Anthony Demetre and Will Smith, the pair behind the Michelin-starred Arbutus and Wild Honey, have confirmed the acquisition of a new site in Covent Garden, which will open as the pair’s third restaurant later this year.
The as-yet-unnamed restaurant on William IV Street will become an informal European-style brasserie, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. Covering two floors, the 100-150-cover restaurant will feature a private dining room and ‘dining counter’.
Smith, who has been searching for an opportunity to expand his and Demetre’s portfolio for two years, told BigHospitality the new restaurant would not be chasing any Michelin stars.
“It will be a relaxed, informal, quality brasserie,” he said. “Arbutus and Wild Honey have always been about quality and value, and that will remain in whatever product we do, but this one will be a more informal concept.
“We always wanted to build the business and challenge ourselves. There’s plenty of business to be had in London and we think there’s room in the market for something we can offer. Covent Garden is a great area with year round business and although there is a lot of competition in the area, many of them are just chains catering to the tourist market.”
The pair acquired the lease on the 5,000 sq ft property on William IV Street through specialist leisure agent Restaurant Property for an undisclosed sum, and are expected to start work renovating the building in the next couple of months.
David Rawlinson, director of Restaurant Property, said: “We knew that this was a great location but it seemed a particularly good omen for the deal when Will and Anthony won BMW Square Meal Restaurant Of The Year Award for Arbutus the morning of our viewing in early December. We exchanged just two weeks after this."
Arbutus, which the pair opened to critical acclaim in Soho in 2006, gained a Michelin star just months later. The pair’s second restaurant, Wild Honey, was also awarded a Michelin star within months of its opening in 2007.