Pavilioned in splendour

Historic Parisian restaurant Lapérouse is the latest culinary big name to be added to the menu at The OWO – the Old War Office building in Whitehall that opens as a hotel and residences complex by Singapore’s Raffles group this summer.

Café Lapérouse will occupy a purpose-built pavilion in the central courtyard, designed by Cordelia de Castallane, artistic director of Maison Dior.

Benjamin Patou, founder of the Moma Group which owns Lapérouse, promised that the operation’s London debut will ‘excite, amaze and thrill diners. This will be a truly indulgent and different experience, offering a theatre of showstopping signature dishes served in stunning, opulent surrounds.’

The Paris original dates back to 1766, and was named in 1840 in honour of le Comte de Lapérouse, France’s answer to England’s Captain Cook. A naval officer who explored the Pacific Ocean, he witnessed the First Fleet’s arrival in what is now Sydney in 1788 and disappeared with his crew in the Solomon Islands shortly afterwards.

The restaurant claims to be the first to have won three Michelin stars, in 1933, and was frequented by literary icons Baudelaire, Maupassant, Zola, Proust and Hemingway, along with our own Winston Churchill. More recently, Serge Gainsbourg met Jane Birkin there.

The OWO will have at least nine restaurants, three of them directed by Italian-Argentine chef Mauro Clagreco of Mirazur on the French Riviera and one from contemporary Milanese brand Paper Moon.

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