At the start of next month, chef Giuseppe ‘Peppe’ Belvedere — who has for over seven years worked as Ed Wilson’s head chef at Brawn — will take over the two induction hobs at P. Franco in Clapton. His first service will be on Thursday 3 August; he’ll be at the helm for at least six months.
The wine shop and bar is London’s leading example of ‘cave bistronomy’ — the Parisian-style wine bar (often specialising in natural wines) that places great emphasis on small plate dining. The food is often disarmingly clever. In Paris, there’s Septime Cave and Frenchie Bar à Vins; in New York City, Wildair; in Copenhagen, Manfreds. In London, the chefs at P. Franco over the last 18 months have been responsible for some of the city’s most interesting and dynamic cooking.
So far, three chefs elevated P. Franco’s status in the world of dining, propelling a wine shop (and bar) to be considered, credibly, in the same critical context as restaurants. William Gleave, Tim Spedding and Giuseppe Lacorazza have defied all logic while cooking in a bar with no grill, no oven and minimal storage.
Phil Bracey, the GM, said to Eater, “To have Peppe signed up is huge for us — we couldn’t be more excited. He’s been a huge supporter of P. Franco from the beginning and his understanding, love and respect of the wines that we serve is second to none. We’ve already seen what he’s capable of when he did a pop-up with us alongside Tim [Spedding] in September last year, not to mention what he has done with Ed Wilson at Brawn.”
The format won’t change: some small plates with a one or two more substantial dishes, such as pasta. Belvedere, above right, is from Sardinia and he takes a lot of influence from his homeland but, like the rest of today’s avant-garde, takes cues from all food cultures which are concerned more with ingredients than process. According to Bracey, “Peppe is in Italy at the moment — eating, drinking, writing menus, and getting inspired.”
Belvedere told Eater, “I'm very proud and excited to be part of P. Franco team, to cook food that goes along with the amazing selection of wines that is part of and the main attraction of the place. Seasonal food cooked with simplicity and ingredient-oriented. I like to source with attention the best products and let them express what they are, transforming them as little as possible [so] to get the best out of them.”
To get a sense of the kind of dishes we can expect come August, here’s a reminder of the four he created at the Spedding pop up last year: Ceviche Mixto; Fregola al Nero, Cuttlefish, Mussels & Bottarga; Crab & Ricotta Sugo al Gambero Rosso; Fig Leaf Panna Cotta, Black Fig & Honey Granita. Modern Mediterranean, you might say.
Check back for more details and a first look once Belvedere is in position.