Twin focus counter and cocktails in Shoreditch

A team from Fenn, the Fulham restaurant that closes for good at the end of this month, will this summer open an intriguing combination of chef’s table and cocktail bar, championing lesser-known British ingredients and whiskeys from the American South.

The project, close to Old Street station in Shoreditch, has been put together by chef Joe Laker and mixologist Ryan Sheehan (pictured left and right, above), supported by former Fenn colleagues sous chef Michael Miles and front-of-house Harry Cooper.

Joe will host 16 diners from a marble-topped counter at Counter 71 – named after the address, 71 Nile Street – serving a tasting menu that follows his stripped-down ‘fewer-ingredients’ philosophy. A protégé of Yorkshire chef Tommy Banks from the Black Swan in Oldstead, this is Joe’s first venture as lead following stints at Elystan Street, St Leonards and Anglo.

Meanwhile, Savannah, Georgia-born Ryan will preside over Lowcountry, a 28-cover bar taking its name from the coastal region from Georgia to North Carolina noted for its bourbon and rye.

Guests will be seated at tables for two or a large communal table, with the Counter 71 kitchen providing cocktail ingredients as well as small plates including Pimento Cheese RarebitShrimp & Grits Prawn Toast and Fried Okra. Although he was born in Hull, as a child Joe lived in Alabama and South Carolina, where he picked up the tastes of the South.

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