“You can argue that it was 20 years in the making. I started my career as a waiter in London 20 years ago, and it’s been something that’s been on my mind a very long time,” says Joey Ghazal, founder and managing partner of The Maine New England Brasserie Co., of the recently announced first international outpost of the brand that will open in London’s Mayfair this fall.
The Maine Mayfair, located at 20 Hanover Square, has picked what many would consider as being among the most fiercely competitive patches of real estate when it comes to fine dining. There’s Japanese restaurant Sexy Fish (Rita Ora sang at its launch party), the decadent Park Chinois (it’s hard to escape the 24-page wine list) and also Davies and Brook by chef Daniel Humm at Claridge’s (Humm’s Eleven Madison Park in New York City was voted the World’s Best Restaurant in 2017), all within a couple of hundred metres of each other.
But Ghazal isn’t unduly perturbed by the neighbourhood competition. Like with any great restaurant, location is everything – moreover in Mayfair. Luckily, The Maine’s landed a prime spot. “It’s a homestead in Hanover Square from 1720. It is the only surviving Grade II-listed Georgian building in the entire area, much of which was dug up for air raid shelters in the Second World War.
“We won the location in stiff competition with many very seasoned local operators in London,” says Ghazal of the former homestead of the Duke of Montrose. It is the first time that the building is being purposed as a dining destination.
20 Hanover Square is part of a 1.3 acre mixed-use development by Great Portland Estates and is a short walk from Berkley Square and the Elizabeth line Crossrail station. The Maine Mayfair is divided across three levels with five rooms, and will have a seating capacity of 350. “We have a 100-foot terrace that is connected to New Bond Street. We have a drawing room, which will be sort of an aristocratic lounge. We have a large barand brasserie that will have a nightlife and entertainment component to it. Our goal is to create a destination that would surprise and delight people who visit many times and not have the same experience twice.”
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