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Is Heston coming to London...


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I cannot see how a 140-seat restaurant could be fitted into the Foliage space as it is quite tiny, it only seats 46 at the moment.  Unless the restaurant next to it, The Park, will also be included in the new space ?  Big shame to see Foliage going.

Hear, hear. It is offical HB is taking over the Foliage site. A sad day for London dining!! :angry:

It is the whole site: foliage, the park restaurant next door and the terrace behind. I agree that, in its time, Foliage was a great restaurant, but as an expression of its chefs rather than in and of itself: first Hywel Jones and lattery Chris Staines. He has now gone - a move he had planned separate to this annoucment (as I understand it) for the past year.

Obviously I am a fan - and friend - of Heston's, but the chance to eat food overseen by him and cooked by his right hand man, closer to where I live strikes me as thrilling.

Jay

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I cannot see how a 140-seat restaurant could be fitted into the Foliage space as it is quite tiny, it only seats 46 at the moment.  Unless the restaurant next to it, The Park, will also be included in the new space ?  Big shame to see Foliage going.

Hear, hear. It is offical HB is taking over the Foliage site. A sad day for London dining!! :angry:

It is the whole site: foliage, the park restaurant next door and the terrace behind. I agree that, in its time, Foliage was a great restaurant, but as an expression of its chefs rather than in and of itself: first Hywel Jones and lattery Chris Staines. He has now gone - a move he had planned separate to this annoucment (as I understand it) for the past year.

Obviously I am a fan - and friend - of Heston's, but the chance to eat food overseen by him and cooked by his right hand man, closer to where I live strikes me as thrilling.

Surely a sad day when one gets thrilled by the prospect of eating food " overseen " by a chef :rolleyes:

Edited by RDB (log)
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Surely a sad day when one gets thrilled by the prospect of eating food " overseen " by a chef  :rolleyes:

I would agree if it was simply "overseen" but as Jay says the kitchen is run by one of Heston's top chefs. I doubt Heston will be hands off on this; common sense would indicate that he is going to be very involved with the restaurant and put his stamp on it, it won't be a franchise.

I too am looking forward to seeing what he does, with 140 seats it implies it isn't going to be FD2.

Edited by PhilD (log)
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Surely a sad day when one gets thrilled by the prospect of eating food " overseen " by a chef  :rolleyes:

I would agree if it was simply "overseen" but as Jay says the kitchen is run by one of Heston's top chefs. I doubt Heston will be hands off on this; common sense would indicate that he is going to be very involved with the restaurant and put his stamp on it, it won't be a franchise.

I too am looking forward to seeing what he does, with 140 seats it implies it isn't going to be FD2.

At the risk of upsetting all the foam and jelly fans out there I cannot get excited about this ...a classic example of the Emperors new clothes IMHO.. :wink:

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Surely a sad day when one gets thrilled by the prospect of eating food " overseen " by a chef  :rolleyes:

I would agree if it was simply "overseen" but as Jay says the kitchen is run by one of Heston's top chefs. I doubt Heston will be hands off on this; common sense would indicate that he is going to be very involved with the restaurant and put his stamp on it, it won't be a franchise.

I too am looking forward to seeing what he does, with 140 seats it implies it isn't going to be FD2.

At the risk of upsetting all the foam and jelly fans out there I cannot get excited about this ...a classic example of the Emperors new clothes IMHO.. :wink:

I assume you tried the Hinds Head in Bray then...?

Do we actually know what is planned for the restaurant, lots of assumptions but little knowledge. I like the full spectrum of HB's food, from the Oxtail, kidney, and suet pudding at the Hinds Head through to the more esoteric creations at the FD.

My guess is that he will surprise us, and it won't be another FD, Hinds Head or Little Chef.

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Out of curiosity, if this seats 140, how many can fit into the Fat Duck? Assuming it's far less (about 40-50?) I can see the need to "dumb down" the menu for the new restaurant, if it's not possible to recreate the fat duck experience for so many people.

