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GEMMA BELL AND COMPANY TOKLAS APPOINTS NEW HEAD CHEF AND OPENS TERRACE news image

TOKLAS APPOINTS NEW HEAD CHEF AND OPENS TERRACE

23/05/22

Toklas restaurant and bar, from the co-founders of Frieze, is delighted to announce the appointment of Yohei Furuhashi as head chef of the 100 cover restaurant, located off The Strand at 1 Surrey Street. Furuhashi will take charge of Toklas’ restaurant menu, along with snacks and small plates for the 50-capacity bar and 3,000 square foot terrace, which opened its doors this month.

 

Furuhashi joins following nine years at The River Café as well as sous and head chef roles at Dinings SW3, Petersham Nurseries and the Italian Greyhound. Such a career has informed a cooking style that is deeply rooted in simplicity and a focus on the natural flavours, textures and aromas that thoughtfully sourced, hyper-seasonal produce affords.

 

For instance, the daily changing menu might include starters such as English asparagus with bottarga butter or Octopus with piattoni beans and ratte potatoes. The piattoni beans, an early arrival from Italy, are cooked just past al dente, allowing for the sweetness to come out but so they still retain their bite. Mains could feature Risotto verde with nettle, or John Dory with courgette, white beans and sea beets, ingredient-led cooking, playing upon the flavours of a Mediterranean diet with a vegetable and fish slant. Dessert follows the same pared back approach with Almond and loquat tart with crème fraîche and Ice cream sandwiches using the bakery’s brioche, generously filled with pistachio ice cream.

 

Toklas are also the UK importers of Todolí Citrus from the Todolí Citrus Fundació, where Vincent Todolí grows 400 varieties of citrus trees across 11 acres of orchards close to Valencia. Once these fruits come into season, their presence will be strongly felt on the restaurant and bar menus, and in Toklas bakery downstairs.

 

Furuhashi’s appointment coincides with the unofficial opening of Toklas’ 3,000 square-foot terrace – an oasis amongst London’s hustle and bustle. Westward-facing and adorned with foliage, flowers and shrubs, the space basks in sunlight all day long. With 80 covers and expansive standing room for those seeking a post-work aperitif, Toklas’ terrace is, so far, a well-kept secret behind 180 Strand’s brutalist walls.

 

The main restaurant is laidback yet meticulous in detail. Designed by Stafford Schmool, whose previous projects include work with the Barbican Centre and British Council, the expansive space is defined by a reclaimed parquet floor, reclaimed iroko table and counter tops, and vintage Borge Mogensen chairs. The pendant lights are bespoke and have an innovative LED reflective form with curves hiding the light source and acoustics have been taken into great consideration. Art is quietly playful. The dining room features a large, sunny Wolfgang Tillmans 1993 photograph entitled Pomodoro, of tomatoes and aubergines by a pool. Upon the wall in the bar area, diners can enjoy perusing recent and vintage posters from significant art exhibitions from the last 50 years.

 

The adjoining bar – which can be separated from the restaurant by a sliding wall – has capacity for 50, with bar snacks and small plates on offer. The cocktail list features drinks that give true meaning to the phrase ‘twists on the classics’, wandering through an imagining of namesake Alice B. Toklas’ life in the avant-garde. The harmonious Alice and Gertrude is a refresh of the classic gimlet, and a tribute to Alice B. Toklas and Gertrude Stein’s life together. The 27 Rue de Fleurus is named after the address at which the author lived in Paris; a sophisticated, citrussy take on the French 75. Each cocktail sits on a short, yet fully formed drinks list, alongside a concise wine list with glasses and bottles carefully sourced from across Italy, Spain and France. 

 

Toklas’ bar, like their terrace and main restaurant, doubles as a fully functional space that can cater for an array of events from wedding receptions to private dinners. For more flexible affairs, Toklas’ Auditorium room has capacity for 60 audience guests, or 40 diners. Situated behind the Bakery at 9 Surrey Street, the room is perfectly equipped to host a range of events, from screenings to seminars, dinner parties to meetings. Head of events is Jolita Tautkeviciute, who joins after nearly eight years at Rochelle Canteen.

 

Toklas is a new project by Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover, the founders of Frieze magazine and renowned art fairs. Furuhashi’s menu will be served in the main restaurant, terrace and bar of Toklas from Tuesday to Saturday, with especially designed menus for events on a case-by-case basis. To make a reservation or enquire about the Toklas events space, visit the website.

 

For further information, please contact Jess on jess@gemmabellandcompany.com.

 

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