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Having spent the summer pounding London’s pavements in order to update our restaurant reviews, we couldn’t help noticing exciting changes afoot at some of the city’s restaurants, many of which have closed their doors in order to re-emerge in autumn with a shiny new look. Here’s a list of ones to watch.
Il Giardino, Chelsea
This Italian (pictured, left) is overhauling its offering both in the kitchen and out front. The menu will feature only organic dishes from September onwards, as well as some raw options, while the soothing green-grey decor will be updated, too. The team also plans to open an organic deli next door, which like the restaurant, will also open up onto the pretty back garden.
Le Caprice, St James
Fans of this monochrome brasserie will be pleased to hear that Le Caprice, which closed for refurbishment on 8 August, will reopen on 1 September with much the same look – a lick of paint and a freshen-up (including a new black marble floor) are all that’s required for this perpetually fashionable haunt. Other tweaks will include a small alfresco area and a slightly shorter, more sympathetically lit bar, also topped with black marble.
Le Cercle, Chelsea
The basement offshoot of Club Gascon is preparing to reopen in September with a cool new look. The bar will be extended in an ingenious way so as to encircle the current dining area (pictured, left) and play on the restaurant’s name. It will offer a separate menu from the dining room; meanwhile the à la carte menu will make more reference to traditional French cuisine while still retaining chef Pascal Aussignac’s signature style.
Odette’s, Primrose Hill
Odette’s has finally bid goodbye to a life lived in technicolour: gone are the daffodil-yellow curtains and lilac vine-patterned wallpaper of the restaurant’s brothel-chic days. In their absence, good taste has come knocking, much to the relief of its patrons we imagine. Expect to find subdued tones, cream-painted brickwork and monochrome prints.
Tom Aikens, Chelsea
Reactions to the décor of Tom Aikens’ flagship restaurant have always been mixed: some diners praise the ‘class and style’ of its stark minimalism, while others hate it. The chef is remaining tight-lipped about the restaurant’s ongoing refurbishment, which will be unveiled in October, saying only that the look will be a ‘simpler’ one. It’s not just the face of the place that’s changing, though: Aikens is overhauling the menu, too. Watch this space.
And one to watch for 2012…
Brompton Quarter Brasserie, Knightsbridge
This chic all-day eatery on Brompton Road is planning a complete makeover for 2012. Highlights will include a new colour scheme and high chairs at the deli counter; the downstairs dining room, however, will remain unchanged. In July the team opened the Quarter Grocer next door to the brasserie offering seasonal and organic delights.