Next month, the iconic French restaurant on London’s southbank will be taken over by a chef who wishes to modernise its menu. Julien Imbert, an announcement says, will draw “on his extensive Michelin starred experience [to] combine traditional French cooking with a modern approach.” They are, of course, not the only restaurant in search of a new French accent.
Imbert will rewrite the menus in both the Bar & Grill, the main restaurant and, in the new year, will announce a new concept for the bakery, as well as reveal details for the Le Pont de la Tour wine and food store. The restaurant is owned by D&D London — a company who are making changes to their restaurant portfolio left, right and centre.
The Toulouse-born chef has worked at two Michelin-starred Sketch, held positions at both Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Berners Tavern, before being appointed head chef (and being part of the team that earned a first Michelin star) at Jason Atherton’s City Social.
A new direction will be embraced at La Pont de la Tour as Imbert looks at “recreating some comforting French classics in the more informal brasserie style Bar & Grill.” The restaurant has revealed that the menu will include:
- Steak tartar
- Mussels with white wine Dijon mustard and saffron
- Slow-cooked beef cheek, with mashed potato and red wine sauce
- Croque monsieur served on brioche bread with a mornay sauce
In the main dining room, Imbert aims to subscribe to “modern French cooking.” “Gone are the crepe suzette trolley and the towering soufflés,” the restaurant says. Instead, new dishes will include:
- Gigha halibut with curry velouté, mussels, and gruyere crust
- Salt marsh lamb, braised shoulder, black garlic emulsion and lemon yoghurt
- And “centre stage,” a whole duck, where diners will share the bird between two; a salad will be made from confit leg
“I am thrilled to have taken over the kitchens at Le Pont de la Tour, which has played such a key role in London’s dining scene since it’s opening nearly two decades ago. I have kept the foundations of the menu true to the fundamental principles of French cooking, whilst also introducing modern elements that are reflective of French cooking today.
We will begin anew, partnering with some incredible producers, from small dairy farmers in Brittany for the best cheese and butter, Flying Fish in Cornwall for the finest fish and seafood, along with Turnips and other Borough Market suppliers for vegetables and meat. I look forward to celebrating this new chapter at Le Pont de la Tour in the very best way we know; with great food, and good wine!”
A new wine list will be concise, largely French, and will offer “many wines” by the glass and in some cases in magnum.
The restaurant itself is situated in an industrial 19th Century former tea warehouse, close to Tower Bridge. The space has recently undergone a redesign by Russell Sage Studios, with a new emphasis on nautical.