Lutyens Restaurant pays tribute to Fleet St history

Mon Aug 10, 2009 1:06pm EDT
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By Julie Mollins

LONDON (Reuters Life!) - A new restaurant at 85 Fleet Street in London features a design that harks back to the role the building once played as the headquarters of Reuters news agency, one of the major media organizations on the "Street of Ink."

Fleet Street was renowned as a buzzing center of the printing and newspaper publishing industries from 1500 when Wynkyn de Worde established a printing press near St Bride's Church -- with its 18th-century "wedding cake" spire added by British architect Christopher Wren -- until the latter part of the 20th century when media organizations moved away.

Now, chef David Burke creates culinary delights for customers in several dining spaces modernized by contemporary British designer Terence Conran on the two lower floors of the original building, which was designed and built in the 1930s by British architect Edwin Lutyens.

"It's very simple and very generous food," said Burke, originally from Dublin and formerly a chef at London's Bibendum restaurant, adding that the menu is based on "regional French food with some modern British and Irish touches."

"Fish and shellfish would be my favorites," he said when prompted to name a preferred dish.

On offer are clams, prawns, lobster and a wide variety of oyster dishes, but the menu also features a broad range of meat, including veal and rabbit.

The floor in the bar incorporates stock prices in the tiling, a reference to Reuters' role as a financial news service. As well, pictures of Paul Julius Reuter, who founded Reuters in 1851, hang on the walls. One of the private dining rooms in the cellar is named after Reuter.

The members club, also in the cellar, features images celebrating 17th-century British diarist Samuel Pepys, who was born on the site.   Continued...