LBS alumnus starts second restaurant venture

1700Merchants Tavern opens today

Merchants Tavern, the collaboration between Canteen founder Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton, Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick, opens today.

Dominic Lake, Co-founder and London Business School alumnus, says: “The Merchants tavern will be one of London’s best restaurants; easy and relaxed in style yet crafted and skilled in the kitchen. It is a modern restaurant where food and service is king and the environment is cosy and warm.”

Housed in a Victorian warehouse and former apothecary at 36 Charlotte Street in the heart of Shoreditch, the 130 cover restaurant, bar and private dining room is an update on the classic tavern and takes its name from Neil’s belief that chefs are ‘merchants of good fortune’, using their skill and craft to create delicious food for their patrons; a belief instilled in him during his tenure as sous chef for Michel Bras.

“The food will be skilled yet honest; we will source the best cuts of meat, the finest seafood and excellent vegetables, leaves and fruit - though without that skill, care and attention they cannot shine. Even lesser utilised ingredients can be inspiring when approached this way,” says Borthwick.

Neil and Angela have created a Modern European menu directed by seasonality. Starters such as Roast Quail, Hazelnut Pesto, Remoulade and Foie Gras (£9.00); Salt Cod Cream, Pickled Fennel and Toast (£8.00); and Hogget Broth, Pearl Barley and Berkswell Toast (£9.00).

Main courses will include Roast Venison Loin, Braised Red Cabbage and Parsnip Purée (£21.50); Roast Turbot, Coco Beans, Anchovies & Bread Sauce (£18.00); Mallard, Braised Endive & Sarladaise Potatoes (£21.00). Finally, the dessert menu features London Honey Tart, Malt Whisky Cream and Crème Fraîche (£7.00); Manjari Chocolate Pavé, Orange & Kumquat Salad (£7.00); Rum Baba, Caramelised Apples & Raisins (£6.00).

Speaking ahead of the launch, Dominic Lake looked back on the secrets to his success as a restauranter: “After graduating from London Business School I knew I wanted to be part of a team building a restaurant business. At the time I had no idea how valuable the tools I learned at London Business School would be, but after having raised significant funds in debt and equity to fund the launch of our original business Canteen and more recently our new venture, the Merchants Tavern along with Angel Hartnett, I am seeing how transformational the MBA experience can really be.”

Merchants Tavern is designed by Hackney based design studio Very Good and Proper. Aesthetically referencing the great design period of the late 1950s and early 1960s, there is a simplicity to things; leather, hardwood and natural materials - ‘Madmen’ meets Victoriana.

New appointments for the restaurant include Thomas Blythe, formerly general manager of St. John and Fino, and Tania Marie-Davey previously restaurant manager of St. John Hotel and Fifteen.

Merchants Tavern opens on 8 October 2013 and will accommodate both reservations and walk-ins.