Update: Tuesday 4 May 2021, 5:01 p.m. : This story has been updated with further menu details.
Eater has learnt that JKS Restaurants — the owners a suite of prized London restaurants, including Mayfair’s Michelin-starred and celebrity adored Gymkhana — will add to its portfolio this summer with an high-end project on North Audley Street, just south of Oxford Street in central London.
The restaurant will be called Bibi and will open at 42 North Audley Street, close to the former American Embassy, in the heart of Mayfair. The scheduled opening date is June, with Sharma putting the call out for positions on Instagram last month. Bibi will open on the former site of French cafe-restaurant Truc Vert, which closed in 2017 owing to a “rent increase and rising costs,” the restaurant said on Twitter at the time.
Chef Chet Sharma, a talented and respected long time JKS collaborator and founder of (now defunct) restaurant consultancy the Mad Hatter, will lead the project which has been delayed by over a year as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. He said that “BiBi, a term of endearment for grandmothers across India, will draw inspiration from recipes learnt during my travels across the subcontinent, refreshed with the skills I’ve learned working across some of Europe’s best restaurants. We will be recreating the flavours of my heritage, using the very best produce around.”
It is understood that the cooking will be rooted in South Asian traditions and flavour profiles but will apply the principles of Modern Indian cuisine so well established in the wealthy and upmarket Mayfair environs. As well as sister restaurant Gymkhana, the area has over the years seen immense success for the likes of Benares, Jamavar, and (now closed) Indian Accent. Here, dishes like Gondhoraj scallop, which pairs the shellfish with a hybrid citrus native to Bengal and related to the makrut lime; a lobster claw vada pav; and a dessert of Kashmiri walnut with Pondicherry cocoa, will hope to emulate that success.
Chef Mark Birchall of two-Michelin-starred Lancashire restaurant and former Sharma colleague, teased the opening of Bibi in an interview with the restaurant trade publication CODE Hospitality in early February, saying he was looking forward to “Chet Sharma’s new restaurant Bibi/Loha at 42 North Audley St in London which is scheduled to open in June.”
JKS’s chief executive Jyotin Sethi told Eater in January that “three or four” restaurant openings had been pushed into 2021 owing to the industry wide closures and disruption caused by the pandemic in 2020.
This is one of those, while Eater understands JKS will be announcing other major new plans for 2021 and beyond in the coming weeks.