Le Pont de la Tour closed on 2nd August for a major makeover and will reopen in late September with new head chef, Frederick Forster, at the helm. Former Roux scholarship winner, Frederick, who joins from The Boundary Restaurant and Rooftop in Shoreditch, will be creating new menus for the bar and restaurant with Francophiles in mind. Russell Sage Studio will oversee the redesign.
Frederick trained with Pierre Gagnaire and worked at several high profile UK restaurants including The Ritz, Le Gavroche, L’ Aubergine, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons and The Savoy. His culinary motto is ‘less is more’ and he will draw inspiration from classic French cuisine with unexpected but thoughtful twists. Dishes will be clean, light and vibrant, highlighting the freshness and provenance of British produce cooked simply and elegantly. Delicately Roasted Orkney scallops, will be off-set in colour and bitterness by violet artichokes, while earthy flavours will be explored in a Golden beetroot, turnip and wild wood sorrel starter, cut through with sweet pears and cobnuts to add texture. From the mains, a lightly Poached Turbot dish will be accompanied by leeks and cauliflower, brought together with a silky crab sauce, adding colour and sweetness.
The wine list will be developed around legendary maisons with a focus on France, Italy and California. Dedicated to high-quality wines, the list will also introduce a selection of acclaimed great-value stars. To celebrate Le Pont de La Tour’s legacy upon re-opening, for a month the restaurant will also be offering a selection of renowned wines priced as they were in 1991 – when Le Pont first opened its doors – including 1978 Jean-Louis Chave, Crozes-Hermitage; 1983 Château Palmer, 3ème Cru Classé; and 1990 Barbaresco, Bruno Giacosa ‘Riserva’.
In the new bar, those who prefer something less formal will find an exciting menu of hors d’oeuvres and sharing plates, including Roasted quail, with Asian flavours of spring onion, chilli and lime, and Pan-Bagnat, a speciality sandwich from the Nice region, served with vegetables and warm goat’s cheese. The signature bar cocktails will celebrate the best of France, with a section inspired by Provençal flavours, and the best of London. The ‘Shad Thames’ concoctions will be infused with spices based on those stored in the Butler’s Wharf warehouses in Victorian times, including vanilla, ginger and coriander. The new bar will also play host to an exciting programme of live music, from Thursday to Saturday. The acoustic music sets will feature classic tunes as well as original tracks, with a jazzy yet contemporary style.
Russell Sage Studio’s new interiors will be darker, sleeker and more vivid. Inspired by the French cruise liner SS Normandie, the décor will feature a nautical element throughout. Erté wallpaper and an opulent gold patterned ceiling will evoke roaring twenties glamour, when the Normandie was first conceived, further emphasised by art déco upholstery and furniture. Deep red and green colourings in the restaurant and bar, respectively, will be balanced by softer and more modern grey banquette seating, to give the restaurant and bar a refined yet contemporary feel. The revamped terrace will be split into two distinct areas: a stylish, chill out lounge bar and an outdoor dining space for the restaurant, both of which will be heated and open all year round. A refreshed wine cellar and a food store with a new look complete the changes.
D&D London CEO, Des Gunewardena, comments: “A word like iconic can be over-used but Le Pont de la Tour has truly been an iconic restaurant and has played a huge role in the London dining scene, for over two decades. What we are doing now is re-inventing the space to bring it bang up-to-date with a talented new chef and a fresh approach to the wine and the bar, while staying true to Le Pont de la Tour’s heritage. When you walk through the door when we re-open in September, the first thing you will notice is Le Pont de la Tour’s very new look – expect a darker, stylish design but which again pays homage to the restaurant’s design history and its fantastic riverside location”.
Le Pont de la Tour
Butlers Wharf Buildings, 36 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YE