Russell Norman to open food-led Shaftesbury Avenue pub

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

Russell Norman, the restaurateur behind Polpo, Polpetto, Spuntino and Mishkin’s, is to open a food-led pub on Shaftesbury Avenue
Russell Norman, the restaurateur behind Polpo, Polpetto, Spuntino and Mishkin’s, is to open a food-led pub on Shaftesbury Avenue
Polpo owner Russell Norman has announced he is currently refurbishing The Marquis of Granby pub on Shaftesbury Avenue and will re-open the property as food-led venue The Ape & Bird Public House.

Norman and Richard Beatty, the co-founders of Polpo, Polpetto, Spuntino and Mishkin’s, have acquired the 5,000sq.ft pub on the corner of Shaftesbury Avenue and West Street and will re-launch the venue in October.

The renowned restaurateur first announced his plans to open a site in the capital's theatre district last year when he told Restaurant magazine's Stefan Chomka that he intended to open three London restaurants over the next 18 months.

Norman took to Twitter last night to confirm the venue would be called The Ape & Bird Public House and in a statement this morning he revealed it would operate 'unashamedly as a pub', although with a strong all-day food offer.

No reinvention

"We are delighted to be taking on this fantastic space on the threshold of Soho, Seven Dials and Theatreland," said Norman today. "We have been trying to get our hands on a pub for a long time and we feel very lucky to be the new custodians of this one."

Following a complete refurbishment, the extended bar and restaurant will offer so-called comfort cooking as well as craft beer and 'traditional pub values'. The pub's all-day menu, which is being developed by chef director Tom Oldroyd and Norman himself, will also include brunch and pub snacks options.

Dishes expected to feature include: Scotch egg with celeriac fries, blood pudding hash, whole poached trout with cobnuts & watercress and a different pie for every day of the week.

"We won’t be reinventing the wheel but we hope that our energetic and innovative approach to pub dining will make The Ape & Bird Public House a place that people will use for a variety of reasons: as a pit-stop for a pint and a pork pie, as a great-value lunch destination and as a place to meet friends for dinner, to hang out and to relax after dark," Norman explained.

A selection of craft beers on draught will feature on the drinks menu alongside British and American bottled beers and a number of cocktails focused on martinis, sours and juleps.

Norman will be designing the interiors of the three-floor pub himself. There will be four bars in the venue and The Soho Room on the first floor, which offers views of Cambridge Circus, will feature a mural by Soho artist Neal Fox.

The dining area will have capacity for 120 covers and while reservations will be taken for lunch and dinner, tables will be held back for walk-ins.

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