Owned by 23-year-old Maximilien Marie, the grandson of Francis Marie, who opened the original restaurant in Paris in 1962, the new venue features exactly the same food, décor and atmosphere as its French counterpart.
The menu features traditional bistro items with a special focus on meat – which Maximilien sources from his grandfather’s farm in Normandy. “For us it was very important to choose exactly the same suppliers as our Paris restaurant, to respect the recipes and the freshness of the food,” he told BigHospitality, adding that London was chosen for its proximity to Paris and abundance of French-loving diners.
Normandy-born chef Remy Colleu is in charge of the kitchen, and received two months of training at the Paris venue before Les Gourmets des Ternes opened on Formosa Street. He previously worked at The Zetter Hotel and Bistrot Bruno Loubet, both in London.
Financing and expansion plans
Maximilien obtained a £64,000 loan from Natwest for the project, as part of the bank’s participation in the government’s Funding for Lending Scheme, with backing from the Enterprise Finance Guarantee (EFG). He added that in its first month of trading the 50-cover restaurant made revenue almost equivalent to this ten-year loan, leading him to expect a turnover of £400,000 in the first year of business.
If all goes well, a second fifty-cover London restaurant is planned for 2015, possibly in High Street Kensington or Mayfair. Maximilien is also planning to branch out in other business areas and is considering establishing a delicatessen offering fine French food.
“For our first business it was good to start with a small location as opposed to a big one with 200 seats. It’s better to start small and take care of all the clients,” he continued.
Currently owned by Maximilien’s father Jean-Francois Marie, the French Les Gourmets des Ternes is a favourite with celebrities including Sharon Stone and Jack Nicholson.