A finalist in BBC’s Great British Menu 2014, Simmonds has built his reputation as head chef at Ynishir Hall in Wales and executive chef at Adam Simmonds at Danesfield House hotel, earning Michelin stars for both establishments. Most recently, he was involved in the launch of Pavilion restaurant in Kensington, helping develop the concept and overseeing the kitchen and menus.
The chef now wants to open his own restaurant and has teamed up with Shaun Wootton and Chris Rose, founders of finance firm Karadoo, to form the Marlow Restaurant Company and seek funding.
Simmonds wants to open 60-cover restaurant in Central London and is currently considering locations in Mayfair, Soho and Shoreditch.
The seasonal menu will reflect the chef’s minimalist and delicate style of cooking, with no rich sauces, heavy meats or contrasting flavours.
A sample eight course tasting menu would include dishes such as grilled langoustine, mackerel and cod crumbs; roasted chicken wings, egg yolk and celeriac chickweed; parsley, veal head and red prawns; poached halibut, salted cod roe and gooseberry; grilled venison and roasted cauliflower puree; roasted bone marrow; goats curd, dill and cucumber ash; fruit gravel; and lemon, fennel and olive oil.
“My taster menu asks that you leave yourself in my hands so I can take you on a journey of flavour, texture and temperature,” Simmonds said.
Open for lunch and dinner, the restaurant would be aimed at a ‘discerning clientele’, with a ‘minimal, natural and clean’ look to compliment the lightness of Simmonds' cooking.
“You need to create an experience that is remarkable and way above people’s expectations,” said Simmonds.
“Good food shouldn’t be intimidating. I want my customers to feel relaxed and comfortable. I want them to be amazed by the food but I don’t want them feeling as if they have to whisper.”
The funding bid
As chef patron of the new restaurant, Simmonds would retain a 40 per cent share in the Marlow Restaurant Company and is offering 45 per cent up to investors, with Wootton and Rose retaining a small stake each.
Both Wootton and Rose both have extensive experience in the hospitality industry and their business Karadoo specialises in raising debt and equity for small companies and start-ups.
Rose said the government-led EIS scheme is an excellent and under-utilised option for restaurant businesses to earn the capital they need to get off the ground.
“The EIS scheme and the Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme were both set up by government and basically give big tax incentives to investors to put money into businesses,” Rose explained.
“For example on the EIS you get 30 per cent income tax relief and there is no capital gains tax to be paid when you sell the shares. It is just a really efficient way of investing in businesses.”
The trio hope to reach £1.1m by December 2014 and open the new restaurant in spring next year.
To find out more or order a prospectus, visit www.simmondsrestaurant.com