Expected to open in October, The Pie Room will house the whole of the restaurant’s savoury pastry operation with the hatch element of the project expected to open in 2018. The new space will have a Victorian look and feel.
“We’ve been developing the recipe for the pork pie for some time,” says Franklin, whose beautifully designed savoury pastries have won him a loyal following on social media.
The chef told BigHospitality the increase in capacity will also see the launch of a special pie menu to to be served in the restaurant and will allow the restaurant to take more orders for bespoke pies.
The Pie Room will offer a selection of sweet and savoury pies, either to be enjoyed individually (prices from £5.50) or with others (£30 to serve 4-6 people). Visitors who are keen to try their hand at the craft will also have the chance to participate in weekly pie making masterclasses, set to launch in April 2018.
“The amount of pie work we’re doing in the main kitchen at the moment is putting a lot of pressure on the rest of the operation," says Franklin. "Having a separate space will allow us to properly explore the custom pie side of the business. People are going mad for it at the moment.”
Franklin’s infatuation with pies began when he redesigned the Holborn Dining Room’s signature pie shortly after joining the restaurant. A find of some old pâté en croûte in the restaurant’s basement further fuelled the former The Ivy and Roast chef's interest in savoury pastry work.
“It resonates with a lot of the guests here,” he says. “We have a lot of lawyers that have lived and worked round here for years, they’re not interested in New Nordic food or squid ink tuilles. It’s a good fit for tourists too because we also have a great gin bar. Gin and pie are two of London’s most famous products so to be able to offer them in one place is great.”
Franklin is also considering entering France’s Championnat du Monde de Pâté-Croûte, a high profile pastry competition which is famously hostile to non-French chefs. Franklin will potentially be coached by French chef and savoury pastry expert Stéphane Reynaud, who saw pictures of his work on Instagram.
“He has persuaded them to let a British person enter," he says. "I think there have only been three foreigners in 30 years. I’d really like to enter it and give it my all but probably not this year because we need to get The Pie Room up and running.
“I’m obsessed with pies. I'm getting married soon and every time I'm talking to my missus about the wedding I'm just thinking about pâté en croûte. I think our wedding cake might end up being a massive pie with 'I'm sorry' written on it."