MARC boss Marlon Abela believes that while format and diner expectations are changing, the future for fine dining has never been brighter.
“Just look at this year’s key openings,” he says. “Claude Bosi at Bibendum, Clare Smyth’s Core, and now our own The Square. Top-end restaurants are evolving, but the idea that fine dining is on the way out is ridiculous. Yet the media often talks about its decline when really it should be celebrating its success.”
Abela has responded to a sharp increase in competition from more informal - but still reassuringly expensive - Mayfair restaurants by positioning his own restaurants at an even higher level.
“We do fine dining and want to position ourselves at the forefront of what fine dining represents over the next decade. We will differentiate ourselves through better food, wine, service and environment,” says Abela, who also runs a number of restaurants in the US.
The Square is currently on soft launch and officially re-opens early next month. Clément Leroy is head chef, replacing Japanese chef Yu Sugimoto, who ended his tenure when the French haute-cuisine restaurant closed for refurbishment in early August, citing family reasons.
Born in France, Leroy has worked in a number of key roles for three-Michelin star chef Guy Savoy. His cooking is described as being rooted in French tradition, but using less butter and cream than might be traditionally found in France.
Watch out for our full interview with Abela in the December issue of Restaurant magazine.