Chef Phil Howard – perhaps best known for his 25 years at the helm of The Square, Mayfair – has announced that he and Rebecca Mascarenhas have paired up once again to launch a new restaurant. Elystan Street will open on Chelsea’s Elystan Street this September, previously the site of the stylish, but relatively short-lived Tom Aikens Restaurant.
Mascarenhas and Howard already co-own two other London restaurants – Kitchen W8 in Kensington, and Sonny’s Kitchen in Barnes. Commenting on the plans Howard said: “I still have unfinished business with food, and am incredibly excited to be returning to the heart of a kitchen.”
The modern British menus at Elystan Street will have different lunch and dinner formats, but that’s all we know for now. More details will be available from mid-summer, so watch this space. The exterior and interior space will be fully renovated and redesigned by Clare Nelson Design ahead of the September launch, with a 64-cover dining room and private dining room seating up to 12.
Howard left The Square in March this year after its sale to the Marc Group (Marlon Abela Restaurant Corporation), which comprises nine other sites in London, including The Greenhouse in Mayfair, as well as venues in America. Some changes are now afoot, with plans to align The Square with the Greenhouse’s “classic meets avant garde” approach, lighter food, and a focus on British produce – according to a Marc Group spokeswoman.
With its “polished” style, “well-spaced tables” and “one of the Capital’s finest wine lists”, The Square has long been a favourite Mayfair dining destination (particularly for expense-accounters, thanks to the “exorbitant” prices). However Harden’s noted that criticism of the veteran restaurant was stronger over the past couple of years in our annual survey.
Howard owned the Square alongside astute restaurant investor Nigel Platts-Martin. Platts-Martin also co-owns The Ledbury, Chez Bruce and La Trompette – a very triumphant trio. They are both pleased that The Square will be in the hands of “a passionate restaurateur”.