Black Axe Mangal, one of London’s essential restaurants before the COVID-19 pandemic and one of its most singular too, has announced its return in typically enigmatic fashion after being closed since March 2020. Although Google lists the restaurant as “permanently closed,” head chef and co-owner Lee Tiernan confirmed it will reopen at the site it has occupied on Highbury Corner since 2015.
On 27 July, Tiernan who runs the restaurant with his wife and co-owner Kate Tiernan posted a photo of the “Love Symbol” — by which the Artist Formerly Known as Prince identified themselves after 1993 — drawn in red lipstick with the caption: RESTAURANT FORMALLY KNOWN AS BLACK AXE MANGAL OPENING SOON #2021 ☮️ .
When approached by Eater, Tiernan confirmed that the restaurant will now go by the name Restaurant Formerly Known as Black Axe Mangal, or simply FKABAM. He said simply that the new iteration would be “same, same, but different.”
Tiernan is also now seeking to employ chefs and front-of-house staff for the reopening. He will not commit to a reopening timeline and will continue to do things “his way,” he said.
The restaurant has been in hibernation since last year — the tiny dining room was one of the very first in town to close ahead of the mandated closure of hospitality on 16 March 2020 — breaking only for a clutch of coveted delivery boxes in partnership with platform Big Night and long-time sponsor/whisky provider/football kit labeller Jameson. Sponsored partnerships with Welsh Lamb, camping brand Yeti, and Tabasco suggest one element of its financial hibernation strategy.
Check back soon for further details on the Tiernans’s plans for FKABAM.