Matt Whiley (pictured) has set up his own venture, Talented Mr Fox, starting with a “residency” within restaurant and hotel One Leicester Street off London’s Leicester Square in October.
Matt formed Fluid Movement in 2009 with Tristan Stephenson, Thomas Aske and Bryan Pietersen, who together went on to open top London bars Purl and The Worship Street Whistling Shop, specialising in inventive, theatrical cocktails.
Fluid Movement has also provided consultancy for many other bars, from VOC in London’s King’s Cross to, more recently, Gymkhana in Mayfair. They also developed their own Cream Gin with Master of Malt under the Worship Street Whistling Shop banner.
Matt previously worked in and managed bars in Nottingham, including Humbug and Skin, before going to work at Zuma in Knightsbridge, London.
Talented Mr Fox’s services will include brand identity, bar consultancy, events, training, management and back-of-house consultancy.
One Leicester Street opened in May in the site of the former St John Hotel, on the edge of Chinatown. The 15-room hotel has been developed by Singaporean hotelier Peng Loh, including a 40-capacity bar.
Working alongside One Leicester Street’s head chef Tom Harris, Matt will create craft cocktails to complement the restaurant’s food, mining old classics and putting a spin on well-loved creations.
Drinks will include a twist on a Bloody Mary, combining clarified tomato juice with vodka that has been distilled with pig’s blood to give it a distinctive iron-like flavour. The rim of the glass is coated with bacon powder while a Bloody Mary hydrosol atomiser adds spice.
Bringing a sense of humour to the menu, one of the signature drinks will reference the scavenging urban fox, with a secret concoction served in a mini wheelie bin. Complete with a surprise element, the drink is served with a mini plastic bag labelled “bin juice” for the customer to add to the mixture.
British nostalgia and history are referenced by the Peasant’s Breakfast, based on the classic working-class delicacy, bread and dripping. Matt will use a “bready” Dutch genever as a base for the pre- or post-dinner cocktail. Another drink will see coffee-dripped absinthe served in an apothecary bottle alongside a crispy pig’s ear.
With more plans afoot for Talented Mr Fox, Matt says to “watch this space for future announcements both in London and the US”.
Photograph: Scott Grummett