THE PATH from the City to the foodie industry is well-trodden, and the latest epicurean hangout to get the City-treatment is the Villandry.
A consortium of well-known investors took stakes in the restaurant chain back in May 2011 and they’ll be raising a glass to its newest outpost, in St James’s, tomorrow – for the invite-only soft launch.
The roll call of investors goes a little something like this: Lord Mervyn Davies, former minister of state for trade, investment and small business and ex-chief executive of Standard Chartered; Sir Roger Carr, outgoing chairman of Centrica; Russell Chambers, senior advisor of Credit Suisse and the man dubbed “Tony Blair’s favourite banker” and Roland Rudd, founder of RLM Finsbury.
The sale, worth £2m, was lead by former Le Pain Quotidien director (and Rudd’s brother-in-law) Philippe Le Roux. Le Roux bought it from ex-lawyer, turned restaurateur Jamie Barber (see a pattern emerging?). Villandry now has venues in Great Portland Street, Bicester Village and St James’s.
“The sites have all been completely refurbished, we’re going for a French Brasserie-style – nice surroundings and good value, with a fantastic wine list,” Rudd, who has a seven per cent stake, told The Capitalist.
And it sounds like a certain trade body could benefit from its proximity to one of the revamped restaurants.
“The St James’s venue is round the corner from the IoD and has two lovely private dining rooms which will be showing Champions League matches,” Rudd added.