Chef John Javier will bequeath his newish Fitzrovia restaurant to the public, after initially opening it as a no-fee members’ club in February. Javier says that “we always wanted to open to the public at some point,” clearly unable to resist bestowing London with an elite sound system from Berlin audio specialists Martion.
With a new vibe comes a new name, and 17 Little Portland Street will make way for The Tent (at The End of the Universe.) from 17 August. The cuisine will remain focused on tabbouleh and hummus, taramasalata and tahdig, but while Javier was first at pains to be “really careful in paying respect to the traditional techniques and flavors,” he now says that services under his belt have led to a more freewheeling approach.
“At the beginning, we were really trying to be traditional with the cuisine. Now that we’re confident that we can do that, we’re moving to a newer, more exciting direction. We’re having a lot more fun with our offering … I’ll often season with shiro dashi or yuzu kosho and you won’t really notice it but it’s definitely hidden in there.”
Contemporary tokens of glitzy, vibey dining — the carabineiro prawn; the dairy cow; the Iberico pork schnitzel — anchor a menu now more influenced by than devoted to the traditions of the Eastern Mediterranean, with the likes of the hummus, taramasalata, borani, and tzatziki playing supporting roles. When the restaurant first opened, Javier said that “some of the guys [involved in the opening] are Middle Eastern and I thought it would be interesting to do a cuisine that resonated with them. It’s definitely a new challenge for us, but if their grandparents eat at the restaurant and say ‘this is Middle Eastern,’ we’d know we’d have succeeded.”
More soon on whether or not the grandparents have dined.