The Savoy is to relaunch its River Room fine-dining restaurant as Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill in a bid to create a more accessible, relaxed dining environment.
Named after the Savoy's cat, a 3ft high sculpture which accompanies diners of 13 to stave off bad luck, Kaspar's will offer all-day dining, seven days a week with a bustling atmosphere enhanced by an oyster bar in the centre of the room. It will open on 2 May.
Savoy general manager Kiaran MacDonald said the River Restaurant "didn't sing like everywhere else in the Savoy" so the hotel had come up with an entirely new concept.
"Diners are looking for atmosphere and informality, so we had to do more than just change the menu," he added.
The restaurant will now undergo a six weeks refurbishment, reopening as Kaspar's Seafood Bar and Grill on 2 May. Designed by Robert Angell Design Studio, it will be art deco inspired with a marble bar flooring encircled by a teal swirl carpet. A fish bar will add an element of theatre to the room.
The menu has been overseen by head chef James Pare, who has worked at the Savoy for three years. The Canadian-born chef has been able to indulge his passion for fish on an approachable all day menu, with many courses available as both starters and mains.
Dishes include starters of smoked brown shrimp and eel cocktail (£14) and roasted ox tail consommé (£9), while signature mains will be smoked salmon sausage, apple sauerkraut and horseradish sauce (£18) and lobster club sandwich with chips (£25). Classic desserts on offer will be vanilla rice pudding (£8), apple tarte tatin (£8) and Peach Melba (£8).
MacDonald said the name of the restaurant brought together the heritage of the hotel with a modern and informal experience.
He said: "Not only in its name does Kaspar's keep alive the wonderful history that this four legged friend brought to the hotel almost 100 years ago, but as an informal, yet chic brasserie style restaurant it will also meet the demands of today's regular diners."
The 3ft high sculpture of Kaspar was created in 1926 by British Basil Ionides following the death of South African diamond magnate Woolf Joel in 1898.
According to the Savoy, he hosted a dinner for fourteen guests and one cancelled at the last minute. A guest suggested death would come to the first to leave the table of 13, Ionides took the chance and a few weeks later he was shot dead in Johannesburg. Thereafter, Kaspar sat with any tables of 13.