If you weren't paying close attention to Twitter last week you may well have missed the news that Manhattan restaurateur Keith McNally has finally confirmed that he'll be opening a restaurant in London. It's planned for this Autumn and is widely expected to be on the site of the old Theatre Museum in Covent Garden. Apart from that announcement no more details were given, so Hot Dinners turned to restaurant blogger Adam Hyman to get his take on what we can expect when McNally comes to town.
"The old Theatre museum was set to be home to Jeremy King and Chris Corbin’s The Delaunay, before Richard Caring gazumped them at the last minute to take hold of the site back in 2010. The latest rumblings about the site seem to be that Richard Caring is personally funding the restaurant development (i.e. not doing it through Caprice Holdings) and that Keith McNally has a free rein with the design, concept and running of the restaurant.
"Clearly there's more to this development than meets the eye as the site has been vacant for some time now. My hunch is that, despite all the rumours that it is to be a Balthazar (the same as one of his best-known restaurants in New York), it may not actually open as Balthazar or if he does it will not be identical to the one in NY. From what I've heard, things are most definitely not finalised as to what exactly the restaurant is going to be.
"The fact that Corbin and King are also opening a French brasserie this year - Brasserie Zedel in Piccadilly - may be something that McNally is taking into consideration. Also, this site is a lot larger than anything he has ever done in New York. Every time I hear someone talking about Keith and the plans for Balthazar here, I get the impression that he would secretly like nothing more than to open a ‘hole in the wall’ style gaff in Notting Hill or Soho but essentially, a blank cheque from Mr Caring has probably tipped the scales."
One thing's for certain, Whatever McNally ends up opening here in Autumn, be it an identical restaurant to Balthazar or a completely new restaurant it's going to be a huge deal. We can't wait.