LUCA del Bono has been busy ever since he exited Quintessentially, the concierge service he started with Ben Elliot, to start his property fund Del Bono & Partners.
The leisure-focused fund has bought £150m-worth of property over the last two years, recently acquiring the C London restaurant in Mayfair and 50 St James’s, where del Bono is in talks with Westminster Council about converting the Grade II-listed building into a private club, hotel, restaurant and spa. “The building is host to four floors of endless possibilities,” said a source close to Project Opus.
Next on the list, however, is a Russian restaurant conveniently located for the oligarch tenants of Nick Candy’s One Hyde Park development. Originally due to open in November, Mari Vanna will open for business at 116 Knightsbridge next month as a partnership with Dmitry Sergeyev and Vadim Lapin of Ginza Project.
It is the Russian leisure group’s first opening in London, so expect the “homely” venue to corner the market in borsch, potato pancakes and cod liver pâté.
No doubt Ukrainian tycoon Rinat Akhmetov will be first in line to try the Galubtzi, a speciality of his home country otherwise known as cabbage leaves with spiced lamb and rice.
MAKING IT IN CHELSEA
THERE are sound business reasons for appearing on the reality show Made in Chelsea says entrepreneur Amber Atherton (right), whose online jewellery boutique Myflashtrash.com has received financial backing from a string of American investors.
New York-based fund manager Jeff Lo of Falcon Management and former Goldman Sachs trader Jihan Bowes-Little are among the private investors supporting the cult jewellery vendor, which has enlisted Miami’s Farin Innovations to build its new website ahead of the site’s relaunch next month. You read it here first.
COMING FULL CIRCLE
WHAT goes around, comes around. Just ask Pizza Express founder Peter Boizot, whose current venture Soho Pizzeria on Beak Street has been bought by Gondola Group, the latest owner of the Pizza Express chain started by Boizot back in 1965.
The deal is a nice early birthday present for Boizot, who celebrates his 82nd birthday this month.
Not least because Gondola paid a “substantial premium” to get its paws on the Soho institution, as part of chairman Chris Woodhouse’s ambitious expansion plans for the value dining empire that also controls Zizzi and ASK.
NO TENTS, just sleeping bags and cardboard for the City firms who will tonight sleep rough in aid of homeless charity Centrepoint at Exchange Square near Liverpool Street.
Drivers Jonas Deloitte partner Jon Milward and Taylor Wimpey’s land and planning director Pete Andrew are among the 650 people taking part in the annual Sleep Out event. Night-time temperatures, at the time of writing, are forecast to be 11 degrees centigrade.
CONGRATULATIONS to City A.M. reader Kate Green of RBS, who took home the artwork Chinese Doll by Jane Bond on Tuesday night as the winner of a competition to mark the start of ING’s art exhibition at The Mall Galleries.
The ING Discerning Eye Exhibition, which shows small works independently selected by artists, collectors and critics including Cable & Wireless Worldwide’s chairman John Pluthero, runs from today until 21 November. Admission is free, 10am to 5pm daily.