New York’s Red Rooster restaurant in Harlem is an institution, and its chef Marcus Samuelsson a bit of a legend. Now he is bringing the concept to London.
The chef, who was born in Ethiopia and raised in Sweden before settling in New York, opened the original restaurant in his local neighbourhood in 2011.
It celebrates the area’s food culture and history through dishes such as jerk catfish, shrimp and grits, steak and cornbread along with live soul and jazz.
Its long list of big-name diners includes Paul McCartney and the Obamas, but its inclusivity — bringing together Harlem locals, celebs and foodie types the city over — is what many would say really makes it special.
It remains to be seen whether such broad appeal can be replicated in London, when Samuelsson opens his second Red Rooster slap bang in the heart of Shoreditch, as part of forthcoming hotel and member’s club The Curtain on — you guessed it — Curtain Road.
The restaurant will feature many of the same dishes as the transatlantic original, along with some created especially for London.
Classics will include Samuelsson’s signatures of cornbread with honey butter and deviled eggs with sea urchin mayo and candied bacon, as well as chicken ‘n’ waffles, fried yardbird, and so-called Helga’s Meatballs, which come with bone marrow dumplings.
New dishes for London will include Ethiopian-inspired raw minced duck kitfo and a Swedish-influenced assembly of herrings with brown butter, horseradish, fermented rice, cured egg yolk and pickled turnips.
There will be live music five nights a week featuring up-and-coming London talent, while there will be gospel brunches on Sundays.
Right next door will be Rooster Taqueria, a separate all-day restaurant and bar serving a selection of tacos as well as a short Mexican-inspired breakfast menu.
Samuelsson said, “This is something we've been working on for many years and we can't wait to be a part of the London restaurant scene...I feel very proud to be part of a project taking place in an area which, culturally, has many similarities with my Harlem home.”
The Curtain is being launched by Michael Achenbaum, president of the exclusive Gansevoort Hotel Group. It will include a rooftop pool, nightclub, screening room, music venue and ballroom.