Roka roller to introduce Riviera institution to London
Arjun Waney, co-founder of highly acclaimed Japanese restaurant brands Zuma and Roka, has obtained the franchise to the La Petite Maison brand in Nice and plans to open two London sites in the next 18 months.
The first La Petite Maison will open in Mayfair on the site of Teca Italian restaurant at the end of May. Waney said, "It's one of the world's most famous brands and I've spent five years trying to get the franchise."
It will be refurbished to replicate the style of the original restaurant, which is known for being popular with celebrities. There will also be a small shop attached selling food products, as in Nice.
Head Chef will be Raphael Duntoya, who used to work at Zuma. He will be cooking Niçois food with a Ligurian influence, according to Waney. "We look at market penetration and who else is in that market. People might say, ‘Why do another French restaurant?' But I say who else is doing Niçois food in London?"
A second La Petite Maison is to open in Canary Wharf in summer 2008, with Dubai and Hong Kong sites to follow. Waney's brother Peter and Giuliano Lotto (cofounder of A-Z Restaurants) are minority shareholders.
Waney and Zuma co-founder Rainer Becker recently announced plans to take Zuma and Roka worldwide starting with Zuma Hong Kong and then opening in Istanbul and with Roka's planned for Las Vegas, Dubai and Arizona.