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Ottoman-themed Quince comes to Mayfair

The May Fair Hotel in London will open an Ottoman-inspired restaurant called Quince in June. The menu promises a modern take on Eastern Mediterranean cuisine, the speciality of chef patron Silvena Rowe, a regular on BBC One’s Saturday Kitchen.

Representing two decades of research, the menu is set to feature sharing-style dishes taken from the archives of the Ottoman empire. Speaking to the drinks business last week, Rowe described her cooking style as “something very sexy and alluring”. She explained: “Most chefs are so testosterone driven; here we create something with a feminine touch.”

Born in Bulgaria, but with close links to Turkey, Rowe explained “It’s so difficult to find a Turkish chef who breaks the mould with their own cuisine.”

Examples from the Quince menu include Ottoman spiced lamb cutlets with tahini and black truffle sauce, a dish with strong links to Rowe’s own Turkish heritage which her grandfather Mehmed cooked for her father.

Also on the menu will be a green herb and spiced salmon shwarma, created as modern healthy alternative to the traditional meat shwarma and cooked on a bespoke vertical grill.

The restaurant design aims to combine Eastern influences with the busy cosmopolitan feel of a London hotel. Its 90 cover dining room will include a chef’s table seating eight, while the bar area promises to be luxuriously decorated with an intricate display of silk-hung pendants.

Quince will also see an extension of the existing partnership between The May Fair Hotel and Champagne brand Dom Pérignon, which began with the launch of the hotel’s 150 bar just over a month ago.

Specialising in magnum formats, the 150 bar also features a selection of small dishes specially designed by Rowe to match the various vintages of Dom Pérignon available there.

Rowe is now developing a similar bespoke menu to incorporate Dom Pérignon for the chef’s table in Quince. “I’m looking for richness but purity, like the Champagne”, she explained of her approach.

The cocktail list at Quince promises to incorporate the same blend of herbs, spices, fruit and flowers used in Rowe’s cooking. The Lebanese Taxi cocktail, a blend of rose water and lavender, takes its name from the all-female pink taxi service in Lebanon.

The wine list too will feature Lebanese wine in the form of Château Musar 1993, as well as rarites from further afield including Colombia.

Gabriel Savage, 12.04.2011

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