Updated: 26.03.19 —
Eater has learned that pedigree duo — chef Jonny Lake and master sommelier Isa Bal, who both left Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck last year — will open their hotly anticipated first London restaurant on the site formerly occupied by Wild Honey in Mayfair.
Little or no information about the high-profile opening has been made available since the duo announced that their leaving Berkshire’s world-famous temple of molecular gastronomy would precipitate a London opening last June.
But sources have told Eater that Lake and Bal have signed on the site — at 12 St George Street, near Hanover Square — which chef Anthony Demetre closed on 1 March. It became known that Wild Honey, somewhat surprisingly, was for sale in January of this year. Materials, which remain publicly available, advertise an annual rent of £103,000 (which, incidentally, puts into perspective the ludicrous demands on the property being vacated by Spuntino in Soho.)
Wild Honey, for which Demetre said he’d received “a couple of decent offers” in Februrary, opened in 2007, a year before the Great Recession and before London’s modern restaurant boom. Though it was some way short of the informal class of restaurants which would go on to define a new age of fine-dining — inspired, in part, by bistronomy in Paris — it did mark a distinct departure from the fusty, comparatively inaccessible way of old. It is not known what Demetre and the Wild Honey team will do next.
Lake, who was executive head chef at the world-famous, pioneering Fat Duck between 2009 and 2018, took charge when it was the so-called “best restaurant in the world.” Bal had been head sommelier for the group for over twelve years; in 2009 he acquired prestigious status of master sommelier.
More soon on the name and timeline for Lake and Bal’s London debut.
Update: Both parties associated with this story officially deny that Jonny Lake and Isa Bal will open a new restaurant on the former site of Wild Honey in Mayfair.