Chef Marco Pierre White, the one-time patron of seminal two-Michelin-starred British restaurant Harvey’s in Wandsworth, is latterly better known for advertising Knorr stock cubes and opining on the suitability of women for professional kitchen environments. Now, he is opening a gigantic restaurant in Leicester Square — the heart of London’s tourist centre.
According to Big Hospitality, Mr White’s will have “British heritage at its heart” with a menu featuring steaks, grills, and chops. But that menu will also offer pizzas (because it’s in the heart of tourist town) and serve a range of gins (because gin is another commercial game White got into earlier this year.)
The vast four-storey site will sit next-door to the Odeon cinema, in what could be classed as the centre of central London. It is scheduled to open in October. and it hopes to be a money-magnet. “Opportunities like this are very rare so we had to act fast and are delighted to have got the deal over the line,” said Nick Taplin, chairman and chief executive of Black and White Hospitality — Pierre White’s restaurant group.
“Around 2.5 million people visit Leicester Square every week so is one of the capital’s busiest places [...] That level of footfall therefore makes this new venue a very exciting proposition and we can’t wait to open.
“Mr White’s is the perfect fit for Leicester Square [...] It was an easy decision...”
Just as his old foe effing chef Ramsay is on a restaurant opening rampage, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented White with fresh commercial opportunities in central London — albeit through a project so far removed from the cooking on which he first earned his stellar reputation. Still, its viability suggests that while London’s restaurant world no longer sees the likes of Ramsay and White as its final frontier, the city is far from moving past the monetisation of their legacy into cynical diffusion lines.