But I have to say that "upmarket bistro" doesn't sound terribly compelling or original, and not, IMO, what the (general) public would expect from Heston. If I were Heston's or the Mandarin's marketing people, I could see the need to upweight the "experimental" angle somewhat.

Hot Dinners - London's Top restaurants, reviewed by the critics and you
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Out of curiosity, if this seats 140, how many can fit into the Fat Duck?  Assuming it's far less (about 40-50?) I can see the need to "dumb down" the menu for the new restaurant, if it's not possible to recreate the fat duck experience for so many people. 

But I have to say that "upmarket bistro" doesn't sound terribly compelling or original, and not, IMO, what the (general) public would expect from Heston. If I were Heston's or the Mandarin's marketing people, I could see the need to upweight the "experimental" angle somewhat.

The article say the FD has 44 covers. Why the negative assumption that it is dumbed down? What is wrong with being positive?

I am glad it won't be FD2, I welcome a top chef like Heston extending his repertoire and the dining options. If I want FD food I go to the FD, if I want Hinds Head food I go to the Hinds Head, I will now have another option, something different, no doubt something interesting, and given his track record it is likely it is going to be good.

How do the public know what they want until they see/taste it? I bet you wouldn't have found many takers for FD menus (even amongst the informed diner) prior to launch; lets wait and see what a "Heston Bistro" is like before we throw rocks, I bet there are a few surprises. I doubt the marketing people are worried: have you seen the car park at the Little Chef in Popham...?

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Sorry - I didn't necessarily mean "dumbing down" as a negative thing - should have chosen my words better.

I am actually highly optimistic given Heston's track record and, reading between the lines, it seems that the restaurant could well be more innovative than would appear upon a first glance at the article. I've just got my marketing hat on today, so just think that getting the idea behind the venture/menu out could have been better managed. But I guess that's very hard to do with a phone interview.

But hey, that's all academic as this will be THE restaurant ticket in town for some time after it opens. And such a high-profile new restaurant in London can only be good for the restuarant business as a whole. I just hope I'll eventually be able to book a table...

Hot Dinners - London's Top restaurants, reviewed by the critics and you
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upmarket bistro - sounds a bit like keller's bouchon where some french laundry dishes make occasional guest appearances. if so it'll be a very welcome addition to the london scene

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upmarket bistro - sounds a bit like keller's bouchon where some french laundry dishes make occasional guest appearances. if so it'll be a very welcome addition to the london scene

If it is going to be a Bouchon sort of set up, then I totally agree with you Tony. I dined at Bouchon in Yountville a fews years ago whilst on honeymoon, taking in the French Laundry.

I absolutely loved the place. It was pure classic cooking done brilliantly well. Ah, that French onion soup. What a soup. One of the very best things I have ever had the pleasure in eating. Wasn't even my dish either, Mrs ordered it!!!

Like you say, if HB pulls off something similar, then he's on to a winner.

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upmarket bistro - sounds a bit like keller's bouchon where some french laundry dishes make occasional guest appearances. if so it'll be a very welcome addition to the london scene

Upmarket bistro at the sumptuous MO - oh how hath the mighty fallen and we can all see what happens eventually to absentee chefs - reference GR! :rolleyes:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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upmarket bistro - sounds a bit like keller's bouchon where some french laundry dishes make occasional guest appearances. if so it'll be a very welcome addition to the london scene

Upmarket bistro at the sumptuous MO - oh how hath the mighty fallen and we can all see what happens eventually to absentee chefs - reference GR! :rolleyes:

To be fair Pam, I reckon it will be more than just a simple bistro serving ciabatta sarnies etc. We are talking a three star chef here, who I believe deserves a bit more respect.

I don't think the place should be knocked, even before its opened. Seems the British way though doesn't it.

If its H.Bs take on a 'Bouchon' set up, then it will be grand.

