Prolific, millionaire restaurateur Richard Caring’s Caprice Holdings will open a branch of the Ivy Asia on the former site of Jamie Oliver’s steak restaurant Barbecoa this autumn. Bloomberg’s Richard Vines tweeted a photograph of the vinyls covering the site’s windows yesterday. It confirms reports that Caring was taking over the site in July.
It will be a second Ivy Asia — a brand which debuted in Manchester last year — for Caprice, a restaurant group synonymous with some of the biggest-money, celebrity-endorsed venues in London: Sexy Fish, 34 Mayfair, Balthazar, Brasserie of Light, J Sheekey, Harry’s Bar, and Annabel’s. But it is the original Ivy, on West Street in Covent Garden, that’s inspired Caring’s trend-defying, successful foray into the world of casual dining. Iterated as “Market Grills”, “Gardens”, “Brasseries”, and “Cafes”, the Ivy’s offshoots have enjoyed great success nationwide since its roll-out five years ago.
The Ivy’s connection to Asia in Manchester is little more than a cynical expansion into the realm of zeitgeisty and lucrative ingredients and aesthetics — raw fish, grilled things, citrus, geisha iconography, and plush fabrics. According to the website, “Spinningfields [Manchester] Senior Head Chef... enjoys working with Asian ingredients, produce and flavours following extensive travels across the continent. From trips to Cambodia and Vietnam, to sampling produce at Tsukiji fish market in Tokyo,” it reveals.
Oliver’s Barbecoa closed in May, when his restaurant group collapsed. It had survived closure in early 2018 when the celebrity chef’s group was trimmed as part of a rescue deal. His parent company bought it out of administration, allowing its sister site, Barbecoa on Piccadilly, to close.
The restaurant is expected to open in the next two months.