2015 is proving to be a busy old year for Mark Sargeant. Just weeks after his appointment as Chef Director at The Strand Dining Rooms was announced, comes news that the chef and restaurateur is in the last stages of opening a restaurant in Soho. Morden & Lea is described as a modern brasserie, named after 17th century cartographer Robert Morden and Philip Lea, who were the first to map out the area now known as Soho. The head chef will be Daniel Mertl (ex-Chez Bruce, The Savoy and Le Gavroche). They'll be taking over the site where Chuen Cheng Ku used to be.
Sargeant, for those of you who don't know his work, spent 13 years working alongside Gordon Ramsay - seven of those as head chef at Claridge’s. He's also responsible for two restaurants in his native Kent - Rocksalt and The Smokehouse. This will be his first central London restaurant launch.
Downstairs at the new Soho restaurant will be a more casual, walk-ins only space with room for 62 diners - think bar snacks and charcuteries or small meals. Dishes on the menu we've seen include Mackerel with red onion, capers & parsley, seafood sausage roll, a range of tartines and pissaladiere. There'll be a wine list of Old World and European wines, a short cocktail menu, as well as a selection of craft beers and Redchurch Pale Ale on tap.
The upstairs dining room sounds like an altogether more refined space and also features a cocktail bar and private dining room. Here you'll get a fixed priced brasserie-style dinner menu (£35 per person) as well a set lunch menu. There might be mains like Roast Goosnargh duck with garlic potatoes, roast peach, broccoli, almonds & chilli or Grilled Cornish mullet with spelt, mussels & bok choy. For desserts there's a heavenly-sounding Pressed Oakchurch Farm strawberries with brillat savarin chantilly & pistachio crumble, Set milk chocolate with hazelnuts, milk sorbet & coffee sherbet and Sargeant has brought over the Gypsy Tart which we first tasted at his King's Cross restaurant Plum and Spilt Milk.
Mark Sargeant said he was "extremely excited to be working on my first official central London restaurant. Having been involved with the project from the outset, it’s great to see it finally coming together.”
Morden & Lea will open in June 2015 at 17 Wardour Street, London W1D 6PJ. Opening hours will be lunch and dinner Monday – Saturday. Downstairs will be open 11am until late, Monday to Saturday. Follow them on Twitter @MordenAndLea
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