Celebrated Valencian chef and author of rice “treaty”, Arroces Contemporáneos, Quique Dacosta has confirmed that he will open his first restaurant outside of his native Spain — Arroz QD — on Eastcastle Street in London’s Fitzrovia, on 7 June this year.
Described as a “collaborative project” it will “showcase Quique’s unique style of cooking while highlighting his passion for rice as well as premium, local and seasonal ingredients.” The restaurant will have paella at its core and Dacosta wants to fine-diningify the dishes of Spain’s east coast for an international audience.
“I am excited to bring part of our tradition and gastronomy to one of the most important capitals of the world,” Dacosta said. “Paella is one of the best-known dishes around yet also one of the most mistreated — with this project, I am materialising a passion I have been nurturing for decades: to reinstate the rice culture from the eastern coast of Spain to its rightful home.”
The classic, Paella Valenciana, will include rabbit chop, chicken and butter beans, cooked over a wood fire, while a selection of different timbers will be used “to complement each dish.” More “contemporary” rice dishes will seek to incorporate “premium and seasonal” U.K. ingredients: such as “chapas” with smoked Welsh duck breast, morel, black trompettes, and porcini aioli. All rice dishes will be designed to share, “evoking a sense of familial ritual, comfort and tradition that Quique credits to rice dishes from around the world.”
Head chef Richard De La Cruz will take charge of the two-floor “sophisticated yet relaxed” 140-cover restaurant, which includes four distinct areas: in addition to the main dining room, a lounge with bar seating, “a more immersive” chef’s paella counter, and a chef’s table.
Through Arroz QD, Dacosta says he is trying to “challenge preconceptions and restore Valencia’s rice culture.” By “bringing our tradition and gastronomy to one of the main capitals in the world, both generally and gastronomically, is an exercise of commitment and responsibility which fills me with excitement,” he said.
Over thirty years, Dacosta has earned a global reputation for, according to press materials released today, “his artistic expression in the kitchen and for being a pioneer of avant-garde cuisine.” His flagship restaurant in Denia, the Quique Dacosta Restaurant, has held three Michelin stars since 2013, and is a mainstay on the World’s 50 Best long list (that index’s top 100.) Dacosta’s portfolio also includes El Poblet, a one Michelin-starred restaurant in Valencia city, MercatBar, Vuelve Carolina, and his most recent opening, Llisa Negra.