Smyth quit Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in Chelsea’s Royal Hospital Road last April after almost 10 years at the helm – which made her the only woman to have run a three-star Michelin kitchen in Britain.
She has signed a 15-year lease on 92 Kensington Park Road, the site of Prue Leith’s famous restaurant for 25 years from 1969. It is a few minutes’ brisk walk from Brett Graham’s The Ledbury, probably London’s leading restaurant of the current decade.
The new restaurant, as yet unnamed, is expected to open by early summer – much later than Smyth had originally planned. “It was pretty fraught at times,” she said, “but I’’m thrilled to have exchanged on this particular site. It was my first choice and I just love the history of the building.””
A farmer’s daughter from Northern Ireland, Smyth, 38, left home at 16 to train as a chef in England. She first joined Restaurant Gordon Ramsay in 2002, gaining experience at Alain Ducasse’s Le Louis XV in Monte Carlo before returning in 2008 as head chef and later chef-patron. The latest Harden’s Survey shows a marked decline in diner satisfaction with RGR since her departure.