The success of temporary Marylebone restaurant Roganic in its first year will determine Simon Rogan’s future in the capital, the chef has said.
The chef/proprietor of Michelin-starred Cartmel restaurant L’Enclume launched his first London foray two weeks ago, in a property on Blandford Street due to be redeveloped in two years’ time.
But while Rogan has been searching for a replacement site for 25-cover Roganic since he first signed the two-year lease, he told BigHospitality the reception of the ‘pop-up restaurant’ in its first year would determine the future for him and partner Penny Tapsell in London.
“We are confident that we will make a go of it, but the real test is what happens in two years’ time,” he said.
“The first year will determine what we’re going to do: whether we stay in London at all, whether we move to a bigger, grander premises or whether we find a nice little site with no pretention and just do exactly the same again.
“There’s always the danger that if we go on to do something bigger and better and spend more money, then people might not think it as quirky as our little place now. I think this is an important year for us.”
Although pop-up restaurants are notorious for being little more than marketing tools, Rogan hopes he will make enough money from Roganic to fund the acquisition of a more permanent property.
“We are confident we’ll make money, and with that capital we’ll hopefully be able to approach our bank for a loan at the end of the two years. We’d rather do it through the banks than with a private investor because everything we have is mine and Penny’s, and we really don’t want to be answerable to anyone.”
Rogan is currently in discussions with several landlords for sites within the Marylebone area, which he claims is an ideal location for commuting back to Cartmel.
While Tapsell will remain in London to oversee Roganic with head chef Ben Spalding, Rogan will divide his time between the restaurant, L’Enclume and development kitchen Aulis.
To aid him in expanding the business, Rogan has recruited Roux scholarship winner and former Roux at Parliament Square chef Daniel Cox to oversee Aulis in his absence.
As director of Aulis, Cox is responsible for coordinating the food development for L’Enclume, Roganic and more mainstream Cartmel restaurant Rogan & Company. In addition he will oversee planning at L’Enclume’s 15-acre farm, develop a foraging policy for all three restaurants and provide outside training and consultancy programs.
“With all the things we’re up to right now the development side of the business needs to be under more control, as does the farming,” Rogan added. “Because that needs someone who’s very hands on, I feel it gets neglected if I’m not there. It needs someone constantly on top of it, another me, to be able to be in two places at the same time and Daniel fits that bill.”