Restaurateurs Robin and Sarah Gill have set an opening date for Darby’s, an oyster bar, bakery and grill in London, next to the site of the new £1bn US embassy.
Darby’s will launch at Embassy Gardens in Nine Elms on 27th May. The new venue, designed by AvroKO, has been inspired by Irish-born chef Robin’s jazz musician father Earl ‘Darby’ Gill and his time spent touring America in the ‘50s and ‘60s, and particularly the bars of Manhattan in New York City.
Robin and Sarah Gill already operate neighbourhood London restaurants the Dairy, Counter Culture and Sorella in Clapham.
Their latest venture is co-owned by head chef Dan Joines and Dean Parker, with whom Robin opened the Dairy in 2013 and Sorella in 2018. Emma Underwood, formerly restaurant manager of Mark Jarvis’s Stem in Mayfair, will lead the front of house team.
Darby’s will open its doors early for breakfast, serving pastries and cooked breakfasts including Darby’s Full Irish. Lunchtimes in the bakery will offer a selection of sandwiches from salt beef and celeriac remoulade bagels, to Darby’s house-cured mortadella and Jersey milk ricotta on sourdough bread.
Into the evening, the central oyster bar will serve Irish Dooncastle oysters, alongside dishes of native seafood such as mussels and pickles. Meanwhile, dayboat fish will be cooked on the grill and the restaurant will also serve Dexter beef with Worcester and mustard; and Oxford Sandy and Black pig with caramelised apple glaze, both to be offered in a selection of cuts. Desserts will similarly be ingredient-led, from tonka bean gelato to Pump Street chocolate mousse with caramelized croissant gelato, and a selection of Neal’s Yard cheeses.
Wesley Yeung joins from the Dairy to head up the bar, with cocktails including: the Kentucky Darby (a take on a mint julep); Mulligan’s margarita with bán poitín (a potato-based Irish spirit); and a tongue-in-cheek nod to Robin’s upbringing in Ireland, the Spud Sour. The oyster bar will also serve draught Guinness and a selection of Champagnes.
“My dad certainly knew how to have a good time, and a lot of that time was spent frequenting the bars of Manhattan. Darby’s is his kind of downtown place - somewhere for life to be lived to the fullest, with oysters on ice, pints of black, freshly made bread and the best ingredients we have at our fingertips in Britain and Ireland,” said Robin.