Swiss-born entrepreneur Elliot Blum opened the 40-cover Italian-tapas restaurant and 20-cover bar in the last week of February, but Italian chef Stefano Stecca, who joined Blummyz after a year working on the pre-opening of The Italian Restaurant at Novikov, believes the restaurant has so far failed to attract a high amount of custom, given its high-footfall location.
“We opened Blummyz in the last week of February,” Stecca told BigHospitality earlier this week. “It’s a very busy location here. The site is small and intimate – it’s a very nice, posh Italian restaurant.
“But at the moment, it’s not very busy to tell you the truth. For me, I think it’s too expensive. But the owner works like that. The quality of food is fine, but we are new and maybe from the beginning we should have lowered the price."
Dining at Blummyz is priced at £60 per head, with an additional 12.5 per cent gratuity charge added to the final bill. But Blum, who is overseeing his first business in London with restaurant manager Richard Renaud, was quick to respond to his chef’s comments about the price point.
Speaking to BigHospitality yesterday, he said: “The price could be a factor in any restaurant’s success, as people are less inclined to pay so much now because of the recession. But if you compare our restaurant to any other top end restaurant in London like Cipriani, we’re half the price.
“So although it is expensive, you won’t get the same food quality anywhere else. If you want to come to a top restaurant with a good atmosphere, you have to pay the extra money.”
Blum also played down Stecca’s comments about the restaurant being under-filled, insisting he wants it to be a long-lasting business and didn’t want to run the risk of it being a flash in the pan.
“It’s my first restaurant and my idea is to just give it three months here. If in three months the restaurant is not full, we can call it a failure. I didn’t expect it to be full at the beginning as I was doing no PR and I wanted to open very softly, through word of mouth.
“I don’t want it to be a popular restaurant just for the first few months and then be finished. I want to create a lasting brand identity.”
Speaking of the future of the working partnership between himself and chef Stecca, Blum concluded: “He wouldn’t have come to my restaurant and work for me if he didn’t see a great opportunity here. But I guess we have different opinions and different ways of working. I can’t give you a definite answer right now.”
Blummyz features a weekly-changing menu, offering an artisanal approach to contemporary Italian and Mediterranean-inspired cuisine, using fresh and seasonal produce sourced from France and Italy. Dishes are cooked within an open wood oven and at the heart of the menu is a fresh meat and fish market selection.
Dishes include chicken liver bruschetta with black truffle; soft polenta with clam sauce; pan-fried foie gras with baby spinach and balsamic dressing; and wood-roast sea bass served with braised fennel and mushroom ragout.
The restaurant is located at 6 Hollywood Road.