Des Gunewardena returns to the Royal Exchange

Former D&D London restaurateur Des Gunewardena will make his comeback this summer with two new openings at the City of London’s Royal Exchange, which will be the flagship of his new company D3 Collective.

Engel, a cocktail bar with a live space for cabaret, will occupy the north and east mezzanines of the early Victorian building, while Jang will offer a modern take on Korean cuisine under former Seoul Bird executive chef Dana Choi in the south mezzanine. They are scheduled to launch in June.

Des knows the site well, having operated the Grand Cafe and Sauterelle restaurant there for 15 years with D&D London, which he left in 2022.

He said: “We’re excited about Engel and Jang bringing something new and different to the Royal Exchange with their unique approach to design, dining and entertainment.

Engel is very much a venue for today but inspired by the spirit of 1920s Berlin. Jang will offer a more intimate dining experience that, at its heart, celebrates Korean cuisine. We hope, through Jang, that Korean cuisine will become more widely enjoyed and appreciated in London.

D3 Collective will also open a new restaurant in Canary Wharf later this year. Des said: “Canary What is growing and it’s changing. No longer just about work, it is increasingly part of London people are choosing to live in and to visit for its shops, restaurants, art and culture.”

One of London’s most prolific restaurant entrepreneurs, Des served as chief executive of D&D London, which he founded with former partner David Loewi following their management buyout of Conran Restaurants in 2006. At its height, the company had more than 40 restaurants from London to New York. It was acquired by Calveton and Break Capital last year in a deal reportedly worth £60 million.

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