opening Pollen Street Social in 2011 to today, highlighting the progression of our food, ethos and way of thinking.”
Fia | California
Spanish Octopus, Pasta e Fagioli at Fia | ©MichaelGrecco
The closure of a Santa Monica favorite, Wilshire, in June was a shock to local residents. The respected restaurant had been a pillar of California’s dining scene for almost 15 years but closed to make way for the introduction of a new and exciting concept, Fia.
Owner Michael Greco has invested heavily in the renowned space to transform it into a rustic villa with enough space for 300 seats. Inspired by cliff-side towns of the Amalfi Coast, designer Matthew Winter has swapped the wooden patio of Wilshire’s for Tuscan gravel and exposed the site’s original brick wall.
Chef Brendan Collins, (Michelin-starred Melisse) has developed a menu that will blend Italian flair with Californian influences with an emphasis on fresh regional seafood and handmade pasta.
Fia will not just be a restaurant though: It will host cocktail hours, weekend brunches, art exhibitions and live music events. In a statement of intent, Greco has brought in the ‘Godfather of Cocktails’ Vincenzo Marianella to oversee the exciting beverage program.
Reverence | New York
Russell Jackson has forged a reputation as a trailblazing chef-owner and he is certainly defying convention with his new Harlem restaurant, Reverence.
Jackson is best known for being one of the pioneers of San Francisco’s thriving supper club scene and is now looking to bring a new fine-dining concept to his multi-cultural fare. Reverence serves a five-course tasting menu for $98 that focuses on seafood, poultry and vegetables.
With spaces booking up weeks in advance, guests must reserve a table online and pay for the meal upfront. You can also choose to add on beverage pairings, created by Ann Marie Del Bello, for $89.
Guests will also have to adhere to the strict ‘no technology’ rule and are asked not to take photos of their food in order to be as present as possible.
Helene Darroze at The Connaught | London
Hélène Darroze will return to The Connaught in September
Helene Darroze is one of the chefs credited with dragging French cooking out of the mire and into the modern era. Her forward-thinking approach has seen her become one of the most prominent female chefs in the world and she is now set to begin the next chapter in her burgeoning career in London.
Darroze’s two-Michelin-starred eponymous restaurant at The Connaught will reopen in September following a major refurbishment. It will be another huge step in what has already been a very busy 2019. Darroze has already overseen the successful relaunch of her Parisian restaurant Marsan, which closed for 11 months to undergo a complete overhaul of the decor and the menu.
As well as a freshly-designed main dining room, the restaurant at The Connaught will incorporate a new Chef’s Table and boast a dedicated Armagnac Room for pre and post-dinner drinks and private events. There will also be a new menu rooted in Hélène’s culinary style, with a larger focus on British producers and suppliers.
BBR by Alain Ducasse | Singapore
A sample dish at BBR Alan Ducasse | ©RafflesSingapore
The continued rise of destination dining has been underlined by the recently refurbished Raffles Singapore, where two of France’s finest chefs will soon have restaurants. Anne-Sophie Pic already has a restaurant in the hotel and in September she will be joined by the legendary Alain Ducasse. Named Bar & Billiard Room (BBR) by Alain Ducasse, the 21-Michelin-star chef takes charge of a space with 122 years of culinary history attached to it.
Unlike the fine dining scenes synonymous with Ducasse, this new restaurant will be a vibrant, high-energy space with an open kitchen, charcoal grill and a pizza oven. The Frenchman has developed an all-new a Mediterranean sharing concept that takes flavors and traditions from Portugal, Spain, Italy and France.
“I could not dream of a better location than the landmark Raffles Singapore to bring the Ducasse restaurant experience for the first time to Singapore. My team and I look forward to adding another culinary destination for Singapore’s varied international clientele.”
Hutong | New York
The high-end Hong Kong-based restaurant Hutong arrived in New York City earlier this summer, promising elevated Northern Chinese fare – including some of the best dim sum known to man – in an ultra-elegant space on Lexington Avenue. The restaurant is backed by international group Aqua, who runs more than a dozen restaurants across London, Beijing and Hong Kong.
This is Aqua’s first venture into the New York dining scene, so needless to say its owners are keen to make an impression. The dining room certainly achieves that; it’s 19,000-square-foot of space and high ceilings give it a grand, cavernous feel. There is an elegant 140-seat dining room, an 83-seat lounge and bar, and private dining rooms.
As well as the signature dim sum and roast duck specialties, diners have been wowed by dishes such as fried soft shell crab, spicy pork and salted fish fried dumplings, the latter two of which are exclusive to this restaurant. The seafood dumplings, in particular, have won the favor of several notable New York critics since its opening, too.
Wherewithall | Chicago
Inside Wherewithall in Chicago | ©CoryDewald
Johnny Clark and Beverly Kim follow on from their tremendously successful Michelin-starred Parachute with the realization of a decade-long idea. Wherewithall will fit perfectly into the casual neighborhood restaurant scene that makes Chicago one the top dining destinations in the US. What sets it apart is the concept, offering only a set prix-fixe dinner menu.
With no a la carte dinner service available, guests must eat what they are given but can reasonably expect a seasonal multi-course meal inspired by contemporary American cuisine. Specific ingredients will change on a daily basis, so no two services are likely to be the same at this most creative of culinary hubs.
Most nights begin with a snack course and followed by a cup of house-made drinking broth. There is then a bread course, an appetizer, a fish course, a meat course and two dessert courses. The restaurant expects to introduce breakfast and lunch options in the fall.
Charlie’s at Browns | London
Adam Byatt takes over from Heinz Beck at Brown’s | ©Lateefphotography
Renowned British chef Adam Byatt will return to central London by taking over from Heinz Beck at luxury hotel Brown’s. Byatt is best known for his excellent work at the Michelin-starred Trinity in Clapham and will now hope to repeat his success in one of the city’s most historic dining spots.
A hotel since 1837 and home to London’s first public dining room, the newly-named Charlie’s will celebrate contemporary British cooking complemented by European influences. Brown’s owners Rocco Forte will be hoping for a better result than their partnership with Beck, whose residence at the hotel came to an end in July after just a year.