Acclaimed chef Peter Sanchez-Iglesias now has a name and menu for his debut London restaurant at The Standard in King’s Cross. Decimo, which promises inspiration from both Spanish and Mexican traditions — if not the global mechanisms of conquest and indentured labour by which they became intertwined — will open on 10 October 2019.
Sanchez-Iglesias entrusts one of his key staff from Michelin-starred Bristol restaurants Casamia and Paco Tapas with the kitchen: Josh Green, development chef and head of the test kitchen at Casamia. A para picar section of the a la carte menu promises the familiar — manzanilla olives; fried almonds; a quesadilla made with manchego is the first hint of the sideways glances at Mexican cuisine. Shellfish on ice and aguachiles, including London’s favourite scarlet prawn, the carabinero, lead into a concise taco selection and what is set to be the most photographed dish of the lot: a runny-centred Spanish tortilla, topped with caviar. Starting at £40, it could be a successor to Tom Kerridge’s lobster omelette thermidor as the most-ordered #invite dish of 2019. That’s for 25g of caviar — 50g of caviar, and diners are looking at a £75 snack. That said: potatoes, onions, yolk, caviar — sounds good for a blowout.
The centre of the restaurant will be the grill, blistering quails to go with a mole glaze; rib of beef; XL langoustines; lamb chops; lobster. A broad definition of salad includes an homage to Caesar Cardini, whose eponymous salad started life in Tijuana and here will be prepared tableside; lettuce and herbs; marinated tomatoes; and a mushroom paella. Hot salad. Don’t knock it. A drinks menu of Spanish and Latin American wines will be joined a range of rare mezcals and agave-based spirits, with Niki Nakazawa, a former Noma Mexico collaborator, in support.
The restaurant itself is described as “strikingly designed,” and will seat 114 covers in a room encircled by floor to ceiling windows. Diners will head straight to the 10th floor from the red elevator on the outside of the building, with interiors by Shawn Hausman, who has designed extensively for the hotel group. Both restaurants are overseen — to what extent is not clear — from afar by Angela Dimayuga, the Standard’s global creative director and world-class chef and talent. Sanchez-Iglesias, whose title is executive chef, said:
Decimo is all about bringing Spanish and Mexican food together. The combination of my Spanish roots combined with my research and fascination with Mexico, where I was massively inspired by the completely new, yet familiar flavours. This sparked the concept of bringing Mexican influence and technique into our favourite cuisine - Spanish, and showcasing fantastic British produce to execute the menu alongside some of the most renowned artisan drinks producers in Spain and Mexico.
Sanchez-Iglesias joins Adam Rawson, who has already opened Isla and Double Standard at the hotel, at what is probably the most contemporary / hip / now — delete as desired — example of London’s hotel restaurant scene, which looks to nudge aspic prestige into something a little more in step with how the city is dining at large. Okay, absolutely no-one in the city is putting 50g of caviar on a tortilla on a roof, but the cooking methods, grill, and influences here feel like a restaurant that would open outside a hotel, which is very much not the norm just yet. Between The Standard; Tom Kerridge at Corinthia London and its work with Michael Sager and Marcis Dzelzainis; Marcus Samuelsson’s Red Rooster at The Curtain in Shoreditch, and Da Terra at The Town Hall Hotel in Bethnal Green, hotel restaurant 2.0 — and its lurid coloured, bespoke cocktailed, effortlessly stylised, meticulously renegade kaleidoscope that has already entranced New York and Los Angeles — is slowly exerting more and more influence on a scene previously defined by Marcus Wareing, Gordon Ramsay, Pierre Koffmann, and foams. Between the two sit Kerridge and Daniel Humm’s coming opening at Claridge’s — trading in a newer kind of prestige than the old boys, but one whose respective TV deals and World’s 50 Best renown are on the establishment side of progress. Decimo is in the new school, but it’s shooting for that rubber stamp of renown, too.
Decimo at The Standard London, 10 Argyle Street, WC1H 8EG
Open 10 October.