Alan Bird, the former executive chef at The Ivy, is to open his own restaurant at Smithfield in London this year.
Bird, who spent 20 years working for The Ivy's owner Caprice Holdings before leaving the company last August, plans to open the restaurant, bar and private dining space Bird of Smithfield opposite the famous Smithfield Market at the end of March.
It will be the first time the chef, who worked with Nico Ladenis at Chez Nico and Simply Nico before joining The Ivy and more recently worked with Soho House Group, has run his own restaurant and he told BigHospitality it was the realisation of an ambition held for a long time.
"I'm really, really excited about this," he said. "I spent the best part of 20 years working at the Ivy and I loved it, but every chef dreams of having their own place, so to have somewhere with your name above the door, you know it's real then."
Bird will be chef director of the 150-cover venue, which will be set across five floors; a bar and lounge will be situated on the first floor while the main 40-50 cover restaurant will sit on the second floor with the chef hoping to offer diners the chance to watch his chefs at work through windows into the kitchen.
Other floors will be set aside for private dining areas and function rooms that will be designed for multiple uses.
"We need to be flexible in terms of the usage of the space, but also be practical," Bird added.
The restaurant's food style will be 'British with a twist', with Bird, who made shepherd's pie a cult classic at The Ivy, aiming to explore the influence British food has had both in the past and present, here and abroad.
"I don't want it to be restricted to what we class as traditional British food," he said. "For example, the menu may have inspiration from those countries where British has colonised previously and could use ingredients from the trade route. I don't want it to be be too restricted."
Bird will operate the restaurant alongside Steve Collins, the entrepreneur who opened events space Temple Guiting, in the Cotswolds with Sophie Conran as well as Georgia Muir and Sian Austin, who both worked with Tom Conran previously and who Bird met when working with Soho House Group.