Casa Cruz, the first London restaurant from respected South American restaurateur and designer, Juan Santa Cruz, will open in Notting Hill on Tuesday 7th July at 123 Clarendon Road.
The 80 cover restaurant is set over two floors in a converted Victorian building, previously The Clarendon pub. Juan has extensively restored the site, with the Santa Cruz Co.’s trademark design stamp, a large copper door, the only sign of what is inside.
On entering, guests will be greeted by an oval copper bar in the centre of the room where one will be able to perch for a pre or post-dinner drink. The carpet and ceiling are both lined in brown and bottle green fabric, which combined with the mahogany of the walls will create an intimate, clubby look and feel. Colonial ceiling fans will hover above, whilst horizontal copper panels line the walls with under-lighting giving a multi-dimensional effect. The design, which has been masterminded over the past two years by Santa Cruz himself, is a key part of the opening and Juan hopes it will be somewhere that feels sophisticated and elegant but also a home away from home; a regular for local residents or a destination for those travelling from further afield.
Walking through the ground floor, past large banquettes on the left and smaller mahogany and tanganika tables on the right, an open glass wine cellar leads to a mirrored staircase that curves up to the first floor. Large windows and mirrored walls will create a lighter and open feel upstairs, where the mahogany and copper wall panels carry through. With its own bar at the rear of the room, guests will witness for themselves the theatre of cocktails being created. On the far wall, three French doors will lead through to a heated roof terrace where large umbrellas, dark-stained wooden seating and landscaped shrubbery will give the sense of warmer climes, year round.
The menu will be predominantly European, with Argentine influences, reflecting Juan’s well-travelled background and time spent in countries from Argentina, Chile, and Uruguay to New York and Switzerland. When Casa Cruz opens, there will be starters such as Wild sea bass crudo and artichokes with lemon and olive oil, available alongside main dishes including Charcoal grilled monkfish; and Cajun chicken breast. Argentine steaks will of course be a highlight, with the very best grass-fed meat being imported from Argentina, but British fish and game, and French poultry will be equally championed. Vegetables will also feature heavily, cooked simply over charcoal and seasoned with the finest olive oil and salt. Reflecting London’s increasing appetite for health-conscious and balanced eating, dishes will prioritise taste whilst adopting a ‘Mediterranean’ attitude of quality ingredients, cooked simply. That is not to say that those with a sweet tooth will suffer, with desserts such as Dulche de leche flan; and lemon polenta cake, available alongside house made ice creams and sorbets.
Casa Cruz London aims to bridge a gap in the city’s restaurant industry, where an excellent quality dinner can be enjoyed alongside those just having a drink, and where an electric crowd can gather for a whole evening. The drinks menu will feature classic cocktails done well, and range from Pisco Sours, to Martinis, Negronis, Mojitos and Cairpiroskas, whilst the wine list will comprise a solid mix of old and new world, with a dedicated section of organic and biodynamic wines.
After growing up in Chile, Juan’s illustrious background has seen him live in Europe and study in America, before moving into the investment banking and private equity industry in New York and Buenos Aires. His company, Santa Cruz Co., combines his true passions of beautiful spaces, striking design and business. In Argentina, he has created three independent and successful restaurants, Casa Cruz, Isabel and Aldo’s, all in the heart of Buenos Aires. After studying a world map, London was an obvious choice for his next venture, he says “London is the most vibrant city in the world. We are creating a place to cater for all experiences and an unsatisfied demand at the top end of the market. I am incredibly proud and excited to introduce Casa Cruz to London.”