A huge, ambitious new restaurant and bar at least two years in-the-making will open the day hospitality businesses are permitted to reopen (outdoors) after the coronavirus lockdown, which has kept them closed for all but takeaway and delivery since before Christmas last year. The Light Bar at 233 Shoreditch High Street will open on 12 April for outdoor dining, with bookings being taken now for the dining room and mezzanine bar from 17 May.
It marks a significant reopening for the premises — an iconic nightlife venue in the 2000s — which closed 2014, having fended off the threat of demolition via the celebrity backed #savethelight campaign in 2012. Those reinventing what was originally a Victorian power station, built in 1893, are Morten Jensen, Darren Collins and chef Johnnie Collins; according to the website, the “epic” venue was “one of the places that made Shoreditch what it is famous for today.” In its new iteration: “A modern British bar and restaurant focused on local produce, seasonal drinks and three floors of good times.”
It will comprise four discrete spaces: In addition to the outdoor terrace opening next month, later there will be the “Engine Hall” — the main ground floor bar and restaurant, from which the mezzanine level, “Copper” cocktail bar can be accessed by, which itself leads to the top-floor “Timber Loft.” The latter, a dining area and events space, promises original exposed beams and skylight windows and will open in June when all coronavirus restrictions are currently meant to be eased. Copper light fixtures with exposed filament lamps, marble bar counters, mid-century furniture and lush planting “all combine to soften and elevate the original features with warmth and richness.”
While the interior appears inspired by late nineties New York City and early 2000s industrial London lofts, the Light Bar say it will “offer modern British cooking, relaxed drinks, and a welcoming atmosphere.”
Dishes will seek to integrate “locally sourced” ingredients with fruit and vegetables harvested from chef Collins’ (pictured above) Warwickshire allotment. Dishes like grilled asparagus with leaves from Stepney City farm and lovage dressing or Devon crab cappelletti, with crown crab butter. Elsewhere, the voguish Swaledale chicken will be roasted and served with curry sauce, perhaps to sit alongside a short rib beef bun or sourdough flatbread with desiree potatoes, Ogleshield cheese, and wild garlic.
Collins will make in-house bread, butter, fresh pasta, pickles, ferments, and cultures; and in a sign of things to come post-lockdown (*2021 yakitori, arrosticini, spiedini trend-watch*) there will be a dedicated a “skewer” section, priced at £4 a stick: Those set to feature on the opening menu include Swaledale chicken with sesame; monkfish cheeks with curry sauce; pork belly and pickled chilli; or sweet potato with green chilli.