In the four years since Duddell’s first opened on the uppermost floors of the Shanghai Tang mansion in Hong Kong, it’s become a firm favourite among the city’s art world elite. The brainchild of a trio of local entrepreneurs Alan Lo, Yenn Wong, and Paulo Pong, Duddell’s was aimed at entertaining Hong Kong’s creative minds, and its classic Cantonese cuisine, Ilse Crawford-designed interiors and ever-evolving programme of art exhibitions, music performances and film screenings have proved a success story with staying power in the city of lights. This autumn, Duddell’s is coming to London.
The first branch of the concept to open outside Hong Kong, Duddell’s London is to be set in St Thomas Church, steps away from the Shard and London Bridge, further elevating the area’s status as a serious foodie destination. Opening up the church’s impressive Queen Anne architecture to diners (until recently the church housed the offices of the property developer Cathedral Group), the restoration of the space is being overseen by Michaelis Boyd – the designers behind Soho Farmhouse and the Groucho Club – with the aim of maximising daylight and accentuating key heritage elements.
Duddell’s will occupy St Thomas Church near The Shard
Awarded its first Michelin star in just five months of opening in Hong Kong, with another in quick succession, expectations are naturally already high for the food. Maintaining the Cantonese menu and delectable dim sum lunch offering, the kitchen is headed up by chef Daren Liew, whose 20-year experience most recently placed him as executive sous chef with the Hakkasan Group. Also likely to be a big draw is the bar, serving craft cocktails with a Chinese twist as well as a dynamic wine list of old and new world wines.
Like the Hong Kong Central original, Duddell’s London will be a multifunctional venue playing host to many cultural events, striving to provide an inspiring backdrop of art with regularly changing exhibitions of museum-quality works. The programme begins this summer, in anticipation of the opening, with a show by Hong Kong-based artist Nadim Abbas.
Sketch of Duddell’s London
The sculptural installation, Human Rhinovirus 14, sees the space occupied by intriguing floating beach balls. The artist has employed open-source modelling programs to build a visual mock-up of the common cold virus, though floating in mid-air thanks to a series of centrifugal blower fans – these balls aren’t quite so easy to catch. Artistic food for thought while waiting for the grand opening of the restaurant later this year at any rate.
“Entering Duddell’s feels like being welcomed into the home of a great art collector — one that also happens to have an in-house two Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, a lush 2,000 square foot Garden Terrace, and sophisticated salon with artisanal cocktails and vintage champagne,” say the founders of the first. Doubtless, St Thomas Church is about to welcome a new congregation.