The 80-cover restaurant and bar on Earls Court Road is the brainchild of Chris Peel, who recently sold his chain of Monk bars in the north of England to pursue this innovative idea with friend Gareth Evans.
“I’ve always been into the 1920’s - I loved the flat caps and bars theme,” Peel told BigHospitality. “I spent two and a half years around this area and I’ve done a lot of research on it. It’s a concept that we know works in East London and the Soho area, but around Kensington and Chelsea and in West London, - people will definitely like it.”
Opening on 8 June, the restaurant will offer American-style small plate food with a focus on house-smoked meat sliders. The bar will specialise in spirit infusions taken from flavours of the kitchen including the maple bacon or tobacco-infused bourbon.
Designed by Peel and his wife Nicola, Evans & Peel Detective Agency features a secret entrance, the idea being that this is where the ‘client’ makes their appointment. Once inside, customers will enter an agency office where they will find the ‘detective’ waiting.
“Everything in the building has been individually sourced over a number of years,” added Peel. “Whether it be from trips down to France to buy furniture, renovating some old 1930’s cinema seats, or constructing the bar from old church pews - we’ve done it all in-house.”
Behind the bar is a set of 77 drawers dating back to the turn of the century, sourced from a British library. Each ’client’ has the opportunity to purchase a drawer (rates from £300 a year) – they will then choose a bottle of spirit which is decanted into an Evans & Peel bottle, wax dipped and sealed. They receive a key for their drawer and it will be theirs for one year, with the option of renewal.
Customers who own a drawer will also receive a private email address and a password whereby they can book a table at Evans & Peel at any time - those without a drawer are able to make bookings two hours before opening time on the day.
On the menu
Overseen by head chef Michael Harrison, the food menu features classic pork butts and beef brisket, slow smoked on-site in the custom-build smoker, along with other items including vegetables and fish. In the bar, which will be managed by Peel himself, cocktails will be seasonal, focusing on variations of classics such as the Old Fashioned and Sazerac.
A comprehensive list of wines and Champagnes will also be available and, when bought by the bottle, will be disguised in a brown paper bag to ‘fool the Prohibition officers.’ One beer on tap will be dispensed from a vintage radiator - bottled beers in brown paper bags will also be handed discreetly across the bar upon request.
Speaking of the potential expansion of Evans & peel Detective Agency, Peel concluded: “There’s definitely an avenue for it, but I don’t want to run before I can walk. I also don’t think I would do the same thing twice.
“If we were going to do another thing of this ilk I don’t think it would be another Evans & Peel Private Detective Agency. We would like to tailor each idea to the venue and the place.”