The owners of JKS Restaurants, one of London’s most dynamic modern restaurant groups, are branching out and moving into the gastropub sector. Propel reports that the group — run by Jyotin, Karam, and Sunaina Sethi — is poised to take over the George on Great Portland Street in Fitzrovia, as well as The Cadogan Arms on the King’s Road in Chelsea. The latter is thought to be at a less advanced stage.
Karam Sethi today told Eater that the group were “working on something,” but that it would not be under the JKS brand: it will be something new entirely.
The JKS portfolio comprises a core, Indian and Sri Lankan restaurant group, owned by the siblings, as well as a suite of restaurants in which the siblings invest. The former includes the game-changing (and currently closed) Gymkhana, its first restaurant — Trishna, two branches of the Sri Lankan and south Indian central London cult-followed Hoppers, and Brigadiers, its mess tavern-like pub-restaurant in the Bloomberg Arcade in the City.
But it’s from the latter pool that the group is thought to be drawing on its talent for the pub projects. Propel reports that the George will be in collaboration with James Knappett, head chef at the two-Michelin-starred Kitchen Table in Fitzrovia. Knappett, together with Sandia Chang, also run the JKS-invested Bubbledogs champagne and hot dog bar in front of Kitchen Table. JKS Restaurants also includes Michelin-starred Lyle’s, Sabor, Flor, Bao (group), XU, and Berenjak: Many of what are widely believed to be London’s best restaurants. The company has a knack for steering trends in central London, too.
It is, therefore, interesting to witness a move on one of the city’s most established traditions. But, through Brigadiers, the most recent opening in the group’s core portfolio (Berenjak, Bao Borough, and Flor have all opened since, in the last two years) the group might have understood first-hand just how a business — in testing times — is able to lean on drinks sales as much as the quality of its food or its brand.
Propel also reports that JKS is lining up what would be its third site, in King’s Cross. Sethi said the group was “looking at” the area for a new restaurant.