Carl Clarke to open permanent Rock Lobsta restaurant in Mahiki London

By Peter Ruddick

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags: Restaurant

Popular chef and pop-up veteran Carl Clarke is to open Rock Lobsta - his first permanent restaurant - in the Mahiki London nightclub
Popular chef and pop-up veteran Carl Clarke is to open Rock Lobsta - his first permanent restaurant - in the Mahiki London nightclub
Chef and pop-up restaurant expert Carl Clarke is to open his first permanent restaurant when he launches Rock Lobsta at the Mahiki London nightclub next month.

Following in the success of a four-day pop-up of the same name in Shoreditch last June, Clarke has gone into partnership with the team at the Mayfair club to open Rock Lobsta at Mahiki in the second week of July.

The 60-cover restaurant, complete with trademark lobster corn dog, will be located on the first floor of the nightclub and will follow the same ethos, design and food style of the popular chef's pop-up projects despite the permanent nature of the venue.

Carl Clarke

Carl Clarke has operated a number of very successful pop-up restaurants

Speaking to BigHospitality, Clarke said the Mahiki team had visited the recent Disco Bistro pop-up and had given him free rein to lead the project without watering down the Rock Lobsta concept or changing the price point too drastically.

"It is only a matter of time before a pop-up becomes more mainstream as people get more interested," he explained. "They (the team at Mahiki) have done it all on my terms which is great because I don't want Rock Lobsta to go to Mayfair and become a Mayfair restaurant - it is not about that.

"It is about taking what we do east, with all its ruggedness and creativeness, and plonking it right in the middle of a nightclub. It is a new and exciting market for us but it is important that we retain our integrity," Clarke added.

"We will get the same energy and leftfield punk attitude in there and we will really try and offer as much value for money as we can food-wise. Business is business but you have got to be happy with the margins and make people feel valued and welcomed - we are not going to start charging £20 for a burger," he explained.

If successful, Clarke revealed there could be more permanent restaurants on the horizon - including a possible continuation of the partnership with Brompton Brands. Led by Piers Adam and Nick House, the firm, which opened Mahiki London in 2005, also operates a Mahiki club in Dubai.

Clarke has a long history of successful and popular pop-up restaurant projects. As well as Rock Lobsta, the chef launched God Save the Clam, Thomas Keller spoof The English Launderette and, more recently, Disco Bistro.

He is currently involved with the Rotary Bar & Diner, a ten-month project led by bar and members' club entrepreneur Jonathan Downey.

Rock Lobsta

While the restaurant will not have its own entrance it will have a dedicated floor in the Dover Street venue and it will feature its own individual styling. Diners will enter through the club entrance and the restaurant will be open for dinner from 5pm until late.

The menu will be dominated by fish from British suppliers, such as Cornish lobster, but with more exotic ingredients, including passion fruit, and the food will boast some Japanese influences.

One dish will feature soft-shell crab fried in buttermilk and wing flour which will be served with a chilli vinegar spray, Nori seaweed, salt and chilli flakes. A lobster roll, Mahiki burger, street food-inspired snacks and a trio of steamed buns with hot and sour fish fillings will all feature on the menu which will also include a raw section.

The drinks list features an extensive selection of wines starting at £17 a bottle and cocktails which have been created in partnership with the Mahiki bar team.

Rock Lobsta is the latest in a long line of pop-up restaurants to find a permanent home - it follows in the successful footsteps of Flat Iron, Beard to Tail, Death by Burrito among others.

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