Storm clouds gathered over Claridge’s on Friday as the hotel’s superstar chef, Daniel Humm, vied with hotel execs over the future menu at his Michelin Star winning restaurant, Davies & Brook. As a result, Humm will hastily depart, but his exit is a painful win for the hotel and perhaps a sign of things to come for the industry?

It became clear that all was not well at the Brook Street institution early on Friday as Humm and Claridge’s went into crisis talks. The issue at hand? Daniel Humm’s intention to shift the award-winning restaurant to a fully plant-based menu. By early evening it was apparent that Claridge’s answer was ‘no’ and both the chef and his patrons put out respectful social media posts advising that the hit restaurant will close at the end of the year.

The closure is a blow to a hotel that was very much on a roll, recently opening a brand new bar, launching a new restaurant, winning a Michelin Star for Davies & Brook and even creating Mayfair’s newest art gallery. All incredibly impressive in the midst of an industry that’s been in crisis for the past 20 months.

The closure is a blow to a hotel that was very much on a roll...

Daniel Humm was very much the cherry on top. A culinary super star who had created something that critics (not to mention the people from the tyre company) loved. Davies & Brook is as compelling a draw as the venerable hotel it sits in, keeping the art decco monument in the vangard of modernity.

But perhaps not too modern. Humm’s intention to take his restaurant fully plant-based was too much.

Daniel Humm’s flagship restaurant, New York’s three-Michelin-starred Eleven Madison Park, made the switch this summer, with Humm shifting a restaurant famed for its caviar and foie gras to a fully plant-based menu.

It's unlikely to have gone unnoticed by Claridge's that the critics have not been kind to Eleven Madison Park...

It’s unlikely to have gone unnoticed by Claridge’s that the critics have not been kind to Eleven Madison Park since, with a bumpy transition and a menu that’s widely considered to not be ‘there’ yet.

 

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It’s not clear if Claridge’s have seen the numbers, but they’ve certainly viewed the model and decided it’s not for them. And while Humm wields considerable influence in New York, he does not on this side of the Atlantic. Glaring into the abyss of upsetting guests, critics and, potentially, ignominiously losing their coveted Michelin Star (which, to be fair, they will lose anyway, but at least by their own hand) it as possibly a very rational decision to part ways.

It seems highly likely that he will look now to open a plant-based restaurant elsewhere in the capital...

However, we’re incredibly sad to see still relatively new opening disappear so quickly.

Humm’s statement made clear that ‘the future for me is plant-based. This is our mission and what we stand by as a company’. It seems highly likely that he will look now to open a plant-based restaurant elsewhere in the capital.

Meanwhile Claridge’s should have no trouble finding a top chef willing to take on a space that has previously hosted restaurants by Gordon Ramsay and Simon Rogan.

Claridge’s parted ways with kind words, ‘We wish him nothing but continued success as he spearheads this bold new vision’. And so do we.

See if you can get one of the last tables at the restaurant before it closes at the end of December…


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