Sticky Mango takes a gamble on Butler’s Wharf

Pan-Asian restaurant Sticky Mango is taking over the prime Tower Bridge riverside premises of Cantina del Ponte, which closed down after 31 years earlier this month. The new Sticky Mango – a branch of the original near Waterloo station – is scheduled for a soft launch from 24 July, and is taking bookings from 2 August.

Cantina del Ponte was originally opened in 1992 by the late Sir Terence Conran as part of his ambitious ‘Gastrodome’ project of four restaurants on the same site at Butler’s Wharf on Shad Thames.

For many years, Cantina Del Ponte was one of the worst performers in our annual diners poll, regularly scoring poor in all three categories. As such, it was an early exemplar of the difficulty faced by increasingly professional restaurant groups in “rolling out” while maintaining quality. These observations did not thing to endear Harden’s to the Conran press office…

D&D London, which emerged from the Conran empire, blamed its closure on the current “economic challenges” facing hospitality, and Sticky Mango’s founder, chef Peter Lloyd, has been frank about the difficulties he faces in making a success of the new venue.

“It’s a big gamble for us to be taking on a site like this in the climate that we’re in. All of the costs are increasing. There’s a labour shortage and customers have less money in their pockets. But it’s a good calculated gamble, because it’s such a prime location and we never pitched ourselves as an expensive, high-end restaurant.”

The venue can accommodate 90 diners inside and another 70 on a covered terrace with spectacular views of Tower Bridge – the site’s trump card, which should attract both tourists and expense account diners from the City, just across the river.

Peter continued: “The Tower Bridge site will embrace all the good things from Waterloo. The service will be a little bit more refined and we will have a bit more theatre with our desserts, which we’ve always been very well know for.”

Peter has a proven track record for taking over venues – a trick he performed in transforming the formerly well-known RSJ (long RIP) into Sticky Mango at Waterloo. There are plans to open a third branch this year in Islington.

Share this article: