Chef and restaurateur Jason Atherton is opening a cocktail bar called Pavlova’s at the Victoria Palace Theatre today.
Speaking exclusively to SquareMeal, Atherton said that he had been approached by the theatre’s owner, Sir Cameron Mackintosh, who wanted to break the tradition in London of theatres not being great places to eat or drink. “Cameron has been a regular of ours for a long time and said, how cool would it be to have one of your cool little concepts in one of our theatres?”
Pavlova’s is named after Anna Pavlova, the legendary Russian ballerina whose statue stands on top of the theatre. The drinks list is overseen by Jay Doy, executive bar manager for Atherton’s Social Company. The signature cocktail, The Dying Swan, gets its name from Pavlova’s most famous dance and features a music box that opens to reveal a spinning ballerina and a chilled gin cocktail.
The Victoria Palace Theatre, topped with its statue of Anna Pavlova
While Pavlova’s is first and foremost a bar, you’ll also be able to drop in for a bite to eat, though it will be far less formal than Atherton's Hai Cenato in the nearby Nova development. Croissants will be served with coffee in the morning while for lunch and dinner there’ll be cheese and charcuterie and the house speciality paninis made from potato focaccia.
“I’m obsessed with somewhere in Florence called ’Ino,” Atherton said. “It’s a hole in the wall where the chef makes his own potato focaccia bread. He does a gorgonzola and ’nduja filling which I’m literally stealing the recipe for and putting on the menu here. I have two for lunch.”
It’s shaping up to be a busy summer for Atherton, who announced last week that he is opening The Betterment at Mayfair’s new Biltmore hotel in a couple of months. Pavlova’s, however, will be rather more affordable. “We want it to be a fun place in Victoria where you can come for some cocktails for about £9 each, a beer for five quid or a sandwich for six quid.”
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