Restaurant group in-a-hurry MJMK is set to open a Cuban-inspired bar this summer, joining Bar Bolivar, its Canary Wharf bar, in “paying homage to Havana.” La Rampa is the nickname for Calle 23, a street in the Vedado district of the city.
MJMK has confirmed that the bar will open on Market Place, just off Oxford Street, on the former site of Rapper Nas’s American fried chicken and waffle group, Sweet Chick, which closed at 7 — 8 Market Place last year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to an advert posted to Caterer Jobs, drinks will be developed by Marcis Dzelzainis, former cocktail developer at East End wine bar group Sager and Wilde and menu designer at some of the city’s most exciting cocktail bars, with an expected focus on rum. Food, meanwhile, is set to be overseen by Zijun Meng and Ana Gonçalves of Tātā Eatery, who, after running some of London’s most coveted residencies and creating the city’s most famous sandwich, most recently worked with Taiwanese-inspired Mr Ji on a menu of drinking food that currently makes it one of the most exciting new places to eat in London. Tātā Eatery confirmed the involvement, which the advert describes as “taking influence from the entire Central American region and focusing on small plates to be shared and eaten without knives and forks,” by saying simply to “expect some banging sandwiches.”
MJMK, alias of Jake Kasumov and Marco Mendes, owns piri piri chicken hit Casa do Frango and Santiago Lastra’s acclaimed Mexican restaurant Kol, is also in talks with AngloThai’s John Chantarasak about a “mid-premium” Thai restaurant, potentially to be called Chalawan and to open in central London, also thought to be in the vicinity of Oxford Street. Where Casa do Frango is in part inspired by Mendes’ upbringing in Portugal’s Algarve, this bar, and Bar Bolivar, take reference points from Kasumov’s childhood in Havana. Its speed of business shows that with the rental market favourable to the groups that can afford it, the opening cycle in the city looks likely to focus around consolidation, with the likes of Barrafina’s Harts Group and Gymkhana owners JKS also making moves as indoor dining’s return approaches.
More soon on La Rampa.