In April 1994, Boulestin in Covent Garden closed down after nearly 70 years, and London lost one of its most influential and best-loved restaurants. Joel Kissin – who alongside Sir Terence Conran was credited with changing the face of the London restaurant scene”- is set to introduce the legendary name to a new generation when he opens Boulestin in September this year.
To be located in St James’s, where The Crown Estate is spearheading a revival of this historic corner of the West End, the new Boulestin will comprise a luxury 60-seat bistro, serving mostly classic French food; a private dining room, seating 36; and Café Marcel, a 30-seat casual dining space offering lighter fare. It will be an evolution of the original that was opened in 1927 by French chef, restaurateur, author and TV presenter, Xavier Marcel Boulestin.
“Boulestin was a restaurant with so much history,” says Joel. “I’m not trying to copy the original – that was of its time and times have changed. But its history presents a rich tapestry that has influenced me both in terms of the design and the food.”
Joel was the co-founder, managing director and a shareholder of Conran Restaurants, helping to develop the group from its first venue, Le Pont de la Tour, followed by a number others including Quaglino’s, The Orrery, Bluebird and finally Guastavino’s in New York City. Parting ways with Conran in 2002, Joel then spent several years in the US working as a property developer.