Whisk Around the World: September

Julie Mautner - September 2013

LONDON
Chef Bruno Loubet and the Zetter Group (Mark Sainsbury and Michael Benyan) opened the restaurant Grain Store in mid-June on a large corner site in the King’s Cross Central neighborhood. Loubet’s CV includes La Tante Claire, Le Manoir aux Quat’Saisons, and The Four Seasons London, along with his own previous London sites, Bistrot Bruno and L’Odéon. He currently has Bistrot Bruno Loubet at The Zetter Hotel (London), which he opened in 2010, after eight years in Australia. Loubet says Grain Store is a culmination of his travels and the years he devoted to his beloved vegetable garden. Meaning? Meat and fish are definitely present, but veggies get equal, if not top, billing. Fermented, pickled, and smoked ingredients will feature heavily alongside the fresh and seasonal, in dishes such as zucchini, broad bean, and prawn falafel with raita, and stuffed chicken wings steamed in lotus leaf. Grain Store seats 120 in the dining room, 40 in the bar, and 80 alfresco on Granary Square, overlooking Regent’s Canal. Special events—with guest chefs, producers, authors, and artisans—are planned.

FRANCE
The 159 room Prince de Galles Hôtel reopened this June in Paris after a two year renovation. The new exec chef is Stephanie Le Quellec, who won Top Chef, France in 2011 and was last at the Four Seasons Terre Blanche in Provence (now called the Terre Blanche Hôtel Spa Golf Resort). She also worked at the Four Seasons Georges V (Paris). The new hotel f&b director is Pierre Jung (from the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris), and the gm is Simon Rusconi, who was running The St. Regis Atlanta. First opened in 1928, the Art Deco hotel features a classical, yet modern, facade and a magnificent patio done in mosaic; designer Pierre-Yves Rochon led the redo and maintained the Deco style. The hotel’s name comes from its original aim: to welcome the Prince of Wales—the future Edward VIII, son of the King of England George V—to Paris during his annual visits.

In early July, Jocelyne Sibuet and Maisons & Hôtels Sibuet opened Domaine de la Baume, a 15 room hotel in Tourtour, a hilltop village in Provence classified as one of “the 100 prettiest in France.” The 100 acre property includes formal French gardens, ponds, a waterfall, and a chapel. The 18th century bastide was the home of the painter Bernard Buffet until he died in 1999. The property’s olive groves, beehives, fruit orchards, and vegetable gardens supply the restaurant, where exec chef François Martin is cooking serious, seasonal, ingredient-driven Provençale cuisine. Martin hails from Montpellier and was most recently the chef at the company’s Les Enfants Terribles (Paris) and Beef Lodge (the restaurant in Le Lodge Park in Megève). He also worked with Michel Lentz, Marc Veyrat, Michel Del Burgo, and the Pourcel brothers. The head pastry chef is Elodie Martin, François’ wife, who was previously at the Cristal Room Baccarat (Paris). Restaurant manager Emmanuel Bellanger came from Les Jardins du Palais Royal (Paris), while gm David Gouy was in Lyon running Restaurant Christian Tetedoie. Rooms at Domaine de la Baume begin at €440 ($570).

ITALY
Husband and wife team Riccardo Di Giacinto and Ramona Anello opened the 70 seat restaurant 0°300° Cold and Grill at The First Luxury Art Hotel Roma in mid-June. Located on one of the highest rooftop terraces in Rome, the open-air spot has sweeping views of the Eternal City. This is the chef’s third venue at the hotel; he already has a cocktail lounge called Misceliamo and the Michelin one-star All’Oro. A native of Monterotondo, a small town within the province of Rome, Di Giacinto honed his talents under Ferran Adrià and Marco Pierre White. The menu has two sections—“0 Degrees” and “300 Degrees”—featuring dishes served cold or prepared in a wood-burning oven. Cocktails include the Chilemangiaro (fresh pineapple, coconut rum, honey, lime, pink pepper mousse) and the Fra-Gola (strawberries, red pepper flakes, lemon vodka, agave juice, rosemary), while the expansive cellar (shared with All’Oro) is the preserve of wine director Adalberto Robbio.

CANADA
The Hong Kong–based Langham Hospitality Group, with 17 locations worldwide, has reflagged the 37 year old Delta Chelsea—Canada’s largest hotel—as the Eaton Chelsea Toronto. It launched on July 1. The 1,590 room downtown Toronto hotel features several f&b outlets, as well as separate adult and family rec areas and pools. The hotel exec chef, Brian MacAskill, a native of Newfoundland, joined the hotel in spring 2012 and was previously at Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Toronto. Lars Friedriszik joined the hotel in 2010 and was promoted to director of f&b this year. GM Ron Pellerine came aboard in August 2011 and was at the Metropolitan Hotel (Toronto) beforehand. A multimillion dollar renovation is ongoing.

MILAN
Marriott International has teamed up with IKEA’s real estate division to launch a stylish, budget European hotel chain called Moxy Hotels. The brand will launch in Milan early next year, with rates of €60 to €85 ($77 to $110). The 150 to 300 room properties will feature healthful continental breakfasts, a 24/7 market selling snacks and drinks, and an evening bar for wines by the glass and local brews. Lobby-level meeting spaces will have ergonomic seating, writing walls, computers, and 56-inch flat screens for projection. Marriott wants 150 franchised Moxy Hotels in 10 European countries within 10 years and is going for LEED Gold certification.

CORSICA
Jean-Noël Marcellesi officially opened the 15 room La Plage Casadelmar in April, after a soft opening in summer 2012 and a wintertime closing. Marcellesi also has Casadelmar just five minutes away. The new hotel is in Lecci on the small peninsula called Benedettu, in the bay of Porto-Vecchio, a 1 1/2 hour flight from Paris. It’s surrounded by a pristine beach and has superb bay views. The exec chef is Fabio Bragagnolo, former sous chef at the Michelin two-star Casadelmar restaurant at Casadelmar and, before that, sous chef at the one-star Carpaccio in the Royal Monceau (Paris). Gian Luca Bertilaccio, who has worked in grand hotels in Pisa, Venice, and Paris, serves as gm at both his properties. French architect Jean-François Bodin used natural materials (old stone, volcanic rock, resin, glass, 300 year old oak) to blend with the landscape, while the color palette draws inspiration from the Corsican shoreline (moss, olive, orange, sandy brown, white, cream). La Plage Casadelmar belongs to the Design Hotels group; rooms begin at €380.