London Luxury Quarter Insider

Third Issue

ATTRACTING VISITORS FROM AROUND THE GLOBE

2016 has already proved to be an illuminating year for the London Luxury Quarter. The Mayor of London’s Lumiere London campaign from 14-17 January placed some of London’s most iconic destinations in a new light thanks to extraordinary installations from a host of pioneering international artists. Supported by Grosvenor, The Aquarium by French artist Benedetto Bufalino, saw a defunct red phone box in Mayfair become a living aquarium filled with goldfish, and Les Voyageurs, in partnership with The Crown Estate from French artist Cedric Le Borgne, saw human figures appear like guardian angels on buildings in St James’s.

The red and gold shine of Chinese New Year started on 8 February with many Chinese visitors descending on the Capital. British luxury brands were in particular demand and several of our most iconic labels including Mulberry, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood launched limited edition products themed around the ‘Year of the Monkey” and local restaurants such as Hakkasan offered special menus to celebrate. According to Global Blue, Chinese shoppers accounted for 23% of London Luxury Quarter’s tax-free spend last year, making China the top spending nation for the area.

– Mark Henderson, Chairman of London Luxury Quarter

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INTERVIEW WITH THEO RANDALL

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We write our menu daily – Theo Randall talks to Claire Adler

Theo Randall, Chef Patron of Theo Randall at the Intercontinental Hotel Park Lane, re-opened his restaurant in February after a six week closure. Originally opened in 2006, its accolades include Best Dish at the 2014 Tatler Restaurant Awards. An Englishman best known for his Italian food, Randall’s childhood family holidays were spent driving around Italy buying food and wine to take back home. After meeting the owner of South London restaurant Chez Max on his 18th birthday, Randall began a four year apprenticeship. He later earned a Michelin star at the River Cafe, where he was head chef and silent partner. Here, he speaks to Claire Adler about flattering lighting, inquisitive guests and top London Luxury Quarter haunts.

What is your approach to serving food?
I believe in letting the produce do the talking. I love travelling to Italy to be inspired by its simple cuisine, colourful dishes and clean flavours. We practiced the new menu in time for the re-opening, but there are always changes. My food is fresh, seasonal and spontaneous. I find ingredients and then write the menu. That’s why we write our menu daily.

This is quite a formal neighbourhood, but we’re friendly and relaxed. Some guests prefer to be left alone and some need extra attention, for example, if they ask lots of questions. If you make the effort to come out and speak to them personally, you can make friends for life.

What changes have you made to the restaurant?
Going out to eat is more than ever about being seen, so we’ve introduced more flattering lighting. The design, floor and furniture are more welcoming, cosy and open and less corporate. We now have two private dining rooms, instead of one semi private one. New dishes include pasta stuffed with slow cooked pigeon, porcini and Trompette de la Mort mushrooms.

What is the mix of your guests?
95 per cent come from outside the hotel – many are local residents, people staying at The Dorchester or The Four Seasons and local professionals. Some regulars come weekly or twice weekly, often for their favourite dish.

How important is fine dining to the London Luxury Quarter?
Restaurants are phenomenally important to the London Luxury Quarter. Going out to eat is now a night out in itself, a form of entertainment. I’ve seen lots of proposals and break-ups at my restaurants in my time. Valentine’s is the worst night. For too many people, it’s the only time they make the effort to go out to eat, so tensions are running high. At the River Cafe, we had an open kitchen and saw it all – the good and the bad.

What are your favourite London Luxury Quarter haunts?
I love the dim sum at the Chinese restaurant Princess Garden in North Audley Street – it’s always full of Chinese people so you know it’s good. You could never bore of the restaurants in the area. Walking in Green Park and Hyde Park is such a treat.

What is the goal of your weekly Masterclasses?
We have about 20 participants every Saturday and I show them how to make six dishes. Many people have returned with friends to the masterclasses, the restaurant or both and many then host special events in our private dining room or hire out the restaurant for a special occasion.

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PROPERTY SPOTLIGHT

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New International Entrants Boost London Luxury Quarter

London Luxury Quarter remained one of the top destinations for new international entrants last year according to Anthony Selwyn of Savills with 15 brands opening their first London store in the area and a further 11 in the pipeline for 2016. ‘A combination of luxury brand appetite matched by an ever increasing greater depth to the quality locations within the Quarter has led to a number of key deals.’

Notable new entrants in the pipeline include Philipp Plein, who will open at 98 New Bond Street this summer with Nirav Modi taking the former Leviev unit at 31 Old Bond Street. Johnstons of Elgin has recently opened at 77 New Bond Street offering luxurious Scottish cashmere and fine woollens since 1797.

Yet the demand from luxury brands to have a presence in London Luxury Quarter goes beyond Bond Street. The recent trend that has seen brands look to ‘emerging’ retail destinations in the area looks set to continue this year. This summer will also see the opening of Elie Saab’s first London store at 24 Bruton Street with Assos and Smeg opening at St James’s Market, a joint venture development by The Crown Estate and Oxford Properties. But it’s not just new international entrants that will be making London Luxury Quarter home this year. The German accessories brand MCM will be opening their second London store in the former Dior unit at 16 Conduit Street.

The attraction of London Luxury Quarter has not just been restricted to the fashion brands. Alan Yau opened his much anticipated Park Chinois on Berkeley Street at the end of last year, hot on the heels of Richard Caring’s Sexy Fish on Berkeley Square with Dover Street seeing the opening of Casa di Stefano late last year. With The Crown Estate’s redevelopment of St James’s Market expected to bring an additional ten new restaurants to the area, the culinary appeal of the area is set to get even better.

