Medlar founders to launch second restaurant

David O'Connor and Joe Mercer-Nairne, founders of the French restaurant Medlar in Chelsea, have announced plans to launch their second concept in mid-July. 

Cornus will reside in London's Belgravia, with chef Gary Foulkes leading the kitchen. Foulkes joins from the Michelin-starred restaurant, Angler. 

Cornus, which takes its name from the botanical appellation for the native dogwood shrub, will build on the solid reputation the team has garnered at Medlar. O'Connor will work alongside his wife Monika to oversee the front-of-house team. Many former Medlar team members will be returning to Cornus, with Melania Battison, previously head sommelier, joining as wine director, and Mario Aranquez, previously head barman, leading the bar. 

The kitchen

Folkes will combine his ingredient-led approach with flavours and techniques encountered on his travels around the world. He will create an à la carte menu of elevated dishes, grounded in the traditional principles and techniques of French cuisine. A number of larger, sharing-style dishes, designed for group dining, will also be offered. 

On the sommelier team, Battiston will be joined by Lukasz Gorski, currently the World Young Sommelier of the Year. The pair will guide guests through the wine list of unique and premium bottles. An extensive by-the-glass menu will also be available, as well as a range of sakés, chosen by Battiston, to pair with Foulkes's menu. A selection of cocktails created by Aranquez will also be offered at the central bar. 

The venue

The 70-cover restaurant will be located on the rooftop of Grosvenor's 'The Ice Factory' at Eccleston Yards, Belgravia – a repurposed warehouse originally built in 1830 for Shingleton's Ice Company, and redeveloped by Grosvenor. In its new restaurant form, expansive glass windows will offer guests a view of London's skyline. 

"For me, service is one of the most important and undervalued elements of a restaurant, and I'm looking forward to matching our strong customer service philosophy with Gary's food and Melania's wine programme at Cornus," says O'Connor. "Medlar has become embedded in the Chelsea neighbourhood since opening 13 years ago, and now we're looking forward to bringing Cornus to the Belgravia community – building relationships with new visitors, who we hope will soon become returning customers."

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