‘Some think that London has had its best years, but I don’t believe that,’ says Des Gunewardena, Co-founder, Chairman and CEO of D&D London. ‘We know the restaurant scene very well and still believe that everyone wants to come here, be a part of it and make their mark.’
Few are in a better position to comment than Des Gunewardena. Together with co-founder David Loewi, he has been the force behind some of the most iconic restaurants in the capital, including Quaglino’s, Le Pont de la Tour, Bluebird and Coq d’Argent.
In 2012 the group opened South Place Hotel, near Liverpool Street Station, and in 2014, it launched its first restaurants outside the capital – Crafthouse & Angelica in Leeds, shortly followed by Issho and East 59th in 2017.
Not that D&D London has all its eggs in one exclusively British basket: international restaurants already include Alcazar in Paris and Guastavino’s in New York. Last year the company opened Bluebird London in New York’s Columbus Circle. Occupying over 10,000 sq/ft and comprising an all-day lounge, wine bar and brasserie, Bluebird NYC boasts an interior inspired by what designer Nancy Ruddy calls ‘Britain’s most creative decades: the 1950s and 1960s’.
This year, D&D London will open queensyard in the Hudson Yards development, the largest private real estate development in the history of New York City, offering luxury retail, work and residential space in West Side Manhattan. The new restaurant will join a collection of renowned fashion brands, global business offices and dining spots, including Thomas Keller’s latest restaurant as part of the new development.
‘Like Bluebird London, queensyard will add a bit of Britain to New York and we hope New Yorkers like it just as much,’ says Des. ‘We’ve always loved New York. With so many parallels between our two cities, we are confident that New Yorkers will enjoy both concepts – restaurants celebrated not only for their food and wine but also for their design, buzz and glamour.’
London, too, will see an expansion this year with the launch of a new restaurant at 120 Fenchurch Street. The restaurant will operate on the floor below a public garden and will boast stunning views of the capital, including the River Thames, Tower Bridge, Tower of London and The Shard.
‘120 Fenchurch Street represents a return to London for what will be our largest new venture here since Aster in Victoria,’ says Des. ‘London continues to be a significant part of D&D’s growth strategy and the project also reflects our continuing commitment to the City. 120 Fenchurch is a remarkable building and I hope that we can create a restaurant to match.’
As Des says, ‘Britain and London are very much part of D&D London’s DNA and “Britishness” will be an integral component of every restaurant we open in the future, including those overseas.’
D&D LONDON +44 (0)20 7716 0716