Former Ottolenghi and Morito team takes on first venture

By Melodie Michel contact

- Last updated on GMT

Jago will open at Second Home Shoreditch in mid-November
Jago will open at Second Home Shoreditch in mid-November

Related tags: Restaurant

Born of the collaboration between former Ottolenghi head chef Louis Solley and ex Morito general manager Hugo Thurston, informal restaurant Jago will open in mid-November in London’s Brick Lane.

Located within office space building Second Home on Hanbury Street, the 60 to 80-cover venue will offer a mixture of Southern European, Middle Eastern and Ashkenazi cuisines.

“Our initial inspiration came from my background working for Morito and Louis’s background at Ottolenghi: we started to work with the kind of concept that we knew best – relaxed informal setting for the customers and food heavily influenced by Southern Europe and Eastern Mediterranean.

“As we went on to develop menus, we were increasingly drawn to adding something more personal to us, and that has involved incorporating some Ashkenazi Jewish influence. And given where the restaurant is, just off Brick lane, which before it became a Bengali area was completely Jewish, it all made sense,” Thurston told BigHospitality.

Seasonal dishes

Breakfast and lunch will be available to eat in or take away, with dishes including grilled Challah bread with labneh and house compote; fresh figs, goat’s curd, honey, toasted coriander; and spiced baked beans and eggs.

The a la carte menu will offer a changing selection of salads and grilled dishes including grilled cauliflower, endive, almonds and sultanas; cured cucumbers, dill, anchovies, sour cream and sweet paprika; miso-marinated onglet; and harissa-marinated mackerel.

Also on the menu will be grilled apples and sardines, walnuts and rainbow chard; prawn bisque, bomba rice and parsley oil; stewed octopus, roast fennel and lovage yoghurt; and braised lamb, dates and carrots, black olive and parsley picada.

For dessert, poached quince, saffron cream and sable biscuit will appear alongside a chocolate and olive oil mousse, sea salt and hazelnuts; and Pina Colada – rum soaked coconut and lime cake, grilled pineapple and Malibu cream.

Independent wine list

Wines available by the glass or carafe, and a bottle only list will have a strong focus on Spain and the South of France, with an emphasis on small independent growers.

Craft beers and a short list of classic cocktails including the Gibson, a pickled-onion-garnished, super-dry gin martini will complete the drinks offering.

Fast process

Solley and Thurston only started working together on the project two months ago, though Thurston and third partner Vinny Burke had been looking for a space for a while. The two friends were introduced to Solley by Second Home co-founder Sam Aldenton, and immediately found common interests.

“As soon as Louis and I started working together, we immediately found that we had so much common ground in terms of the kind of restaurants, food, wine and drinks we like, where in London we like to go, who our favourite cookery writer is etc. Having that shared vision has made the process really quite fluid and straightforward,” added Thurston.

Second Home residency

The restaurant’s residency at Second Home forms part of a comprehensive food and beverage contract with the company, meaning the team will be behind all Second Home restaurants when new venues open.

“We are operating as an independent business, but we are part of the Second Home building – a very ambitious company that plans to expand very quickly, so we will inevitably have more sites quite soon.

“We’re the people in possession of that F&B operating contract, so we will be providing tailored concepts for each of their buildings as and when they arrive. Beyond that, we also have our own ambitions to open bars and restaurants that aren’t connected to Second Home at all, and that’s something we’re also very excited by,” he explained.

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