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upmarket bistro - sounds a bit like keller's bouchon where some french laundry dishes make occasional guest appearances. if so it'll be a very welcome addition to the london scene

Upmarket bistro at the sumptuous MO - oh how hath the mighty fallen and we can all see what happens eventually to absentee chefs - reference GR! :rolleyes:

To be fair Pam, I reckon it will be more than just a simple bistro serving ciabatta sarnies etc. We are talking a three star chef here, who I believe deserves a bit more respect.

I don't think the place should be knocked, even before its opened. Seems the British way though doesn't it.

If its H.Bs take on a 'Bouchon' set up, then it will be grand.

Well said.

I also don't understand the GR comment. His food standards are good across all his restaurants. OK many people don't find his style exciting, or innovative, or to their taste (but lots of people do). But he does deliver to that style in a consistent manner across his brand. Divorce your personal taste from your judgement and then assess how well he does as an absentee chef. OK GR has some financial challenges, but given the scale of his expansion it was always going to be risky, a risk exacerbated by the recession. But he is still in business, and reports predict a return to healthy profits.

So if HB expands like GR, keeps his house style and product as consistent (no, I didn't say the same as GR), and makes as much cash; Is there a problem?

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upmarket bistro - sounds a bit like keller's bouchon where some french laundry dishes make occasional guest appearances. if so it'll be a very welcome addition to the london scene

Upmarket bistro at the sumptuous MO - oh how hath the mighty fallen and we can all see what happens eventually to absentee chefs - reference GR! :rolleyes:

To be fair Pam, I reckon it will be more than just a simple bistro serving ciabatta sarnies etc. We are talking a three star chef here, who I believe deserves a bit more respect.

I don't think the place should be knocked, even before its opened. Seems the British way though doesn't it.

If its H.Bs take on a 'Bouchon' set up, then it will be grand.

Well said.

I also don't understand the GR comment. His food standards are good across all his restaurants. OK many people don't find his style exciting, or innovative, or to their taste (but lots of people do). But he does deliver to that style in a consistent manner across his brand. Divorce your personal taste from your judgement and then assess how well he does as an absentee chef. OK GR has some financial challenges, but given the scale of his expansion it was always going to be risky, a risk exacerbated by the recession. But he is still in business, and reports predict a return to healthy profits.

So if HB expands like GR, keeps his house style and product as consistent (no, I didn't say the same as GR), and makes as much cash; Is there a problem?

No problem if standards are maintained but from what I have read recently they haven’t been with GR.

Let’s face it the Fat Duck is pure theatre, some of his dishes are brilliant, but blink and you miss them. Still I suppose some people do go to the same play over and over again. It will be interesting to see if he comes up with something really different. I just lament the breaking up of the superb team that was at the MO.

:sad:

Pam Brunning Editor Food & Wine, the Journal of the European & African Region of the International Wine & Food Society

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Let’s face it the Fat Duck is pure theatre, some of his dishes are brilliant, but blink and you miss them. Still I suppose some people do go to the same play over and over again. It will be interesting to see if he comes up with something really different.

Pam, hasn't Heston just changed the tasting menu at the Duck and revised some of the established dishes? I can understand his dilema, if he doesn't play the "greatest hits" then the punters won't be happy, so he needs to balance innovation with familiarity at the FD. But then doesn't it bode well that he will have another venue and therefore a broader stage to show his talents? I find it perplexing that Heston can be criticised for not changing his menu often enough and then criticised because he is opening a new restaurant and broadening his repertoire. They seem contradictory.
I just lament the breaking up of  the superb team that was at the MO.

:sad:

Didn't Chris Staines leave to go to a new role that had been in the offing for some time, I understood he wasn't pushed.
No problem if standards are maintained but from what I have read recently they haven’t been with GR.
I wonder how much truth there is in that. I can't comment on RHR because I haven't been to, but the other restaurants I have tried all delivered. I wonder if standards decline, or whether fashions move on; diners who return expect something different rather than food that may appear dated.
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I wonder how much truth there is in that. I can't comment on RHR because I haven't been to, but the other restaurants I have tried all delivered. I wonder if standards decline, or whether fashions move on; diners who return expect something different rather than food that may appear dated.

