Des Gunewardena to open a restaurant at The Royal Exchange

By Restaurant

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Des Gunewardena to open a restaurant at The Royal Exchange

Related tags Des Gunewardena Restaurant London D&d london

Des Gunewardena, former CEO of restaurant group D&D London, will embark on his first project since his departure from the multi-site restaurant group at the end of 2022.

Gunewardena will open a new flagship restaurant, bar and event space at The Royal Exchange in The City of London having signed an agreement with The Ardent Companies UK. The 6,500sq ft site will occupy the north, south and east mezzanines of the main central courtyard, together with a newly-created outdoor terrace at the front of the building

Details of food, drink and design concepts are to be announced closer to the venue’s planned opening in May 2024.

The venue will also feature live music and entertainment.

“I have always loved the Royal Exchange since my first involvement with the building back in my Conran days,” says Gunewardena. “Ardent has some imaginative proposals for evolving what is already a very successful luxury retail and restaurant offer, and I am excited to be part of those plans.”

The Royal Exchange opened in 1566 as London’s first purpose-built trading centre. It once housed Lloyd’s insurance market and Queen Victoria unveiled the current building, the third on the site, in 1844.

Located opposite the Bank of England between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill, the retail element of The Royal Exchange was acquired by The Ardent Companies UK – a subsidiary of US-based real estate investment and asset management firm The Ardent Companies – in October 2022.

“We are hugely excited to welcome Des to The Royal Exchange, and can’t wait to see his concepts come to life,” says Andrew Hilston, managing director of The Ardent Companies UK.

“Alongside existing eateries, including The Libertine and The Fortnum & Mason bar and restaurant, Des’ arrival will further burnish The Royal Exchange’s reputation as one of The City’s best places for dining and socialising.”

Gunewardena has signed a new 15-year lease on the site.

It will be the first project from Gunewardena since stepping away from D&D London​ in September 2022 after 16 years. Earlier this year he said that he was gearing up to launch​ his next venture in the sector, with a number of landmark venues set to open in London and Manchester and was working on five 'fairly advanced' projects - one in the City of London, three in the West End, and one in Manchester.

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