Foodservice provider Searcys is to relaunch its restaurant at the Barbican Centre, central London, as a new brasserie and bar with an emphasis on London dry gins.
The caterer has enjoyed a lengthy relationship with the Barbican, which kicked off in 1991. The 88-cover Gin Joint will open on 9 September, and will replace the Searcys' eponymous restaurant on level two of the arts venue.
Offering more than 40 London dry gins, including the first on-tap chilled option in the capital, the bar will also list a selection of gin cocktails, wines, beers and Champagne. The food menu, which will feature classic British choices for both lunch and dinner, has been created by executive chef Oliver Tobias, who previously worked at the Royal Opera House and Maze.
Many dishes will pay homage to the venue's gin-soaked credentials, including the Gressingham duck with scallop and juniper; whole lobster with courgette, lemon and borage; plum crumble with star anise and orange custard; and the Beefeater Gin and tonic granité. As well as the à la carte choice, a pre-theatre menu will be offered, from £16 for two courses or £20 for three.
The restaurant will also run its own Gin Club, offering monthly "Master Distiller Evenings" of tastings and a gin-influenced dinner, while customers will also be able to try any of the menu's gins for the price of a regular house brand between 7pm-9pm.
With estimates suggesting that the average 1750s Londoner drank on average 11 million gallons of gin a year, the name is a nod to the area's 18th century past, which was preserved for posterity in the infamous 1751 William Hogarth engraving Gin Lane.
No stranger to running high-end venues, it also manages five Champagne bars across London, as well as the London Transport Museum, 30 Euston Square, the "Gherkin" restaurant, Blenheim Palace and more.
Compass Group works alongside Searcys as the second hospitality operator at the Barbican. It won a £14m seven-year catering contract in 2010 to operate the Barbican's Foodhall and Barbican Lounge, as well as a the Green Lounge staff restaurant. Compass took over from long-term incumbent Elior, which had previously held the business for 15 years.