‘Mafia’s banker’ to open second Notting Hill restaurant

Luca Longobardi, who was once described as “The Mafia’s Banker”, is to open a second restaurant in Notting Hill this autumn after the success of 108 Garage.

Chef Chris Denney and restauratuer Luca Longobardi photographed at 108 Garage

Longobardi, an Italian investment banker who spent a month in a high security prison in Brazil, will team up with 108 Garage’s head chef, Chris Denney, on the venue called Southam Street.

Due to open in September, the restaurant will be housed in a former Victorian pub on Southam Street and will feature a Japanese robata grill and a ‘Big Green Egg’ smoker.

Southham Street featured on the cover of Colin MacInnes’ 1959 novel Absolute Beginners

The first floor of the site will include a raw bar serving Nikkei dishes that fuse Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, alongside a saké room.

On the second floor you’ll find a Champagne bar serving well-known Grandes Marques alongside sparklers from small growers.

Longobardi has a colourful past. He allegedly lived on the streets while trying to make it on Wall Street and then rose up the ranks to become the most successful broker at his firm.

He went on to launch an investment bank in Brazil and marry ‘Miss Brazil’, but a false accusation of money laundering wound him up in prison. He has since been exonerated of any wrong-doing and penned a book about his ordeal.

Keen to open a seasonally focused London restaurant, last year Longobardi posted an advert for a chef on Gumtree and Chris Denney responded.

Having worked under Nuno Mendez at Viajante, Phil Howard at The Square and Enrico Crippa at the three Michlin-starred Piazza Duomo in Alba, Denney has good pedigree.

Having opened with very little PR, a buzz quickly built around 108 Garage, housed in a former garage on Golborne Road, which has emerged as one of the most exciting openings in London this year.

The pair’s next project, Home Noir, will combine a members’ club with 20 loft apartments, a restaurant, clubhouse and roof deck.

In keeping with their taste for opening restaurants in unlikely places, the duo also plan to launch venues in a New York launderette, an LA hardware store and an LA pharmacy.

You can see what db made of 108 Garage when we visited last month here.

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