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Opportunities on the up

Dominic Rowe of Michael Elliott commented that ‘this year will see a number of interesting opportunities come to market providing fashion brands and restaurant concepts with some attractive options.  The Dover Street Market property is being marketed on the back of their recent move to Haymarket, with Mallett Antiques’ space also set to come to the market this year.  On Bond Street, the most constrained in terms of availability, Great Portland Estates is expected to start marketing the Bond Street units that form part of its larger Hanover Square Estate development over the coming months with possession late in 2017. Pollen Estate and The Crown Estate are also marketing 14 New Bond Street, a new development‎ which is likely to set a new record rent for the location.

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The lure of London Luxury Quarter to employers continues

St James’s saw its largest office letting since 2001 in December with the US private equity firm, The Carlyle Group taking close to 64,000 sq ft at The Crown Estate / Oxford Properties’ joint venture development, 1 St James’s Market.  The attraction of the area to employers is also reflected in the office rents being achieved with a deal in December 2015 recording the second highest ever office rent in St James’s.  With ‘Building 2’ at St James’s Market expected to complete in the first quarter of 2016 delivering 67,800 sq ft, adding to the 147,000 sq ft that forms part of ‘Building 2’, we anticipate to see more office employers establish a home in London Luxury Quarter.

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LONDON LUXURY QUARTER AS A CULTURAL AND LEISURE HUB

Gastro Delights

New for Brook Street comes Aulis in Fera at Claridges from acclaimed chef Simon Rogan. Fully opened on 7 January, Aulis is both a development kitchen for Fera and also has a very exclusive Fera private dining experience of just six spaces. Offering a front row seat to the ever changing menu, Aulis is managed by Alex Beard, of the Waterside Inn, while Simon Rogan and Fera’s Executive Chef Dan Cox will be overseeing the menu.

For further world cuisine experiences, the stunning rooftop of Brown Hart Gardens is now home to the “Mayfair Market” where almost a dozen traders serve up a variety of authentic world foods open every Wednesday from 11am-4pm.

Art and Culture for 2016

Starting 2016 with gardens in mind is the Royal Academy of Arts with their inaugural exhibition of 2016 – “Painting the modern garden: Monet to Matisse”. Running until 20 April it explores the influence that gardens have exerted on the evolution of art from the 1860s to the 1920s. From 25 February-29 May, the Royal Academy also hosts “The Lines of Time”, a new series of drawings by award-winning abstract sculptor Ann Christopher RA, and “Mavericks: Breaking the Mould of British Architecture”, showcasing 400 years of architectural British history.

White Cube Mason’s Yard is also presenting paintings by leading contemporary Korean artist, Park Seo-Bo, the first solo exhibition of his work in the UK.

Rock Star Art

Geronimo aka Jumping Bull, one of the foremost rock artists of his generation, showcased some of his most iconic work in January at The Club at Café Royal, including his Rolling Stones-influenced legendary ‘tongue’ logo made from flattened Coke cans. At Halcyon Gallery the debut solo exhibition of celebrated British-American Pop artist Russell Young ran from 21 January-14 February. His trademark vividly-coloured, larger-than-life canvases reinterpreted iconic imagery featuring two of popular culture’s most famous faces: catwalk heroine, Kate Moss and screen siren, Marilyn Monroe. Next up from 16 February, contemporary Colombian artist Santiago Montoya, will present ‘Money Talks’, an exploration into currency.

Modern day icon David Beckham was celebrated through an auction of photographs at Phillips on 10 March. ‘David Beckham: The Man’ was a unique public viewing and gala auction in support of 7: The David Beckham UNICEF Fund and Positive View Foundation. Sotheby’s also presented ‘Between the Eyes’ (5 February-24 March) – a selling exhibition of Minimalist and Conceptual art charting their evolution from the 1960s to present day.

Celebrating the community of Mayfair & St James’s

450 guests from among local residents and businesses gathered at The Dorchester Hotel on 26 January to mark the inaugural Community Awards of Mayfair & St James’s organised by the Mayfair Times. Hosted by actor Richard E Grant, the awards recognised the positive contribution both people and organisations have made to local life.

London Luxury Quarter was proud to present St James’ premier barber, Fylaktis Philippou, with the Long Service Award, having served our community for over 60 years. Other notable winners were Emma Willis, Jermyn Street shirt maker, whose charity Style for Soldiers makes bespoke shirts and walking sticks for injured servicemen and women, and Bonham’s Restaurant chef, Tom Kemble, who was awarded a Michelin star in the first year of opening, making Bonham’s the first auction house restaurant in the world to win such an accolade.

Note from the Chairman

2016 has already proved to be a spectacular year for the London Luxury Quarter. The Mayor of London’s Lumiere London campaign from 14-17 January put some of London’s most iconic destinations in a new light thanks to extraordinary installations from a host of pioneering international artists. Supported by Grosvenor Estate, The Aquarium by French artist Benedetto Bufalino saw a defunct red phone box in Mayfair became a living aquarium filled with goldfish, and Les Voyageurs, in partnership with The Crown Estate from French artist Cedric Le Borgne, saw human figures appear like guardian angels on buildings in St James’s.

The red and gold shine of Chinese New Year started on 8 February with many Chinese visitors descending on the Capital. British luxury brands were in particular demand and several of our most iconic labels including Mulberry, Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Vivienne Westwood launched limited edition products themed around the ‘Year of the Monkey” and local restaurants such as Hakkasan offered special menus to celebrate. According to Global Blue, Chinese shoppers accounted for 23% of London Luxury Quarter’s tax-free spend last year, making China the top spending nation for the area.

The next twelve months promises to bring more exciting new developments, cultural and leisure events and new retail openings into the area, attracting visitors from around the globe. We look forward to an exciting and prosperous year ahead.

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