Effective today, Istanbul Doors Restaurant Group has become a partner in Tom Aikens Group, with the goal of overseeing and growing Aikens’ restaurant business.
The partnership will inject the necessary finance for the expansion of Aikens’ casual dining concept, Tom’s Kitchen.
Tom’s Kitchen expansion
It will also allow the chef to transform his fine-dining single site, Tom Aikens Restaurant, into a more informal, contemporary offering.
“Istanbul Doors has bought into Tom because they like what he’s doing. They think it fits with what they’re doing in Istanbul, and there may be some potential to grow,” a spokesperson told BigHospitality.
“They are particularly interested in Tom’s Kitchen, which has the potential to expand.”
There are no solid expansion plans as yet, but this would depend on finding the right sites. Expansion would likely start in London.
Tom Aikens Restaurant refurbishment
The new investment deal will also see a complete refurbishment of the Michelin-starred Tom Aikens Restaurant in Chelsea.
This will retain its fine-dining status, but will become less formal, with a more contemporary design and a more informal menu and service.
The restaurant is due to be refurbished this summer, and will be closed for two to three months as of June 2011, set to re-open in early September.
“The idea is to soften it up a bit, not to make it casual,” said the spokesperson. “It’s currently quite stark, and very monochrome, but the market right now wants something a little more easy-going.
“Tom doesn’t want to dumb it down. He’s very proud of his Michelin star, and he wants to keep that status. He wants to have an accessible Michelin-starred restaurant.”
Tom Aikens and Istanbul Doors
The Tom Aikens Group currently has two Chelsea sites – Tom Aikens Restaurant, and Tom’s Kitchen – in addition to Tom’s Kitchen, Tom’s Deli, Tom’s Terrace and Tom’s Events, all at Somerset House on the Embankment.
Istanbul Doors owns 12 brands in Turkey, which include 24 restaurants, franchises and a hotel. Amongst its restaurants is the Istanbul Zuma site.
Istanbul Doors’ investment in the Tom Aikens Group remains undisclosed, but the group has effectively bought out the entrepreneur Peter Dubens, who had acquired Aikens’ business in October 2008 after it fell into administration.