Former Fat Duck head chef to take over Londrino site

Jonny Lake, the former head chef of Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck, is to open his own restaurant with sommelier Isa Bal on the site of the recently closed Londrino in London Bridge.

Jonny Lake and Isa Bal, the former head chef and head somm of The Fat Duck, are to open their own restaurant in London Bridge

The as yet unnamed restaurant will open this autumn in the Snowfields Yard development close to Guy’s Hospital in London Bridge, which was most recently home to Leandro Carreira’s Portuguese restaurant Londrino.

“The location ticked all the boxes – it is tucked away on a quiet street near London Bridge in an area that is fun, exciting and full of life,” said Lake.

“We were looking for an open contemporary space in a vibrant area – somewhere relaxed and fun where we can celebrate what is in the glass and on the plate,” Bal added.

Canadian chef Jonny Lake was formerly executive head chef of Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck Group

The finer details of the restaurant are being kept under wraps at the moment, but it is set to be “an informal, high quality restaurant utilising the finest ingredients and wines”, which will “aim to deliver an unrivalled taste experience”.

The 3,500 square feet space will house a restaurant, wine bar and cellar, and seat around 75 guests in the dining room and up to 25 guests at the bar.

Lake and Bal, who was head sommelier at the three Michelin-starred The Fat Duck for 12 years, first announced the news of their collaboration last summer.

“Isa and I have always shared the same philosophy and passion for creating interesting flavour combinations, and after many discussions we knew we wanted to collaborate on a new project together,” Lake said at the time of the announcement.

“I am very much looking forward to collaborating on this new exciting project. We share a mutual love of food and drink as well as a passion for the creative process and look forward to sharing this in our own restaurant,” Bal added.

Born in Canada, Lake cut his culinary teeth in Liguria and Lombardy before moving to the UK in 2005 to join Heston Blumenthal’s The Fat Duck in Bray.

He became head chef in 2009 and was subsequently made executive head chef of The Fat Duck Group. Lake left the group with Bal last year to pursue their joint venture.

Master Sommelier Isa Bal began his sommelier career at The Vineyard at Stockcross near Newbury. With 12 years at The Fat Duck under his belt, he is recognised as one of the world’s leading sommeliers.

During his time at The Fat Duck, Bal worked closely with the Blumenthal and Lake to champion inventive new ways of pairing food and drinks.

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