Gordons food is fine. The only part of his menu's that lack excitement are the main courses. His deserts are amazing. I was lucky and had the full on menu at lunch time in his Paris restaurant and was spoiled rotten(mini selection of all deserts turned into two of every desert...full size, almost..the table was covered in plates!), but apart from the theater and service and being with a young beautiful date, the food simply wasn't as good as la gavaroch a few months earlier.

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Gordons food is fine. The only part of his menu's that lack excitement are the main courses. His deserts are amazing. I was lucky and had the full on menu at lunch time in his Paris restaurant and was spoiled rotten

Is it still as outrageously expensive as it was a year ago when I last went? True, the only positively memorable bit for me was the dessert, the rest of the food being well done, but not at all exciting, safe if you like. But I'm afraid that the bill was shockingly expensive. And I hate having to carry around wads of cash to settle the service, but maybe that's a French thing.

I find GR, although very well accomplished, is in general pretty formulaic however you look at it, and if you can still get the punters in, good luck to you. The only two exceptions to being formulaic are Maze Grill and to a lesser extent Angela Hartnett's Murano.

IMHO GR has been going the same explosive way as Conran, Novelli and MPW before him for some time, where the relentless greed and addiction for more and more market share and notoriety has led to less time in the kitchen and more time fannying around with bankers, accountants and TV producers.

At least Heston appears to be being rather more resistant to the apparent need to grow exponentially.

Cheers, H

Edited by howardlong (log)
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I dont think the expansion that we have seen with GR, Novelli and MPW could of been made possible without the fame and the publics interest in the chef themselves.

I think MPW once said that these restaurants that he opened were not successful because of the food, but because the general person who goes to these places are there because its the "in" place to go. And the prices reflect this, not the Michelin stars(I added that last part :).

And to become the "in" place you have to present a public image that the public want to see and be a part of. And keep it going.

Heston has done a LOT of TV. But only recently has he started to show a good personality on TV, making him someone the general public want to watch, and also being in programs that have a good formula. With this public interest growing and his fame status getting higher he is able to ride the wave so many before him have.

So hes becoming a "celebrity chef" and what do you know, hes opening a new restaurant (new NHS program on soon I believe?). You only need to look at the likes of Corrigan who was an unknown in the world of celebrity 3 years ago. Then a great performance on Ready steady great british menu and hey presto....

So you can say Heston hasnt sold out and he's not done a "Ramsay". But givin the chance, I bet he bloody would/will. Any chef who pops up on tv, in my book is doing what you all hate, they are self promoting for that chance to expand which = less cooking.

If you want your chef behind the stove, turn off your TV, put down Waitrose Food Monthly and Stop reading the paper.

Simple

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...I think MPW once said that these restaurants that he opened were not successful because of the food, but because the general person who goes to these places are there because its the "in" place to go.

...

Couldn't have put it better myself, and a direct analogy to what happened with Conran's original incarnations, with their Essex girl/boy reputations of the mid '90s. Places like the Oxo Tower and The Collection could be added to that list. Dare I also mention places like Zuma and Hakkassan in the same breath too? Although at least the food's decent in those last two, but bouncers on the door? Pulease, that says a lot about the clientele you're attracting.

The Oxo Tower makes me chuckle: when it first opened maybe fifteen years ago it was _the_ place to go. A few months after it opened, I called up to make a lunch reservation with six weeks notice, and they told me they were full. My work colleague, who had a posh horsey voice (quite unlike my cor blimey gov'nor faux cockney), called up thirty seconds later and successfully booked on my behalf. Enraged, I grabbed the receiver from my colleague's hand and asked the receptionist why they could do the reservation for her and not for me, to which I was told "We had a cancellation". "Of course you did, love". I told her in no uncertain terms to cancel the reservation right away. I pledged never to go back. I held that promise until a couple of years ago when a supplier invited me out. And apart from the view and the company on the day it was uniformly awful.

Cheers, Howard

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