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St John hotel and restaurant to open in Leicester Square

The team behind London’s St John Restaurants is to open a hotel and restaurant in London’s Leicester Square, on the former premises of Manzi’s.

A banner with the restaurant’s iconic pig logo (pictured), and scaffolding, are the only evidence of the refurbishment underway at 1 Leicester Square.

But owner Trevor Gulliver – who is working with long-time business partner chef Fergus Henderson – says the property will open in the summer of 2010.

‘It will be the rare thing – a hotel where people would actually want to eat,’ said Gulliver.

The Michelin-starred St John Restaurant in Smithfield and St John Bread and Wine near Spitalfields are known for reintroducing traditional, British “nose-to-tail” cookery, and for straightforward presentation and minimalist decor.

Gulliver said the 15-room hotel will be ‘mini-grand’.

‘It will reflect the local neighbourhood like our other restaurants do,’ he added.

‘Fergus and I don’t do cushions, we don’t do curtains. But just as you feel well-fed and well-taken care of when you eat at St John, we’ll take that spirit into the hotel. There might even be a bit of colour.’

The location of the former London seafood institution Manzi’s, which has been vacant for a number of years, was particularly attractive.

‘If you’re a Londoner like me, you’ll remember going to Manzi’s as a child, after theatre,’ Gulliver said.

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Written by Maggie Rosen

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