Great British Menu chef Amber Francis appointed head chef of Nick Gilkinson's new Maene bistro

Alex South

Alex South


Set atop a 14,000 Sq ft four-storey Victorian warehouse, Maene will be a new restaurant and bar opening within Mission - the modern yoga & movement space - from 3rd April 2023 on Fashion St, Spitalfields.

Evocative of European bistro culture Maene is relaxed, modern cooking using British produce.

This will mark the second opening from Nick Gilkinson, who opened Townsend, located in the Whitechapel Gallery, in 2020. The team will be headed up by chef Amber Francis who has come from Zebra Riding Club & Bermondsey Larder and GM Christina Santelli from 12:51 by James Cochran.

Commenting on the new opening, Nick said: "We have slowly but surely been bringing Maene to life, working alongside Mission to transform the third floor of this old clothing warehouse into a restaurant and cafe. From the beginning, both I and the founders of Mission, wanted Maene to be a place for people to come together, be it for dinner with friends, breakfast with work colleagues or a drink on the terrace after a yoga class. Much like Townsend, the menu is seasonal and champions British produce, whilst the cocktail list will make use of waste from the restaurant and cafe."

Maene will take over the top floor of the historic Victorian clothing factory.

During the summer, Maene will welcome a large sun-trap terrace for dining, with views over the East End and allotment style wooden planters where Amber will grow herbs and other produce.

The private lift entrance will lead guests to a versatile open plan 54-cover restaurant with counter seating looking onto the open kitchen, a large 18-seat family table and intimate banquette seating.

The 25-cover cocktail bar will utilise by-products from the restaurant and ground-floor cafe to create a menu of savoury cocktails, including an almond croissant daiquiri and sourdough old fashioned, which will sit alongside eight signature serves.

Amber began as a classically trained chef, working at The Ritz and Royal Academy of Culinary Arts. Stages at world-class restaurants such as The French Laundry and Benu further instilled her technique and finesse.

Amber then began focusing on a produce-driven philosophy at restaurants including, Bermondsey Larder and The Zebra Riding Club.

Throughout her career, Amber has been extensively involved in community programs such as the Hackney School of Food and The Felix Project.

Community is a large part of Amber's passion for food and Maene's philosophy mirrors that passion. She was recently seen on Great British Menu and celebrated in CODE's 30 Under 30 as well as the British Restaurant Awards Young Chef of the Year.

Open breakfast till dinner, the menu will take guidance from what the season has to offer: Mersea oysters with pickled cucumber and sorrel (£4.50); whipped cods roe, allotment vegetables (£10), burnt leek tart, Berkswell, pickled onion (£12) and Paddock Farm lamb, spring greens and hazelnut pesto (£18) served alongside Keats farm salad with confit garlic and miso dressing (£4). For pudding; Pine panacotta, English apple and wood sorrel, and almond ice cream, poached rhubarb and black pepper sable (£9).

In these challenging times…

The Staff Canteen team are taking a different approach to keeping our website independent and delivering content free from commercial influence. Our Editorial team have a critical role to play in informing and supporting our audience in a balanced way. We would never put up a paywall and restrict access – The Staff Canteen is open to all and we want to keep bringing you the content you want; more from younger chefs, more on mental health, more tips and industry knowledge, more recipes and more videos. We need your support right now, more than ever, to keep The Staff Canteen active. Without your financial contributions this would not be possible.

Over the last 12 years, The Staff Canteen has built what has become the go-to platform for chefs and hospitality professionals. As members and visitors, your daily support has made The Staff Canteen what it is today. Our features and videos from the world’s biggest name chefs are something we are proud of. We have over 500,000 followers across Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and other social channels, each connecting with chefs across the world. Our editorial and social media team are creating and delivering engaging content every day, to support you and the whole sector - we want to do more for you.

A single coffee is more than £2, a beer is £4.50 and a large glass of wine can be £6 or more.

Support The Staff Canteen from as little as £1 today. Thank you.

Alex South

Alex South

Editor 23rd March 2023

Great British Menu chef Amber Francis appointed head chef of Nick Gilkinson's new Maene bistro