Maene: Townsend’s Nick Gilkinson to launch new restaurant, set for spring opening in Spitalfields

Man with a plan: Nick Gilkinson  (Rebecca Dickson)
Man with a plan: Nick Gilkinson (Rebecca Dickson)

As he hinted at during a conversation with the Standard in December, Townsend proprietor and Anglo alumni Nick Gilkinson is set to open a restaurant this year, atop a four-storey Victorian warehouse in east London. It is set to launch in March.

Called Maene — an old English word meaning public or universal, but which also translates to a sense of community — the launch follows Gilkinson’s success at Townsend, a svelte, modern British restaurant at the Whitechapel Gallery.

The new all-day restaurant will offer something similar, with publicity promising “a celebration of European bistro culture”. Like Townsend, there will be a focus on championing British ingredients.

The fourth-floor space, which sits above a three storey yoga studio called Mission, will comprises a range of dining spaces, from counter-top seats to more traditional banquettes. There will also be a grand, 18-seater sharing table, a semi-private dining room, a cocktail bar and a terrace with views that, according to the press release, look out “over the city skyline”.

The space is being designed by partners FareInc, perhaps best known in London for Kolomba in Soho, for which they were critically acclaimed.

 (Rebecca Dickson)
(Rebecca Dickson)

Gilkinson sounds enthralled by the potential of the new space, saying: “The bones of the building are so beautiful and I wanted to make sure we kept the integrity of the space whilst adding some softer touches to it, so it feels like somewhere that people want to be, a place for the community.”

Full details on the menu are scant but smaller, more affordable plates will include Mersea oysters with pickled Jalapeno and allotment fritto misto with smoked chilli aioli, priced at at £4.50. In a similar vein to Townsend, the larger plates will be priced around the £30 mark and include La Latteria Stracciatella, made with pickled squash and “yesterday’s bread” — or, in less twee terms, whatever’s left over from the day before — and Springfield farm chicken with rosemary, garlic and burned lemon, with a green goddess sauce.

Gilkinson describes the food as “fresh”, “creative” and “unfussy”. He goes on to say that he wants to ensure they are “placing a real focus on working closely with our suppliers” and to “showcase the best produce possible.”

Whilst the restaurant will open in March, a terrace will follow for al fresco eating come the summer.

Mæne will open in March at 7-9 Fashion Street, E1 6PX. For more information, follow @maene_restaurant