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Crushed, Chef Phil Howard Renames New Pasta Restaurant Following ‘Legal Issue’

Initially called Otto, Howard has renamed his Piccadilly restaurant Notto after “clash” with existing business called Otto’s

Ascot Chase Race Day - Portraits - chef Phil Howard
Chef Phil Howard.
Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images for Ascot Racecourse

Chef Phil Howard of Elystan Street fame has announced that his forthcoming pasta restaurant on Piccadilly in central London will not be called Otto, but Notto. The change has been made due to a “legal issue” with an unnamed “existing business” which has a “similar name.”

A statement released on behalf of Howard said the chef “has addressed a legal issue swiftly and amended the name of his new outpost.” Notto is an evolution of a pasta delivery brand started with operator Julian Dyer in April 2021 is slated to open early in November.

Howard who is best known in London for his 25-year run as chef-owner at two-Michelin-starred restaurant the Square in Mayfair, said he had “no desire or intention to clash with an existing business with a similar name” and that he “took the quick decision to evolve our own identity to NOTTO — clearly retaining our root identity whilst eliminating any confusion,” Howard said.

Although Howard, through his representatives, did not immediately elaborate on the “legal issue” and did not say which restaurant name Otto was in conflict with, Eater London has learned the dispute was with “Otto’s”, Otto Tepasse’s old-school French restaurant known for its canard a la presse on Gray’s Inn Road (not “Otto,” the Turkish restaurant in Wanstead.)

Tepasse told Eater London via email that “Otto’s in trademarked.”

Otto to Notto is the third recent legal dispute in the London restaurant world after Frog Bakery became Toad following legal threats from Frog by Adam Handling chef Adam Handing; and, more recently the as-yet-unresolved threat issued to Sonora Taqueria from Taqueria Worldwide.