New operator plans London acquisitions

New operator Darwin & Wallace is preparing to launch its first venue as it begins the search for more sites across London.

It is revamping well-known food pub The Ebury (pictured) in Pimlico, London, into an “all-day, casual bar dining experience”.

There will be “an emphasis on interior aesthetics, fresh scratch-cooked food and first-rate service as well as a wide-ranging drinks offer” including comprehensive wine and cocktail lists.

Due to launch in early 2013, it is being redesigned by Fusion DNA, a leading hospitality specialist that has designed sites for the likes of Drake & Morgan, Be At One, Rocket Restaurants and Leon.

Darwin & Wallace is headed by managing director Melanie Marriott, who has considerable experience in female-friendly and food-led bars including being brand manager of Mitchells & Butlers’ All Bar One.

The company is financed by The Imbiba Partnership whose current investments include Drake & Morgan which operates a growing portfolio of bar-restaurants in London including The Anthologist, The Drift, The Parlour and The Folly.

It is planning further acquisitions, mainly in affluent London “villages” including Chiswick, Chelsea, Kensington, Knightsbridge, Notting Hill, Hampstead, Haverstock Hill, Camden, Islington and Shoreditch as well as Soho, Fitzrovia and the rest of the West End. It is seeking sites of 5,000 to 7,000 square feet.

Darwin & Wallace has acquired the leasehold of The Ebury from entrepreneur Tom Etridge who bought it back only last year after selling the business to First Restaurant Group in 2006.

Melanie said: “We are delighted to have found the perfect opportunity with The Ebury site to launch Darwin and Wallace. The property is in a wonderful neighbourhood location and will be a strong setting from which to launch our new creation.

“During the design process we have drawn inspiration from the eclectic furniture and interiors collections of neighbouring antiques retailers for which the area is famed. Combined with the knowledge of our designers gleaned from their extensive, worldwide research trips and that of my own, we hope to create an original, stylish and comfortable bolt-hole.”

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