8-13, Pollen Street
One of the cocktails that the mixologist at Pollen Street Social’s bar has in his list is called Empire of the Sun. Is it by chance? Or a not so veiled hint at the empire that chef and business man Jason Atherton continues to expand from England to the Far East? Indeed, Jason is very busy at opening new restaurants and it appears he doesn’t mean to stop. And why should he, after all? Like King Midas, all he touches becomes gold, from a gastronomic point of view, that is.
Ever since he left the Ramsay group in 2011 in order to open a place of his own, he’s never stopped. The first Michelin star arrived only six months later, followed by a series of prizes and acknowledgments from the industry and a great success among the public. Therefore, little by little, this empire began to expand. First in Singapore, with restaurants and bars in strategic locations in town, from Gardens by the Bay (a brand new and futuristic botanic garden) to the historic and super cool Chinatown (on Keong Saik Road). Hong Kong and Shanghai followed right away.
[[ima2]]During 2014, the attention of Jason returned to London with new openings that generated the now usual strong interest from both public and critics: one of the most recent openings is City Social, a bar and restaurant with a breath-taking view, a short walk from the Bank of England, in what used to be the location of Gary Rhodes’s top restaurant (he belongs to the old guard in the British gastronomic scene). The setting is inspired by the rather smoky bars of America’s Prohibition, with black furniture and golden finishes. Even at City Social Jason’s mark is easily recognisable: a creative menu with European and Asian influences and a series of cocktails with fascinating names also inspired by the Thirties.
Atherton’s establishments are always intelligently opened in trendy areas, and perfectly fit in the locations where they are opened: in Soho, Social Eating House has a bar – The Blind Pig – on the top floor, almost impossible to recognise from outside, just like the bars during Prohibition, often called blind pig for this reason. Even here cocktail are the strong point, especially those made with artisanal gin produced in town.
[[ima3]]East of London, instead, in the most popular area at the moment (between Bethnal Green and Hackney), there’s the slightly more informal Typing Room located inside the council’s old building and put in the hands of chef Lee Westcott. Jason still has Pollen Street Social in his heart. This is where he hosted one of the now legendary dinners with Ferran Adrià. At a hardly moderate price (£850 per person), tickets for this event (much more than a dinner) were sold out in just a few hours.
And Jason, who also worked at El Bulli (in 1998), even hosted the Asian stop of the great Catalan chef at Aberdeen Street Social, his Hong Kong stronghold, creating a menu inspired by the dishes of Adrià’s famous and now closed restaurant.
A British citizen from Naples, obsessive scuba diver, digital marketing manager Monday to Friday, foodie at any given time
Please fill in the fields below to search our Protagonists' database.
Lorenzo Cioli and Stefano Ferraro, patrons at Loste Cafe, soon opening in Via Guicciardini 5, in Milan
Giulia and Eduardo Tuccillo of Twist - Kitchen and Tapas, 42 Crawford Street, London, tel. +442077233377
Stefano Ferraro, from Torino, since February 2018 is head pastry-chef at Noma in Copenhagen, restaurant number two according to the World’s 50Best, and 2 Michelin stars