Celebrating ten years of legendary launches and daring revivals
Hospitality groups don’t come more vibrant than D&D London. The team is the mastermind behind some of London’s most iconic restaurants: legends like Quaglino’s, Le Pont de la Tour, Bluebird and Coq d’Argent.
But we also have them to thank for a host of exciting revivals, including the Grade-II listed German Gymnasium in King’s Cross – recently named ‘most beautiful restaurant in the world’ at the Restaurant & Bar Design Awards 2016 – and split-level Soho nightspot 100 Wardour St, where guests have included Madonna, Sienna Miller and Noel Gallagher. A force to be reckoned with, the D&D portfolio is now 34 strong and growing.
It’s not all smoke and mirrors though, D&D London is serious about its food. Its seafood restaurant, Angler, atop South Place Hotel in the City holds a Michelin star, and accomplished restaurants like Sartoria on Savile Row and Orrery on Marylebone High Street are beloved by foodies in the know.
The produce used is top-flight – take Galician beef from Txuleta as an example. The meat from 15-year-old cows staggered restaurant critics when it first appeared on the menus at New St Grill, Bluebird and 100 Wardour St, but now the new craze for the old cow has spread across London. What’s more, the restaurants try to support local businesses wherever they can, with Skylon and The Butlers Wharf Chop House, both located on the banks of the Thames, sourcing fish from H Forman & Son, just down the river.
The restaurants’ wine lists have also scooped countless awards over the years, as have the sommeliers themselves. Launceston Place’s Piotr Pietras came tenth in the 2015 Meilleur Sommelier du Monde competition in Argentina, and Sartoria’s irrepressible Michael Simms has been shortlisted for Sommelier of the Year at the GQ Food & Drink Awards for the past two years. Needless to say, your glass of wine is in good hands.
If you think these exceptional dining experiences are limited to London, think again. With a jaw-dropping subterranean events space in New York, two restaurants in Tokyo and another in Paris, D&D London has truly taken flight. Add to this two more restaurants in Leeds – with another set to open in 2017 – plus D&D’s first forays into Manchester and Glasgow, and the group’s influence is clear. There are also some major international developments in the works, with openings planned in Dubai, Amsterdam and Lisbon – and those are just the ones we know about…
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With so many customers coming through their doors, you’d be forgiven for assuming that regulars fade into the background. But the group makes a special effort to reward loyalty with Club D&D, a social club that entitles regular guests to an array of perks, invitations and discounts, as well as the first chance to book at any new openings. Club D&D has already gained an impressive reputation, thanks to its celeb-studded annual ski trip in the Alps.
The restaurant empire also recently joined forces with Lena Björck to launch Alexander & Björck – a dedicated events creation business – in late 2015, which has already made it onto the preferred suppliers list of venerable institutions like Somerset House, Mall Galleries and Althorp.
2016 was a big year for D&D London as it celebrated the tenth anniversary of its foundation, CEO and Chairman, Des Gunewardena and Deputy Chairman. David Loewi’s management buyout of Conran Restaurants back in 2006. It also unveiled a multi-million-pound refurbishment of Bluebird, on the King’s Road, by Sagrada (the studio that revamped Sartoria in 2015) and launched 100 Wardour St on the former site of Floridita.
Next up are those Leeds and Manchester launches, as well as Aster in Victoria, opening in early 2017 in prime position at Victoria’s Nova Development. It has a casual ground-floor café, which transforms into a wine bar when darkness falls, as well as a more refined restaurant and cocktail bar on the first floor, reached via a spectacular metalwork staircase.
Whatever comes after that, we predict you’ll be seeing a lot more of D&D London, both in and outside the capital.