We interviewed Gavin Rankin, Founder of Bellamy’s Restaurant, the Franco-Belgian brasserie on Bruton Street in Mayfair. The restaurant will host its annual cabaret week from Monday 3rd August to Saturday 8th August.
JSJ: Tell us a little more about your upcoming Cabaret week. Is it an annual event at Bellamy’s? What will be on offer? Who will be performing?
It has been annual event for some years. Bellamy’s launched the singing careers of both John Standing and Nicky Haslam. For the last three years we have staged shows, mostly taken from the American songbook, with the brilliant actress/singer Rebecca Grant accompanied on piano by the great Tom Wakeley who has performed in numerous West End Shows. We are offering a bellini, a three course dinner, ½ bottle of wine and the show for £ 65 a head all in which must represent good value at any time of year.
JSJ: At just 26 years old you were the world’s youngest accredited caviar dealer to sign a contract with the Soviet Union. What caviar do you serve at the restaurant today?
Everything now is farmed as neither Russia nor Iran can get European import licences due to having no credible conservation programme for sturgeon. We serve a Belgian Osietra (which is amazing and for best) as well as the French Aquitaine caviar and a very good Baeri or Siberian caviar which is also Belgian.
JSJ: Is it still a popular dish? How do you like to eat it?
It is certainly popular enough to feature on the menu. I prefer it with white toast and unsalted butter accompanied by a very good white vodka. Simplest is best.
JSJ: What is your favourite dish to order at Bellamy’s?
Depends on the mood but I have a great penchant for Oeuf en Gelée and Smoked Eel Mousse. Also the fillets of Dover Sole.
JSJ: What inspired you to open Bellamy’s? Tell us how the restaurant came to be.
I have always loved the classic French brasserie for its simplicity, its formal informality, its colourful regulars and for its menu from which you could choose practically any dish with pleasure. Bellamy’s was established in 2004 and is named after the club in Evelyn Waugh’s Sword of Honour trilogy, which reassures our English customers. There is also a happy pun with the title Bel Ami, the novel by Guy de Maupassant, which amuses our French customers. Everyone else comes for the food and the wine list.
JSJ: What is it that drew you to Mayfair?
Originally the same as everyone else – Mark Birley’s Annabel’s where I later became Managing Director for 11 years. Also when working as a caviar dealer and now as a Restaurateur for the second time.
JSJ: What are your favourite places to drink & dine in Mayfair?
Bellamy’s of course but also the Wolseley, the Beaumont and Green’s.
JSJ: Are there any exhibitions or events your looking forward to attending this summer?
I have still to get to the Royal Academy Summer Show and am looking forward to the Ai Weiwei exhibition at the end of September. I also want to see the Giacometti exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery in the Autumn.
JSJ: Will you be headed abroad this summer, or staying in London?
Off to a friend’s house just outside Lucca for 10 day. My longest holiday since we opened.
JSJ: Your restaurant is on Bruton Place. What local businesses are you fond of nearby, in St James’s and Mayfair?
Gentlemen’s Tonic, The Sladmore Galleries, Marinella, Anderson & Sheppard, Sautters of Mount Street
JSJ: Anything you would like to add on upcoming events or news at Bellamy’s?
I am planning to introduce a more comprehensive caviar list to our Oyster Bar which doubles as a Cocktail Bar in the evenings.
18/18A Bruton Place, London, WIJ 6LY
Opening Hours: Lunch, Monday to Friday: 12.00 – 2.30 PM
Dinner, Monday to Saturday: 7.00 – 10.30 PM
Bellamy’s will host ‘Summer in the City’ from Monday 3rd– Saturday 8th August. Dinner will be served from 8pm, followed by cabaret at 10pm. This year’s cabaret, ‘Summer in the City’, will see the return of the actress and singer, Rebecca Grant. The songstress is best known for her roles in BBC dramas and her stage credits include Andrew Lloyd Webber’s Bombay Dreams. West End conductor Tom Wakeley will accompany her on the piano.
To book ‘Summer in the City’ please telephone 020 7491 2727 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
Anderson & Sheppard (32 Old Burlington St, London W1S 3AT)
Annabel’s (44 Berkeley Square, London W1J 5QB)
E Marinella (54 Maddox St, London W1S 1QE)
Gentlemen’s Tonic (31a Bruton Pl, London W1J 6NN)
Green’s Restaurant & Oyster Bar
(36 Duke Street, London, SW1Y 6DF)
Royal Academy of Arts
(Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD)
Sautter Cigars (106 Mount St, London, Mayfair W1K 2TW)
Sladmore – 19th and 20th Century Sculpture
(57 Jermyn St, London SW1Y 6LX)
Sladmore Contemporary (32 Bruton Place, London, W1J 6NW)
The Beaumont Hotel (8 Balderton St, London W1K 6T)
The Wolseley (160 Piccadilly, London W1J 9EB)