What: An upscale restaurant and bar within a prominent corner site on the south end of Soho’s Brewer Street close to Piccadilly Circus. Named in honour of painter Vanessa Bell, Nessa is inspired by the history of Soho and a number of other artists and creatives that once called the area home. Open from 8am on weekdays and from 9am on the weekends, the restaurant is an all-day affair offering breakfast right through to late-night cocktails (it’s open until 2am some nights).
Who: Nessa is the latest project from Guy Ivesha’s Maslow’s group, which also includes Mortimer House and Mortimer House Kitchen in Fitzrovia. Prior to establishing Maslow’s Ivesha was head of acquisitions and development for PPHE Hotel Group (once Park Plaza Hotels Europe), an international hospitality real estate group with a £1.7 billion portfolio that’s among the biggest players within London hotels. Tom Cenci leads the kitchen having made his name at restaurants including Loyal Tavern and Stoney Street. His CV also includes senior roles at the original Noble Rot and Duck & Waffle.
The vibe: Designed by boutique interior architecture and design firm Fettle, Nessa occupies the ground floor of a handsome neo-baroque building (the space was once The Warwick pub). Guests enter into a large bar area that leads to a 98-cover dining room with a sizeable open kitchen. The aesthetic is probably best described as modern mid-century, with design details including exposed brickwork, parquet flooring, brass light fittings and tan leather-shod banquettes and booths.
On the menu: At Nessa, Cenci combines British influences with a ‘passion for global flavours’. Split into snacks, vegetables, small plates, large plates and sides, the menu includes cheese and onion croquettes with grape husk mustard; steak tartare with beef fat pangrattato and raw egg; chicken Cordon Bleu with monksbeard, grilled celery and green olive; and a take on carbonara that sees thin strips of celeriac stand in for pasta. Desserts are largely contemporary takes on British classics, including gooseberry roly poly with bay leaf custard and - for those with less of a sweet tooth - Welsh rarebit on dark rye with truffle. Breakfast and brunch menus are also available.
To drink: The drinks selection kicks off with a tight selection of house cocktails that includes the Randy Hiball (Seven Tail XO rum, lemon, whey, orange citrus candy, port and grapefruit and rosemary tonic); and the Fino Martini (East London Liquor Company gin, Tio Pepe Fino sherry).
And another thing: Nessa is open to all but is part of Ivesha’s private members’ club 1 Warwick. Facilities include a restaurant overseen by Cenci, studio, gym, and various workspaces and meeting spaces but it’s biggest draw will likely be its rooftop bar with wrap-around terrace. Plans are apparently underway for several locations stateside.
86 Brewer Street, London W1F 9UB