Michael Sager announced this morning that his Sager + Wilde restaurant and wine bar on Paradise Row in Bethnal Green will start opening at lunchtime Tuesday to Friday, as of next week. Dishes such as lamb belly salad or n’duja steamed mussels will all be priced at or below £10, or diners can choose a pasta dish (spaghetti with slow cooked tomato and Parmesan; taglierini with Cornish crab and chilli) with a glass of wine, also for a tenner.
Weaponising chef Chris Leech’s (formerly Kitty Fisher’s) pasta skills has proven a good idea for the restaurant to date. Since Leech took over from Sebastian Myers in January, he has made the food offering “less intellectual,” says Sager, and introduced a pasta deal between 5pm and 7pm, which has been successful enough to egg on the lunchtime opening plan. Cocktails have also been made more affordable.
“It was an expensive place in people’s minds,” Sager told Eater London. “Since we made the menu more affordable, we have a steady flow of walk-ins, and things have really picked up pace. I don’t like the idea of a pasta deal, honestly, but when I go out I don’t like spending more than £40 a head, either.”
With Paradise Garage closing at the end of last month, a gap in the local lunch trade might have opened up. Sager also aims to attract wine industry lunch-goers with his zero corkage proposition. “Ultimately, opening for lunch is going to make our business more professional, and more focused on trading,” he says. “If we make the business better, hopefully people will come and enjoy themselves, and that will be great.”