You are going to have an experience when you come to these restaurants,” said recently appointed executive head chef at The InterContinental London – The O2 , Daren Pavey.
“I’m hoping it will have something utterly unique for people who come here.”
Daren was previously in charge of conference and banqueting at Sofitel in Heathrow’s Terminal Five and has enlisted restaurant, not hotel, professionals to fulfil his vision of “understated luxury” and top customer service.
When the North Greenwich hotel opens he will be responsible for three restaurants – The Peninsula, The Meridian Lounge and Market Brasserie – as well as two bars The Clipper and Eighteen.
We’re told they’ve all been inspired by Greenwich’s maritime history during the 14th and 16th centuries with the influence felt in everything from gently spiced fine dining dishes to partnerships with tea companies.
Then, there are the views. Eighteen offers a 360-degree panorama and The Peninsula directly overlooks Canary Wharf ’s towers.
Daren said: “You’re going to have an experience when you come to the restaurants and the Market Brasserie really excites me.
“We hope people will take the time to come to enjoy this food with a view and having a meal before going to The O2 , then hopefully come back and have a drink with us after.”
So what’s on offer?
1. The Meridian Lounge
Daren said: “This restaurant on the ground floor is for afternoon tea. We will serve five different types and we are partnering with people like the East India Tea Company who used to come up the river between the 14th and 16th Centuries.
“There will also be a cake shop, with birthday cakes out on display to buy and order. We’re also hoping to have picnics outside in the summer.”
2. Market Brasserie
Daren said “We wanted to capture what London had to offer to the world with this first floor offering.
“One of the things people understand are markets, whether that’s Petticoat Lane, Spitalfields or Billingsgate and for this, we have to work around the food. It’s about bringing the market to life in a restaurant environment.
“We’ve had refrigerated trolleys that have been especially made for us.
“They will have selections of fish, meat and cheese and be paraded through the restaurant – it’s all about British Produce.
“So it will be of provenance, like Dingly Dell pork, and we’re not just going to have cheddar cheese. We might have Celtic and there will be up to 30 from right across the UK.
“We have to satisfy our hotel clients too so there are a la carte options like pizza and pasta.”
3. The Clipper Bar
Daren said: “I think it’s going to be busy. This cocktail bar on the first floor is themed on the tea boats and clippers that came over from Asia.”
4. The Peninsula Restaurant
Daren said: “This second-floor venue is our fine dining restaurant.
“It’s in a modern European style with exotic spices, again because the cargoes brought off the boats here in Greenwich, so it will be very simple food with oriental styles combining together.
“for example, there will be a starter of yellow fin tuna, avocado, soy, sesame and mirin, which is beautifully light and suckling pig as a main course with spices and blood orange.
“It’s very much a different style and it’s about food that is refined and it’s about understated luxury.
“But I want people to feel there’s no snobbery – you’re here to have a nice meal and beautiful views while the waiters chat to you about the Greenwich area.
“There’s also a private dining option for 24 diners.”
Daren said “Our rooftop sky bar will serve Asian-style bowl food and light bites like sashimi and steamed buns, inspired by the spices that came over to Greenwich.
“It will offer great cocktails in a great environment with great food.”
In addition the hotel’s staff will also be offering catering for meetings and events. Groups of up to 2,400 will be able to enjoy an a la carte plated dinner at the hotel.
Daren and his teams are also being trained in beekeeping skills with the hope of placing hives on the hotel’s roof to produce honey in the next 12 months.
Soft launch will take place in December with the venues opening to the public in January 2016.