Marlon Abela is a hero of British food and drink.
He is the chairman and founder of MARC (the acronym stands for Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation), whose rapidly expanding portfolio includes three of London’s finest restaurants – the two-Michelin starred Umu, The Greenhouse, also with two Michelin stars, and The Square – as well as Morton’s private members’ club, MARC Patisserie & Bakery, O. W. Loeb Wine Merchants and MARC Fine Wines. The company also has several restaurants in the US.
MARC was born out of Marlon Abela’s passion for gastronomy and fine wines, instilled in him by his upbringing in the South of France.
Growing up, much of what appeared on the family table came straight from the garden. And it’s this focus on seasonal produce and the highest quality fresh ingredients that has helped Abela in his drive to change the perception of fine dining from a serious, elitist experience to one that is exciting and convivial. While MARC restaurants are all different in concept, they share the same ‘classic meets avant garde’ approach.
Crucial to the success of MARC, naturally, is its staff. Executive Chef at The Greenhouse is Arnaud Bignon, who wins the praise of food critics, gourmands and wine-lovers alike. Bignon’s philosophy is based on finding perfect harmony and balance in all his dishes, combining his traditional French training with contemporary techniques. In accordance with MARC’s philosophy. Bignon’s menus change seasonally and showcase the highest quality produce on the market.
At Umu, it’s Yoshinori Ishii who garners all the accolades, with his refined Kyoto-style cuisine fused with European influences, again using nothing but the best ingredients.The company’s Corporate Chef is Yvonnick Lalle, who oversees not only Morton’s Club but MARC Patisserie & Bakery, which provides breads and morning goods to most of the five-star hotels in London, including The Dorchester, The Ritz, Claridge’s, Rosewood, Shangri-La and The Connaught. Lalle also seeks out and champions young talent, so watch this space.
Something else to watch out for is Green’s. The legendary restaurant and oyster bar in St James’s was forced to close in 2016 due to its landlord’s redevelopment plans, but owner Simon Parker Bowles has since joined forces with MARC to open a new Green’s in an as yet undetermined location. In line with the group’s principles, MARC will transform Green’s into a modern British restaurant with a fresh approach, handing it over to the next generation of Green’s fans.
MARC’s commitment to quality, elegance and refinement is reflected in everything it does – not just in the food and wine it serves, but in ambience, design and service. So it’s just as well that at its helm is a man whose passion for fine dining never wavers: the innovative and highly creative Marlon Abela.
Another recent acquisition for MARC is The Square, on Bruton Street which recently relaunched after a complete refurbishment. Taking epicurean excellence
to new heights here is Clément Leroy with ten years’ experience working under Guy Savoy, who joins the MARC family from Auberge du Jeu de Paume
in Chantilly, France.
MARC 14–16 BRUTON PLACE, LONDON, W1J 6LX +44 (0)20 7647 1888