The hit pop-up pasta restaurant run by chefs Chris Leach and David Carter, which closed at 10 Heddon Street last weekend, will be replaced by a broadly Japanese restaurant called Pacific from Australian chef Shaun Presland. It will open on Thursday 7 November.
Pacific, described as “the much-anticipated new solo venture from award-winning Australian chef Shaun Presland,” had been planned to open on the former site of Foxlow in Soho, but was quietly called off earlier this autumn. A spokesperson for Presland said that due to issues with planning and consent, the “Pacific team felt that the site just wasn’t the right fit for what they envisaged.” The celebrated pasta restaurant, Bancone, will open its second restaurant at that premises later this year.
Presland says he will “introduce a refreshing and bright expression of Japanese cuisine in London” — an all-day contemporary Japanese restaurant pop-up that “combines expertly prepared dishes with a warm, informal sense of Australian hospitality.”
Presland says he brings with him 25 years of experience in Japanese cooking, during which time he focused on mastering kaiseki (multi-course) cuisine for five years and in the art of sushi making for a further seven. The one-time executive sous chef at Nobu in the Bahamas, Presland worked as the executive chef of the Saké restaurant group in Australia for 10 years and, in London, has cooked at the pop-up venue Carousel in Marylebone (in 2015) and a series of supper clubs at The Tate museum in 2017.
Presland said he was thrilled to have the opportunity to cook in one of the best food cities in the world and indicated the Heddon Street pop-up would presage a permanent restaurant in the medium-term. “I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to come back to the UK after having spent much of my childhood just outside of London,” he said.
“It is incredibly exciting to open Pacific in a city that has evolved to become one of the best in the world for food. The produce available here is world class and utterly delicious. We’re really looking forward to sharing our vision as a pop-up at 10 Heddon Street in Mayfair for the next few months as we solidify our plans to develop the business from there.”
Fresh sashimi, grilled seafood, vegetables, and “small selection of meat dishes” will feature on the menu. A daily changing blackboard specials menu will also offer day boat catches and the kitchen will offer a seven-course tasting menu of Pacific’s dishes as they evolve.
Some of the small plates and starters set for arrival next week include: “Bondi Roll,” a Tokyo turnip-wrapped assortment of sashimi with avocado, chives, and soy, and kingfish with jalapeno and yuzu, made using pickled fennel and house-made jalapeno kosho with yuzu ponzu. A potato and shiitake mushroom croquette with panko crumb, and miso truffle mayonnaise, plus a kakiage tempura — a vegetable tempura salad of carrot, onion, squash and beans, with citrus and flavoured salts — will sit alongside the sushi.
Main courses will include dishes comparatively uncommon in central London, but look poised to appeal to that popular Mayfair taste, so successful at the likes of Sexy Fish, Zuma, and Nobu: Crispy skin hiramasa kingfish with sweet ponzu buckwheat salsa; Wagyu steak grilled on a robata with wasabi chimichurri dipping sauce; and miso toothfish, grilled and served with saikyo miso marinade.
A largely Australian wine list will be dominated organic and minimal-intervention (natural) wines, sourcing via Caves de Pyrene, Indigo Wines and Liberty Wines.
It would seem that the landlord, Crown Estate, has decided the model of allowing chefs and restaurateurs to take residence at 10 Heddon Street is preferable for it in the short- and medium-term; that the plight suffered by the Birdman Group with Magpie is something it is unwilling to oversee again in a hurry.