The group behind some of the UK’s hottest restaurants are backing a new establishment in London’s West End from one of the country’s leading Spanish chefs.
Nieves Barragan and her business partner José Etura plan to open Sabor in October on Heddon Street, best known as the street where David Bowie posed for the Ziggy Stardust cover. They are backed by JKS Restaurants, whose establishments include Gymkhana, which won the best U.K. restaurant title in the year it opened, and Hoppers, where the wait for a table can be 2 1/2 hours.
Sabor, which means flavour in Spanish, will feature a ground-floor bar and a dining counter surrounding an open kitchen. The menu will feature regional dishes from across Spain, including those from the Basque country and Catalonia. Upstairs, diners at communal tables will eat dishes from Galicia and Castile with a menu centered on roast suckling pig cooked in an asador wood-fired oven and octopus cooked in traditional copper pans with olive oil and paprika.
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Etura said he’s hoping London diners will be willing to eat alongside strangers.
“We like this kind of communal vibe that you get when you are with other people,” Etura said. “Let’s try to have a party every day, especially families on Sundays, and big groups. Why not? It might work. It might not. We want to give it a chance.”
The dining room will seat 35, while the counter and the bar will each seat 20, Nieves said. She and Etura haven’t made a final decision on whether to accept reservations, but it’s likely the downstairs counter will be for walk-ins only.
Barragan, who grew up in Bilbao, was previously group executive chef at Barrafina, a popular tapas restaurant that now has three sites in central London. She is highly respected by fellow chefs for the flavour she extracts from her ingredients, and Barrafina helped raise the profile of Spanish food in the UK.
Etura, who was born in in Valladolid, a city north of Madrid, joined Barrafina as a glass polisher and rose to become operations director.
“I am Basque, and I love food,” Barragan said. “But I couldn’t cook only Basque (cuisine) because I love Catalonia, I love Galicia, I love Madrid. We want this restaurant to be like a journey around Spain.”
Richard Vines, article by chief food critic at Bloomberg.