Chef Phil Howard talks to The Staff Canteen about his new restaurant

The  Staff Canteen

Pairing up with long term collaborator, restaurateur Rebecca Mascarenhas, it was announced last month that Phil Howard would be opening a new venture on a former Tom Aikens Restaurant site this coming September.

Phil Howard and Rebecca Mascarenhas

Elystan Street will mark the third restaurant opened by the powerhouse duo who already co-own the London based restaurants, the one Michelin starred restaurant, Kitchen W8 in Kensington and Sonny’s Kitchen in Barnes. The restaurant will also see the 50 year old chef back in the kitchen after announcing his departure from the Square earlier in the year after the sale of the restaurant to Marlon Abela.

Speaking to The Staff Canteen about the new restaurant, Phil said: “Above all else what I love about this industry is actually cooking. The truth is, over the last few years at the Square my role changed. What I want to do is get back into the kitchen and get dirty at the cold face again.”

He continued: “I want to now focus on doing something that’s lightly more in keeping with the kind of food I really like to cook. The Square became what it became, it was then appropriate to pitch the cooking to a level that was necessary where we had taken it and actually what I would like to do now is something more in keeping with who I am as a person and as an eater, and where I am as a chef. So there was a huge appeal to open a restaurant that is relevant to London in 2016.”

Commenting on what people can expect from Elystan Street, Phil says it will be ‘wildly ambitious, wonderful cooking, delicious food, accessible and far less formal and grand than the Square.’

Offering two different lunch and dinner formats and holding back on the canapes and petit fours, people can enjoy a paired back menu with a ‘cleaner’ and ‘lighter’ lunch menu including a langoustine salad or a slightly ‘fuller’ dinner menu to include roast grouse.

Having lived in the area for much of his life Phil understands the environment and is confident he knows the type of clientele the restaurant is likely to attract.

He said: “If you want to give pleasure to people, which is what hospitality and cooking is all about, I think you just need to understand those people and I grew up in West London so I just feel at home here and know what the people are like.

“I really want to make sure it is effectively a menu that is pitched for who I see is going to be our most likely guests.”

Opening the site on a former Tom Aikens Restaurant was no coincidence, Phil was always aware of the site’s history and much of the reason behind obtaining it was due to its space and structure.

Phil said: “I always knew the site was a Tom Aikens restaurant, part of the reason why I took the site on was because from an operational view it is an exceptional site. It’s well laid out, the dining room is one of the best residential dining rooms in London, beautiful big windows and trees, and I think it is a lovely place to be.”

The exterior and interior space will be fully renovated and redesigned by Clare Nelson Design, and will accommodate up to 64 in the restaurant, and 12 in a private dining room. The new venture will also include a new fresh team of around 30-35 people with one front of house and one back of house that Phil has previously worked with.

Phil said: “I’m going for a team of about 30-35.

“I’m out to recruit a fresh team as I really want the restaurant to have a genuine and tangible sense of difference to the Square.”

Customers can visit a holding website -, and the Twitter and Instagram handles are @elystanstreet.

By Michael Parker

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The  Staff Canteen

The Staff Canteen

Editor 6th July 2016

Chef Phil Howard talks to The Staff Canteen about his new restaurant