The Modern Pantry is to be brought back to life and Le Pont de la Tour will gain a new bistro as their owner, D&D London, spruces itself up for sale by auction following the collapse of a £100 million deal last autumn.
This week the restaurant group – originally founded by the late Terence Conran and renamed when Des Gunewardena and David Loewi took over in 2007 – announced the appointment of new managing director Baton Berisha (pictured), who was chief executive of The Ivy group, Bill’s and Caprice Holdings until owner Richard Caring took day-to-day control in November.
Gunewardena said: “This is an important appointment for D&D and signifies our ambitions for the business. We know Baton well. He actually worked for a number of our restaurants in his younger days! His experience, particularly in leading the growth of the very successful Ivy Collection, will be a huge asset to us as D&D enters the next stage of its expansion.”
The Modern Pantry was founded by D&D with highly rated fusion chef Anna Hansen at the helm in 2008. She left in 2019 and the restaurant closed down the next year, a victim of the pandemic lockdown. The revived version will open in the Zetter Hotel, close to its original setting in Clerkenwell.
Meanwhile, Le Pont de la Tour Bistrot will be located next door to the main restaurant, which was launched by Conran in a former tea warehouse 31 years ago. The new addition will serve French bistro and brasserie classics, with almost half its 56 covers on a terrace to take advantage of famous views over the Thames and London Bridge.
D&D London operates more than 40 restaurants around the capital, as well as in Manchester, Leeds, New York and Paris. The group was reportedly close to a deal with Montecito Equity Partners last autumn, and is now once again looking for a new owner.