CELEBRITY RESTAURANTS IN LONDON
Although celebrities have always enjoyed dipping their toe into the restaurant business, the past year or two has seen an explosion in celebrity restaurants in London. Adding to venues from long time players such as Robert De Niro, we’ve had new openings from Usain Bolt, Idris Elba, Ronaldo, and Mark Wahlberg. Here we round up the latest celebrity restaurants in London, along with a couple of golden oldies.
Usain Bolt – Tracks and records
The fastest man on earth already has three Tracks & Records restaurants in Jamaica and in 2018 he opened one in his “second home” of London. Located in Spitalfields, the restaurant serves up Bolt’s favourite dishes like jerk chicken, jerk pork, and fried fish and bammy, with the bar stocking a selection over 150 rums.
The signature T&R cocktails are all on offer as well as a brand new range created exclusively for London. The two-floor site is also be home to plenty of Bolt sporting memorabilia as well as a dancefloor and club, where you can bust a move to reggae and dub DJs. Maybe you’ll even bump into the man himself…
94 Middlesex Street, London, E1 7EZ
Rafa Nadal, Cristiano Ronaldo & Enrique Iglesias – ZELA
Mediterranean-Japanese fusion restaurant Zela, which already has a site in Ibiza and is backed by a load of celebs including Cristiano Ronaldo, Rafa Nadal and Enrique Iglesias, is now in London too. Located in the ME London hotel on The Strand, Zela serves small plates that mix Japanese techniques with produce from the Med, so expect dishes like oxtail gyoza, butter fish with white truffle, scallops with sobrasada, and rice chips with wagyu, burrata and nori. The fusion vibe continues through to the drinks list with cocktails like the Harakiri (made with sake, lime, egg white and shiso syrup).
ME London, The Strand, London WC2R 1HA
David Luiz & Willian – Babbo
Footballers and hospitality have a chequered history: Frank Lampard made a success of his Chelsea pub The Pig’s Ear, and Beckham has scored a hit with Guy Ritchie, but Gary Neville and Ryan Giggs’ Café Football was short lived (in London at least). Two of the latest to try their luck are David Luiz and Willian, who opened Babbo in Mayfair in 2018. The pair are Brazilian but they’ve gone all Italian for the menu, with pastas and other classics at footballer / Mayfair prices. Apparently Rio Ferdinand is a massive fan and several other footballers have stopped by while in town.
39 Albemarle St, Mayfair, London W1S 4JQ
Idris Elba – The Parrot
Idris Elba is keeping himself busy with films, TV, theatre… and his bar at The Waldorf Astoria Hotel, which he opened in 2018. The Parrot is a 60-seat cocktail bar and live music venue with a house band, joined by talent from the West End, performing covers nightly. You can soak all that up with tropical cocktails and small plates created by The Waldorf’s Executive Chef, Karl Richardson.
The Waldorf Hilton Aldwych, WC2B 4DD
Ian McKellen – The Grapes
Located down by the river in Limehouse, The Grapes has history. There’s been a pub on this site since 1583, Charles Dickens was a fan – there’s even a complete set of Dickens in the back parlour for anyone who wants to catch up on their reading – and now the pub is co-owned by Sir Ian McKellen. They’ve got a separate dining area upstairs but we say find a spot in the bar with a pint of ale and a plate of fish & chips.
76 Narrow St, Limehouse, E14 8BP
Guy Ritchie and David Beckham – Lore of the Land
While Guy Ritchie is no stranger to the pub business (he used to own The Punch Bowl in Mayfair), Beckham is a first timer. It seems like their new venture, which saw them launch Lore of the Land in Fitzrovia earlier this year, is going down well already, with a mostly-positive review from Fay Maschler. The beer comes from Ritchie’s own microbrewery on his country farm in Wiltshire and on the food menu there’s the likes of pulled lamb on toast, and tarragon dumplings. They also co-own The Walmer Castle in Notting Hill.
4 Conway Street, London, W1T 6BB
Robert DeNiro – Nobu and The Wellington hotel (coming soon)
Bobby D is probably the most experienced and most successful celebrity operators in the game. He kicked off Nobu in New York in 1994, before opening two outposts in London (as well as several more around the world). He is also a co-owner of the five star Greenwich Hotel in NYC and is opening up The Wellington Hotel in London this year. Taking over six buildings across Wellington, Tavistock, Burleigh and Exeter Streets, including three that are Grade-II listed, the development will have 83 rooms, a spa, two restaurants, a deli and cafe, a members’ club, and a roof terrace, all built around a central courtyard. Very swishy indeed.
Nobu London, 19 Old Park Lane, London, W1K 1LB
Mark Wahlberg – Wahlburgers
A US burger chain coming to London is always big news, but a celebrity-owned burger chain is a whole new level. Yes, the new kid on the block is be Wahlburgers, the US burger chain set up by Mark, Donnie and Paul Wahlberg, which is now open in Covent Garden.
Founded in 2011, the chain has sites in 22 cities and even has its own reality TV show, also called Wahlburgers. Inside there’s all the Wahlberg memorabilia you could wish for (possibly more than you would wish for). Burgers include Mark’s favourite, the Thanksgiving turkey burger, and Donnie’s BBQ bacon, plus sandwiches, salad bowls, tater tots, frappes, floats and beers.
8-9 James St, London, WC2E 8BH
Nas – Sweet Chick (Opening in September)
The celebrity restaurant gravy train is showing no signs of slowing down and now we have another one to add to the A-List. US rapper Nas who is a backer in chicken and waffle restaurant Sweet Chick, is bringing the brand to London, opening up in the old Carluccio’s site on Market Place, just off Oxford Street.
Sweet Chick, which already has sites in Brooklyn, Queens, and LA is known for its southern comfort food particularly the signature fried chicken and waffles. Although the exact London menu is not confirmed yet, some highlights from the menu in New York that we’re looking forward to (hopefully) trying include the pork belly nuggets and the mac and cheese with ritz cracker crust.
8 Market Place, London, W1W 8AG