AS FOODIES despair of Brick Lane and Spitalfields and its street food goes the way of so much that is good about London, a promising new culinary centre has opened not far away. The Grade II listed Georgian-brick Old Bengal Warehouse at 16a New Street, Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4TR, said to be one of the East India Company’s oldest surviving buildings, is to house a British grill restaurant alongside a cocktail bar, a fish restaurant and a specialist wine shop.
The term “grill restaurant” may have horrible connotations of the bland dining rooms resorted to during provincial expense-account trips but the complex is being set up by D and D London, a company connected to designer-entrepreneur Sir Terence Conran, who gave Hackneyites the Albion Café and adjacent Boundary Restaurant down the Ditch at E2 7DD.
New Street Grill will try to be a modern interpretation of the British grill restaurant (that phrase again), offering what publicists for the joint call “superior steaks” (when did anyone demand an inferior steak?) and other meat dishes, as well as fish. The restaurant says it will showcase British produce. With Conran’s involvement, the wines list should be good.
Alongside New Street Grill will be the Old Bengal Bar, all exposed brick work and mirrored walls, where customers will be able to see how wonderfully affluent they look as they await the latest cocktails creation of mixologist Milos Popovic.
If self-admiration wearies, punters can always turn their gaze to the Hoxton Art Gallery-commissioned pieces around the building, including two large oil paintings by someone called Nadine Mahoney, based on 18th-century portraits of East India Company officers. An evocative concept.
Also in the building will be the Fish Market, which will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, including cockles and whelks and other English dishes. The seafood bar will offer a selection of platters alongside an extensive selection of English wines (another dread phrase).
Table staff almost certainly command: “Enjoy!”
* The venues are at 16a New Street, Bishopsgate, London EC2M 4TR. Wheelchair access is good and the venues have suitable toilets.