The £15m investment - again thought to be the largest ever for a single site in the capital - will lead to the creation of ‘Biblioteka’ - a 20,000 sq.ft, 250-cover restaurant with additional private dining rooms and a vintage Champagne bar.
Having founded Bob Bob Ricard in 2008, Shutov has ‘Michelin-star ambitions’ for his new venture. “Not necessarily in the complexity of food – there is great beauty in simplicity – but in the precise execution and honed presentation,” said the Russian.
Biblioteka will be an evolution of Bob Bob Ricard’s successful formula; offering a menu of English classics and Russian delicacies. Dishes will include pelmeni and vareniki (traditional dumplings); stroganina (the sashimi of the Russian far north); shashlik (grilled skewered meat in Georgian spices); Kamchatka king crab; and the largest choice of caviar in London.
As one of the largest licensed premises in central London, an extra emphasis will be on Biblioteka’s drinks offering, with a selection of fine wine, vintage Champagne and rare spirits dating back to the 1800s presented in chronological order. Every house wine and Champagne will be available in bottles, magnums, double magnums and jeroboams.
Among the drinks selection will be a collection of over 100 vintages of Chateau d’Yquem – which dates back to 1887, along with a library of Krug Champagne dated from 1915 and including the exceptionally rare ‘Krug Clos du Mesnil’ and ‘Krug Clos d’Ambonnay’.
“We will have the finest wine cellar in London,” added Shutov. “It will be offered to our customers at a fraction of the price of any other restaurant in London.”
“The aim is to create London’s most-celebrated restaurant interior inspired by some of the greatest libraries of the world - an iconic space built around the function of storing and displaying our vast collection of fine wine and champagne.”
The 12 St James leasehold was acquired from Legal & General, while the Crown Estate holds the freehold. Davis Coffer Lyons acted on behalf of Legal & General on the deal.
Biblioteka will open on 12 St James’s Street in 2015.