Smart Hospitality has won the contract to run the Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room, cafe/bar and event catering at Whitechapel Gallery and has brought in 2009 Catey Chef Award winner Angela Hartnett to assist in the process. The contract was previously run by contract caterers Vacherin.
Hartnett, a local resident and regular visitor to the Whitechapel Gallery, together with her head chef Diego Cardoso, will consult on all areas of the food, staffing and service working closely with Whitechapel Gallery chefs. However, Hartnett and Cardoso will continue to cook full time at Murano, the Michelin starred Mayfair restaurant she owns following her buy-out from former mentor Gordon Ramsay in October last year.
Smart Hospitality was launched as a joint venture between Greg Lawson, who formed parent company Quantum Leap Events in 1999, and Robin Bidgood last year. Bidgood was formerly the CEO of Tate Catering.
Hartnett commented: "I love the Whitechapel Gallery and want us to serve the sort of food people really want to eat. I hope the Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room will become a firm favourite with gallery visitors and locals alike. Greg and Robin have such great experience of working in some of London's most iconic spaces and I'm excited by the possibilities of our collaboration."
The Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room is located in a listed building and has its own street entrance. There will be a daily changing menu with an emphasis on "homely" cooking, using British ingredients. Small dishes will be priced between £5-£8 and larger plates, suitable for sharing, will be priced between £10-15. Starters will include dishes such as peperonata on toast and whipped goats' curd with roasted garlic, mains will feature rabbit pie with tarragon and cote de boeuf with caramelised chicory, and puddings will range from a warm Agen prune tart to a pomegranate blood orange salad with hand made shortbread. There will be a concise wine list with many options available by the glass and service will combine warmth with attention to detail.
The café/bar upstairs will offer a range of sandwiches, light bites and salads as well as a dish of the day. Cakes and biscuits will be baked daily and served with a variety of teas, coffees and a selection of drinks.
The press statement said: "This is the collaboration between Angela Hartnett and Smart Hospitality, but with such synergy of skills and experience, there is great scope for further joint projects in the future."
The Whitechapel Gallery Dining Room will re-open on 15 January.
By Amanda Afiya
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