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Jeremy King's Triumphant Return: Inside London's Most Anticipated Restaurant Openings of 2024

On a recent spring evening in London's Mayfair, paparazzi bulbs flashed and Champagne corks popped as a well-heeled crowd buzzed with excitement. The legendary Le Caprice, which defined the city's 1980s dining scene, appeared to be back in its heyday.

In fact, this was its second act, helmed once again by maestro Jeremy King. Over his 40-year career, the veteran restaurateur has given London more than a dozen iconic establishments, from the starry Le Caprice and The Ivy to the perennially packed Wolseley and Delaunay. But in 2022, after a bitter dispute with majority shareholders, the 68-year-old was unceremoniously ousted from the very empire he built.

But true to form, the indomitable King is rising from the ashes with his most ambitious venture yet, Jeremy King Restaurants. 2024 will see him unveil a trio of highly anticipated openings that aim to redefine the city's dining scene once again: In the heart of Mayfair, Arlington will lovingly recreate the glamour and spirit of Le Caprice at its peak. The Park in Bayswater promises a "21st-century grand cafe" with a bold Californian accent. And King will resurrect historic Simpson's in the Strand as a reimagined "big-theatre brasserie."

It's a characteristically bold move for the bon vivant, who is famous for his exacting eye and obsessive attention to detail, from the precisely placed coat hooks to the weight of the linen napkins. Even after the tumultuous events of recent years, he remains steadfastly committed to his craft and the magic of restaurants.

For King, Arlington is said to be the most personal of the three openings. Just steps from where Le Caprice launched his career when he and partner Chris Corbin audaciously took it over as young upstarts in 1981, Arlington will pay meticulous homage to the storied establishment.

King has spoken fondly of how Le Caprice was more than a restaurant to him - it was the crossroads of '80s London, where worlds collided, from fashion and the arts to business and politics. To conjure that electric spirit, Arlington's interiors will transport diners to that heady era with signature touches like nicotine-stained peach walls, sleek Deco curves, and intimate nooks that were catnip for gossip columnists. Acclaimed chef June Gavin will resurrect iconic dishes like the silky lobster spaghetti and decadent Sevruga caviar-topped baked potato, with modern twists from sustainable purveyors.

Most crucially, King aims to revive what he sees as Le Caprice's egalitarian soul, with no VIP rooms, no roped-off sections, just a buzzy mix of London's "bright young things" - from celebrities to socialites to artists - all rubbing shoulders. Insiders are betting that with this meticulous time capsule, King can make the '80s swing again.

Across Hyde Park in a stately Edwardian edifice, The Park will give a fresh spin to King's signature "grand café" style with unexpected inspiration from California cuisine pioneer Alice Waters, famed for her farm-to-table ethos and elevation of simplicity.

To channel Waters' breezy West Coast vibe, the menu will let pristine ingredients steal the show: Cornish Dover sole grilled over fragrant applewood and drizzled with herb-flecked salsa verde; silky burrata from Puglia paired with juicy Isle of Wight tomatoes still warm from the vine; free-form galettes celebrating Alphonso mangoes, Tahitian vanilla, and local hedgerow berries.

The dining room itself will feel like a sun-dappled slice of Big Sur by way of South Kensington. A soaring new glass dome will flood the space with light, while climbing jasmine and passionflower vines snake up the original Edwardian pillars. Sinuous art nouveau details in peach and mint will flow from plush banquettes to the gleaming central bar, where cut crystal tumblers wink under the dancing light of Tiffany lamps. The aim is to create an effortless all-day oasis where the neighborhood can linger from morning espresso to midnight Negroni - a welcoming third space that's the essence of a true grand café for King.

The most ambitious resurrection will be of Simpson's in the Strand, one of London's oldest and most storied dining institutions. Founded in 1828 as a coffee house and chess club for Victorian gentlemen, Simpson's had sadly declined in recent decades into a faded tourist trap trading on its bygone grandeur, before the pandemic finally shuttered it.

Now King intends to restore the landmark to its original glory and catapult it into the 21st century, while still honoring its rich heritage. In the sprawling dining room, meticulously researched Victorian details - from hand-printed Morris & Co. wallpapers to Murano glass chandeliers and rows of oxblood Chesterfield banquettes - will set the stage for a "big theatre" experience. The famous carving trolleys will still make the rounds, but alongside traditional roasts, they'll proffer cosmopolitan twists like spice-crusted duck with pickled kumquats and slow-braised Szechuan lamb with mint raita.

Most radically, lunch will go tablecloth-free, with a new all-day menu meant to lure everyone from tech entrepreneurs to theatre luvvies. After dark, a moody new basement bar serving small-batch London gins and Sussex sparkling wine aims to draw a fashionable crowd for sultry cocktails and spirited salon debates, reviving Simpson's Victorian heyday as a lively, democratic meeting place for the Strand's community.

It's an approach insiders say King feels London needs more than ever after the isolation of the pandemic years. His vision is to restore restaurants to their rightful place as the heart of the city's social fabric, where people can come together, let their guard down, and find community over a shared love of good food and lively conversation.

Despite the tumultuous events of recent years, from the pandemic to the loss of his restaurant empire, King remains undaunted and laser-focused on his next chapter. Those close to King say this trio of openings marks not just a defiant comeback, but a mission statement for the years ahead. The master restaurateur has lost none of his hunger nor his conviction that restaurants are his calling - and that there is still much uncharted magic to be conjured. The Notting Hill deli serving lox and schmear, the farm-to-table gastropub nestled in the Cotswolds - for King, these passion projects are all pieces of the same grand vision: to create spaces that, for a few transporting hours, bring us together and remind us of our shared humanity.

For in King's eyes, a great restaurant is more than just a place to eat. It's an escape, a second home, a stage upon which the human comedy plays out in all its messy, glorious splendor. It's this alchemy - of food and drink, light and laughter, strangers becoming friends - that King has spent his life seeking to create. And as he begins this ambitious new act, London's dining scene watches with bated breath to see what magic he'll dream up next.


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