21 August 2014

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Will Ricker talks about the reopening of Eight Over Eight


Will Ricker - Will_Ricker1.jpgIn anticipation of the relaunch of Chelsea's Eight Over Eight and the opening of new Shoreditch bar Glo Glo's, which will be located under the Great Eastern Dining Room, Square Meal caught up with the brains behind the concepts, restaurateur Will Ricker.

What can regulars expect to see different in Eight Over Eight (pictured below) when it reopens?

It will still have the best aspects of the old site, for example the Fortuny lights, the six-panel screen, the booth seating, and so on. But where the design could be improved, we have done so; the bar is slightly bigger and more comfortable, the toilets are a vast improvement, we have increased the private-dining room by a third and the kitchen is more efficient, with better equipment, so I expect the food to be another rung up, although the prices will remain the same.

Has getting the restaurant up and running again been a hard process?

We needed lawyers to get the insurance to cough up. Losing that cashflow was difficult, but once it reopens, all will be forgotten and I'm confident our loyal and valued regulars will come back, as well as hopefully a new generation of Eight Over Eight customers.

What is the inspiration behind the new Glo Glo’s?

I have always wanted to open a bar with great food. I love the taste of food that comes off a robata grill. The proportions go perfectly with cocktails, and the style of the space has been inspired by my time spent in the incredible bars and restaurants in Tokyo.

How has Shoreditch changed in the past decade, since you opened the Great Eastern Dining Room?

It’s changed massively. It has become a social, destination location with many stratas of people and choices. The people are still very creative but there is more diversity. I would say the main difference is that the area is now seen as a place to go out by everyone in the capital.

EIGHTOVEREIGHT U - EIGHTOVEREIGHT_U.jpgYou run restaurants in a selection of locations that are all seen as cool, but in very different ways – Chelsea, Notting Hill and Shoreditch. How much do you have to tailor them to the locals’ character?

The utilitarian design process is the same, but the end look is given a lot of thought with the location in mind. Similarly, service style is tweaked for each location.

Pan-Asian food was very much in vogue when you launched Cicada, but has dropped from fashion somewhat. How have you kept your pan-Asian-inspired restaurants fresh through this?

Has it? I would not know, as my places are very busy. We have had two record years in a row with E&O and I am expecting Eight Over Eight to trade better than before.

What’s next on the horizon?

I want to open E&O Central in Soho or Mayfair. Then I want to try something new. Possibly an Italian.

*Eight Over Eight, 392 King's Road, London, SW3 5UZ, 020 7349 9934. To read more about the restaurant, click here.

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