St John alumni team up to launch Rondo at The Hoxton in Holborn

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Quality Chop House's Will Lander and former St John executive chef Chris Gillard launch Rondo restaurant at Hoxton Holborn

Related tags: Hotel, Restaurant, Fine dining, St John

Quality Chop House co-owner Will Lander is joining forces with former St John executive chef Chris Gillard to launch a neighbourhood-style restaurant and wine bar at The Hoxton in London's Holborn.

Set to open in early September, the restaurant marks something of a reunion for Lander and Gillard, who first met while both working at St John back in 2003: Gillard as head chef, and Lander as a barman.

Lander - who also co-owns London restaurants Clipstone in Fitzrovia, and the Michelin-starred Portland - has worked with Gillard and Hoxton owners Ennismore to oversee the concept, as well as put together Rondo's European-focused wine list.

As head chef ,Gillard - who left St John back in 2016 and briefly oversaw the stoves at EartH Kitchen in Dalston - has created a seasonal menu of 'pared-back, punchy dishes'.

Starters include the Rondo summer salad of heritage tomatoes, carrots and radish; a smoked mackerel served on the bone with beetroot and horseradish; brown shrimp, cucumber, fennel and cucumber; and a crispy pig’s cheek salad with roast shallots and watercress.

Mains, meanwhile, will focus on the chef's passion for lesser-used ingredient (which he dubs 'unsung heroes') and features a dish of grey mullet cooked over charcoal and served with tomato, fennel and aioli; Tamworth pork chop with bobby beans and chutney; and roast Sutton Hoo chicken with charred carrots, caramelised onions and chorizo.

Desserts will include apricot and almond tart; a Pump Street chocolate mousse cake with fresh cherries; a strawberry sherry trifle; and British cheeses from Neal’s Yard.

Alongside this, Lander has created an 'approachable yet refreshing' wine list that 'avoids the usual safe options and go-to regions in favour of creative winemakers and their own unique styles'.

The centrepiece of the dining room will be a wine wall adorned with a handful of bar stools, with bottles stacked high on wooden shelves and chrome taps dispensing Rondo’s house wines from kegs.

Rondo's main wine list will feature around 40 bins and be split into three sections: summer juice, featuring a selection of light wines 'for drinking in the sun'; continental wine bar, defined as being 'slightly more cerebral' and featuring labels from some of Lander's favourite European winemakers; and food-friendly, which have specifically been chosen to pair with dishes on Gillard's menu. 

"We have tried to create exactly the type of restaurant we ourselves love going to," says Lander of the restaurant.

"At Rondo we aim to celebrate wine in all its manifest complexity rather than narrow in on one particular style or region.

"Our focus, therefore, is on the winemaker rather than the type of wine they happen to make.”

Rondo is opening as part of a substantial redesign of the ground floor at The Hoxton, Holborn, which has been led by Ennismore Design Studio.

The dining room will feature terracotta floor tiles; cotton light shades; soft banquettes along one wall; and classic wooden bistro tables and chairs in the centre of the room.

Related topics: Openings, Restaurant

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