Veteran restaurateur Jeremy King is to return to his spiritual home, St. James's, as he takes over the lease for 20 Arlington Street.
The address was formerly home to Le Caprice, which closed over the pandemic; it was here that King began his career as one of hospitality’s biggest players. Next year King, supported by former Le Caprice maître d’ Jesus Adorno, will re-open the restaurant, though an exact date is yet to be confirmed.
Details of the new restaurant, including its name, remain scant, though King emailed his mailing list with a few clues, describing it as “a new version, but I hope you will find it reassuringly familiar in how it looks, and what we serve.”
He wrote: “I am delighted to tell you that I have just signed a lease for the site and the legendary Jesus Adorno will be joining me as we aim to recreate a restaurant that for many of our customers, over the years, was the one they professed their greatest love for.”
Though originally opened in 1947, when taken over by King and business partner Chris Corbin in 1981, the restaurant took on a new lease of life, eventually becoming one of London’s most in-demand dining rooms.
It was the pair’s first restaurant together, and they turned it from a middling brasserie to a place to see and be seen. It was the spot where Jeffrey Archer had his first meal after prison, where Princess Diana could regularly be spotted, alongside the likes of Liz Hurley, Madonna, Sir Peter Blake and Omar Sharif. It was also the kitchen where chef Mark Hix made his name. Richard Caring later acquired it in 2005, and is expected to retain the right to the name, which it is thought he has plans for elsewhere.
“1981 was unequivocally dominated by the opening of Le Caprice on 1st September,” King wrote. “After a few turbulent months Chris and I managed to establish it as a contemporary restaurant unlike pretty much anything London had ever seen, and it was not immediately or readily embraced!”
Over the weekend, reports suggested that classic Le Caprice dishes such as the bang bang chicken and crispy duck salad are likely to return.
As King suggests, the opening is notable for its inclusion of maître d’ Jesus Adorno, who served at the restaurant for the majority of his career. More recently, he has been running the dining room at Charlie’s in Mayfair, as director of hospitality.
“When Le Caprice closed with the arrival of the pandemic, [Adorno] had completed 38 years service and was disappointed not to have passed the four decade mark,” King wrote in his email. “Therefore I am delighted to tell you that he will now have the opportunity to complete that amazing feat.”
Like the Park, his other recently-announced new restaurant venture, more is expected to be announced soon, with King writing: “It will open early next year, but of course I will be in touch again before then.
“In the meantime please forgive me if I don’t attempt to tell you at this juncture what the return means to me, and indeed Jesus.”