The Imbiba Partnership-backed bar and restaurant group is the brainchild of managing director Melanie Marriott, who hopes to grow the business in affluent London ‘villages’ including Chelsea, Soho and Shoreditch.
“We’d like to grow between seven and nine sites between the next three to five years,” Marriott told BigHospitality. “The Imbiba Partnership absolutely has the money to do so and we’re actively looking in West London villages at the moment - but it’s all about finding the right space and not compromising.”
The Ebury refurb
Work commences on The Ebury this month with the opening planned for early next year. Following a redesign by Fusion DNA, the new-look bar and restaurant will offer a new all-day casual bar dining experience with an emphasis on interior aesthetics and fresh scratch-cooked food. There will be space for 100 covers downstairs and an events area upstairs which can cater for up to 100 people standing or 50 seated.
Darwin & Wallace forecasts a target spend between £25 and £30 per head at The Ebury, with food accounting for 40 per cent of sales. Marriott, who’s experience in food-led bars includes time as brand manager of All Bar One, hopes to bring some of that business’s ethos into her new venture.
She added: “When All Bar One was created, it was very cutting edge in its design, which will also be incredibly important to this new brand. All Bar One also had an ethos of doing the simple things very well, which will be carried across into Darwin & Wallace.
Character and identity
“But we will be more quirky in nature than All Bar One. Each site will have its own character and identity, it will be unique to the property and to the area - we’re very keen to restore the Ebury to a more traditional feel, restoring its heritage but giving it a new lease of life.”
Once The Ebury is established, Darwin & Wallace will be targeting sites between 5,000 and 7,000 sq.ft for the expansion, but Marriott insists the brand won’t jump into any future acquisitions.
“It’s easy to say that we’re going to have a certain number of sites by the end of next week, but at the moment we’re just going to focus on what we’re going to do at the Ebury before looking at spaces in other neighbourhoods.”
Launched in 2012, Darwin & Wallace is the latest company to be financed by The Imbiba Partnership whose other investments include London-based bar group Drake & Morgan which comprises The Refinery, The Folly, The Anthologist, The Parlour and The Drift.