MiMi Mei Fair: Jamavar founder Samyukta Nair branches out to open Chinese-inspired townhouse restaurant

·2-min read
Chinese classic: roasted Peking duck will be among the larger dishes on the menu (Steven Joyce)
Chinese classic: roasted Peking duck will be among the larger dishes on the menu (Steven Joyce)

The hotel heiress and restaurateur behind both Jamavar and Bombay Bustle is to step in a different direction with her third London opening, which is set to be inspired by 1920s Shanghai.

Samyukta Nair will open MiMi Mei Fair – a pun on the neighbourhood its in – on September 7, on Curzon Street. Spread across a three-storey townhouse, the multi-faceted restaurant will reportedly have a keen eye for intimacy; many of the ground-floor booths will be kept for pairs and groups of four, and the entire space is being billed as “the secret London residence of Empress MiMi”, with mi mi meaning secret in Mandarin.

The ground floor will then open up into a sunshine-yellow dining room, with the private-dining “Peacock Room” behind it. Upstairs will the Parlour, done in Wedgewood blue and coral, as well as the Library, a cosier spot of greens and browns. Underneath the two dining floors will be a mirror-walled Moon Bar.

Heading up the kitchen will be former Hakkasan chef Peter Ho, who’ll oversee a menu of high-end, modern Chinese cooking, drawing on his time in Singapore and Beijing. Sharing dishes will be the thing, with the likes of langoustines cooked up with truffle, seabass in Shaoxing wine, and an array of dumplings and dim sum, including a puff of sea urchin and turnip. Larger dishes will also be plated, including roasted Peking duck, lobster cooked three ways – baked in a wok, steamed and braised – as well as crab, and pork belly served with what they’re dubbing “sesame mantou cigars”.

Man in the kitchen: chef Peter Ho will oversee the menu (Steven Joyce)
Man in the kitchen: chef Peter Ho will oversee the menu (Steven Joyce)

Nair, until now known for her upmarket take on Indian cooking, said the move to Chinese cooking was inspired by time spent resident in China: “My passion for Chinese food, art and culture began whilst living and studying in China, and it has remained an obsession.

“Dreaming the individual spaces to life and curating the menu with Peter has been such a wonderful experience. Moreover, Peter has worked with my family for years, I’ve known him since I was a teenager, so it is so exciting to be working together now as colleagues.”

Nair was already a familiar name in hospitality before either Jamavar or Bombay Bustle opened; her grandfather, the late C. P. Krishnan Nair, founded the luxury hotel chain The Leela Group, named for his wife.

MiMi Mei Fair will open on September 7 at 55 Curzon Street, W1. For more information, visit mimimeifair.com

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