Russian hospitality group launches café and wine bar concept in UK

By Noli Dinkovski

- Last updated on GMT

Jean-Jacques is a restaurant concept launched in Moscow in 2004
Jean-Jacques is a restaurant concept launched in Moscow in 2004

Related tags: Russia

A Russian-based hospitality group is to expand outside Moscow and St. Petersburg for the first time by opening a French-style café and wine bar in London’s Soho.

Table Talk Group plans to launch its Jean-Jacques format in the 3,554 sq ft site of the former Spanish and Moroccan restaurant El Cantara, which is split over three levels in Frith Street.

Currently, Table Talk Group operates 15 Jean-Jacques cafés in Moscow and St Petersburg. All Jean-Jacques cafés offer traditional French cuisine, made from what the company claimed are 'uncomplicated recipes and unpretentious wholesome ingredients'.

Each serves breakfast, lunch and dinner, and offers a range of fine wines.

Table Talk Group was founded by lawyer Dimitry Yampolskiy and Mitya Borisov, a leisure sector entrepreneur behind Russian venues such as Club Mayak, Apshu, Gogol and Flat 44.

Other brands

Its other formats include five traditional British-style pubs under the John-Donne brand, Café Mart in the Moscow Museum of Modern Art, and Café Mercato – Italian-style restaurants in Moscow’s public parks.

The Jean-Jacques concept was created by Borisov, French designer Muriel Rousseau and artist Nicholas Ovchinnikov. The first Jean-Jacques opened in Moscow in 2004.

The company has recently been working with Paris-based chef Thierry Monassier, who has more than 40 years’ experience in French cooking.

Similar to Jamie Oliver’s Fifteen, Monassier’s Paris restaurant Manger operates an apprenticeship programme that trains underprivileged youth for a career in hospitality.

Table Talk Group is taking an assignment of the lease of the Frith Street site, which expires in 2026 at a rent of £108,000 per year.

Spectrum Property

Restaurant Property and Spectrum Property Consultants advised El Cantara on the deal.

Sally French, a surveyor at Restaurant Property, said: “The success of the Jean-Jacques concept in Russia is demonstrated by the fact that the ‘middle-class revolution’ there is known as the ‘Jean-Jacques revolution’.

“We expect to hear lots more about the expansion of Jean-Jacques as it’s backed by a very experienced team.”

Related topics: Openings, Restaurant, Pub & Bar

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