Today is the day Marcus Samuelsson brings the restaurant that made his name virtually synonymous with contemporary Harlem dining to London. Red Rooster Shoreditch is officially open in the brand new, and allegedly very hip, Curtain Hotel in that East London neighborhood.
Here’s everything you need to know about Samuelsson’s newest digs:
1. This is Samuelsson’s second Red Rooster location. And it’s the first time he’s expanded one of his Harlem restaurants (where he also has Streetbird and Ginny’s Supper Club) outside of the New York neighborhood. With Red Rooster Harlem, Samuelsson wanted “to have a positive impact on the neighborhood’s culinary landscape and its community at-large,” according to the Red Rooster website.
But, Samuelsson told Bloomberg that he’s always thought about making the move to London: “Growing up in Sweden, London has always been the big city that you have ambition for. I just felt that East London would do us a level of mystique for me — and also for our customers, in that they’ve been to London many times, but mostly on the West side.”
2. The menu will include some Red Rooster Harlem staples. About half of the menu at Red Rooster Shoreditch will be familiar to diners who have visited the original — Londoners can expect fried yard bird and cornbread, as well as the “Obama short ribs” Samuelsson first served to the president when he visited Red Rooster in 2011.
3. The London restaurant will draw on local ingredients for some new dishes. Samuelsson told the Guardian last year that “some of the dishes are going to be interpretations of East London, of the dishes of the Jewish community that used to be there and of the Bangladeshi community that’s there now.” According to London food blog Hot Dinners, those menu items include duck kitfo, with foie gras ganache and jicama, and “Uncle T’s herring,” matjes with brown butter, horseradish, fermented rice, cured egg yolk, and pickled turnips.
4. Samuelsson’s also opening a taqueria. Tienda Roosteria is on the ground floor of the Curtain Hotel. The taqueria opens for “Mexican-style breakfast” at 7 a.m. and serves tacos and tequila until 2 a.m. nightly. He told Bloomberg: “We are inspired by Mexico, but we are not trying to be authentic. We are trying to be delicious. We’re doing some tacos that are traditional and some that are not.”
Those nontraditional tacos include one that uses injera in place of a tortilla, a nod to the chef’s Ethiopian heritage, while more traditional tacos are served with housemade tortillas.
5. The restaurant doubles as a live music venue. According to London restaurant blog Just Opened London, Red Rooster will host local acts during the week and on Sundays, a live gospel choir will recreate a Harlem-style gospel brunch. There’s also a DJ booth.
Last night, Red Rooster Shoreditch’s opening party made good use of the restaurant’s musical attributes, as evidenced by its Instagram, where you can follow along to see how Samuelsson’s Harlem spot translates all the way across the pond.
• Harlem’s Best Fried Chicken Arrives in London [Bloomberg]
• Marcus Samuelsson: the restaurant king of Harlem [Guardian]
• Marcus Samuelsson's Red Rooster is opening in Shoreditch - and he's bringing tacos [Hot Dinners]
• Red Rooster [JO/LDN]