Latest opening: Engel and Jang

By James McAllister

- Last updated on GMT

Former D&D London CEO Des Gunewardena has opened new flagship Engel and Jang at The Royal Exchange in The City

Related tags Des Gunewardena Fine dining London Restaurant

Former D&D London CEO Des Gunewardena has returned to the capital’s restaurant scene with a double opening within The Royal Exchange in The City of London.

What: ​Two new openings on the mezzanine level of The Royal Exchange in The City of London. The first, Engel, occupies the north and east mezzanine and encompass a cocktail bar, performance space and terrace inspired by 1920s Berlin; while the second, called Jang, comprises a restaurant on the south mezzanine that celebrates the lavish glamour of the 1920s with Asian influences from both Korea and Japan.

Who: ​Engel and Jang are the new flagship ventures from former D&D London CEO Des Gunewardena, and comes some 18 months after he left the high-end restaurant group to pursue pastures new. Both concepts form part of his newly launched hospitality company D3 Collective, which is also set to open a restaurant in Canary Wharf​ later this year; and a multifaceted restaurant, bar and events space at West London’s Olympia redevelopment​ next year. For Engel, Gunewardena has brought in Mihai Burca, formerly of Seasons Kitchen, to lead the bar team; while the kitchen at Jang is overseen by Dana Choi, whose CV includes stints working for Phil Howard at The Square, and Korean chef Judy Joo at both Jinjuu in Mayfair and Seoul Bird.


The food:​ With more of a focus on drinks, Engel’s food offering extends to a short bar menu of Austrian and German-inspired dishes including a range of premium hot dogs (£7-£10 each); pork schnitzel with lingonberry compote (£15); and a German charcuterie selection featuring smoked Black Forest ham, bündnerfleisch, Kaltbach Gruyère, pretzel, gherkin, and German mustard (£14). At Jang the menu is far more expansive, reflecting its positioning as a dedicated restaurant space. Choi’s dishes are designed to blend the flavours of her Korean heritage with Japanese influences and include yuk hwe, a combination raw beef with gochujang, charcoal oil, ssam mu, pear sorbet, egg yolk, finger lime and kimbugak (£18); a take on Korean barbecue with that sees dry-aged sirloin steak served with Maldon salt in perilla oil, wasabi butter, Jang chimichurri, pollock roe, chilli and cherry tomato jangajji (£36); and an Iberico ‘bossam tower’, pork belly slowly cooked in a doenjang broth and served with white and red endive, oyster, endive kimchi, and ssamjang (£29 per person). A selection of sushi and sashimi also features (£24 - £44).


To drink: ​Cocktails are the focus at both Engel and Jang. At the latter the selection is shorter and features a range of fruitier options such as a ‘royal mimosa’ with Telmont Réserve Brut, fresh orange juice and kumquat (£15); and a ‘shiso blossom’ with Mount Gay Eclipse rum, cherry and shiso syrup, grapefruit juice, lime, Franklin & Sons soda water (£16). The cocktail menu at Engel, curated by Burca, references Berlin’s rich culture and history, with twists on vintage cocktails served in artistic glassware. One drink, ‘skandal’, takes inspiration from Anita Berber, who led a life marked by scandal and was famed for her provocative performances in Berlin’s arts and cabaret scene. The cocktail is designed to ‘mimic the decadence and excess she was known for’ and features Rémy Martin 1738, Cointreau, lemon juice, beetroot and orange cordial, ginger ale, cranberry and mint clouds, and absinthe spray (£19).

The vibe: ​Set against the backdrop of The Royal Exchange’s grand arches, Engel’s design (see main picture), overseen by Karen Taylor of Pattern Haus, features a rich jewel-toned colour palette and luxurious textures that’s intended to evoke the ‘glamorous, expressive period’ of 1920s Berlin. Jang (pictured below), in contrast, is decorated with deep red and dark wood accents and lit with crafted linen lanterns to create an ‘elegant atmosphere reminiscent of Eastern Asia’.


And another thing: ​This isn’t Gunewardena’s first venture within The Royal Exchange. While he was at the helm of D&D London the group operated the retail and dining spaces at the historic building, which at the time incorporated the Grand Café, Sauterelle restaurant, Threadneedle Bar, and the Gallery. All four sites closed in 2018 when D&D opted not to renew its leases.

Royal Exchange, London EC3V 3LL //

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