One London’s favourite chefs without a restaurant, Anna Tobias has joined forces with one of the capital’s essential restaurants, 40 Maltby Street: together, they will open a new restaurant and wine bar called Cafe Deco on Store Street, Bloomsbury in the coming months. It enters a space formerly occupied by a greasy spoon-cafe by the same name.
News that Tobias would formally link up with Rafe Hodgson’s 40 Maltby Street team comes after a long association with the two parties. Tobias has cooked with head chef Stephen Williams on a number of occasions since she left Rochelle Canteen in 2017. Since then, she also took control of P. Franco’s famous induction hobs in Clapton in the period between 2018 and 2019.
Tobias comes from one of Britain’s richest culinary traditions, counting Jeremy Lee, Margot Henderson, and Ruth Rogers as former employers — at the Blueprint Cafe, Rochelle Canteen, and River Cafe, respectively.
40 Maltby Street, in Bermondsey, is a favourite among a number of London’s most innovative chefs — cited in the past by Lyle’s James Lowe, Polpetto’s Florence Knight, and the Ledbury’s Brett Graham. Moreover, and while the likes of P. Franco are best known for foregrounding natural wine and its associated culture, 40 Maltby Street a spin-off from Gergovie Wines, has played an enormous part in the creation of a London template for the neo-bistro. Its weekly changing blackboard menu is one London’s most beguiling and thrilling lists of dishes in the city.
London can look forward therefore to forward-looking wine lists and a laid-back approach to service, while Tobias, a great admirer of the likes of Jane Grigson and Elizabeth David, will be looking to develop traditional and comparatively untrendy menus with the best available seasonal produce.