Jason Atherton shakes off fine-dining shackles for post-Pollen Street project

Jason Atherton is to open a new ‘British brasserie’ called Sael on the former site of Aquavit in St James’s Market, off Piccadilly Circus.

The announcement follows Jason’s decision go close his Mayfair flagship, Pollen Street Social, this summer. Dale Bainbridge, currently executive chef at Pollen Street, will lead the kitchen at the new venture.

Jason has made clear his belief that there has been a shift in customers’ taste away from what he calls “the shackles of fine dining“, and that Sael will be more “affordable” than Pollen Street.

Announcing the new project, he and his wife Irha said: “St James’ Market is an iconic British landmark in the heart of London. Originally the site of a medieval cattle market, it is steeped in a rich history that makes it the perfect location for our new concept, Sael. To be able to work with the Crown Estate in such a location on a quintessentially British-style brasserie is a dream of ours, delivering affordable, no-holds-barred cooking to the British public and international visitors.

By celebrating our fantastic ingredients in an innovative way, we can get rid of the shackles of traditional fine dining and create a place for people to relax and enjoy not only the excellent food and drink, but the whole atmosphere, with a carefully designed fit out and artwork showcasing British music icons past and present.

We feel that, after four unsettled years during and following the pandemic, Sael will provide a much-needed celebration of all the amazing culinary delights from our Isles.”

Sael is scheduled to open this summer, although no date has yet been announced. Pollen Street Social closes on 31 July.

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