CHEF Bjorn van der Horst is looking for a space in central London to open a new style of restaurant based on the idea of “the kitchen being the centre of any party” following the recent demise of La Noisette in Knightsbridge, London.
He said he has several prospective partners for the new venture, which will “bring together everything that I’ve loved in France, in New York and in London”.
A kitchen bar will be used for canap?s and drinks with the searing around the outside of the “kitchen” space he explained. “It’ll be a new vision of fine dining – we’ve reinvented the classics but not the service, so this will be a more convivial way of eating”. The restaurant is expected to open by autumn.
Van der Horst, who previously worked for Marlon Abela at The Greenhouse in Mayfair, said he resigned from his position as Chef Patron in December with a view to opening his own restaurant in London, where the American-raised chef and his Canadian wife have made his home.
He said he experienced “excitement at being part of Gordon’s omni media present organisation” and paid tribute to his “savvy business sense”.
Van der Horst joined the Ramsay stable to oversee the kitchen at La Noisette in the summer of 2006 in what was previously Pengelley’s. As Pengelley’s only lasted 10 months, shutting its doors in December 2005, the site would certainly appear to be a difficult one to make work.
Ramsay Holdings stoic statement said: “With the ever increasing demands for Private Dining experiences within the Gordon Ramsay Group we are delighted to confirm La Noisette’s address with its exceptional floor spaces on two levels will now be available for events throughout the year.
"This will help accommodate some of the lost private dining opportunities in The Reading Room while The Savoy is closed for extensive refurbishment.”
The closure of La Noisette came as little surprise to anyone in the know, with rumours surrounding its imminent closure picking up pace by the end of 2007.
Throughout its short life reviews were, at best mixed, with the brown d?cor coming under particular scrutiny.
The latest Time Out guide prophetically commented, “We love Bjorn’s food, but we don’t feel that his partnership with Gordon Ramsay is doing him or us any favours.”
La Noisette is Ramsay’s third UK restaurant closure in six months, following Angela Hartnett’s Menu at the Connaught and the closure of the Savoy Grill for a 16-month long refurbishment.