The Gist: London’s first modern Swiss fine dining restaurant, packed with theatrical flair.
The Chef: Aarik Persaud
Location: 18-20 Rupert St, London W1D 6DF
Food in 5 words: Dishes to make you melt
See more: heritagerestaurant.co.uk
How did we get here?
With enough cheese to test even the most steadfast London vegan’s resolve, Heritage arrives at the end of June slap bang in the middle of the West End with a menu that blends traditional Swiss cooking with modern techniques.
Fronted by chef Aarik Persaud – formerly of Chewton Glen in Hampshire and The Butchers Club in Hong Kong – Heritage lays claim to the title of first modern Swiss restaurant in the English capital, with classic Swiss staples such as fondue, raclette, and rösti given luxury makeovers in the 80-cover venue.
Heritage will be the latest addition to real estate investment group Shaftesbury’s London restaurant portfolio, which also includes Hovarda, The Palomar and Xu.
“I really love the Swiss food and culture but think the cuisine is a bit too traditional,” said Canadian-born Persaud of his first London opening. “We wanted to bring it up to date and make it modern and be creative.”
While the likes of French and Spanish cuisine have enjoyed new leases of life under modern-thinking chefs across Europe since the turn of the century, Swiss has been rather stuck in its ways, with very little modern fine dining options to be found beyond the snowy alpine peaks and affluent inner cities of Switzerland, Northern Italy and Eastern France.
A big part of Persuad’s modernisation of Swiss cuisine will be the structure of the bill of fare, with Heritage boasting “an elegant menu designed for sharing” – think dishes such as a seafood fondue (served with half a lobster, red prawns, smoked salmon ‘royal fillet,’ crispy skin and pickles) and a raclette with Cobble Lane Cured charcuterie (a daily chosen selection of ham, salami, bresaola, saucisson and house gherkins).
It’s not all about sharing, however, as a selection of small plates also inhabits the menu, including a lobster and roasted fennel tart with sheep’s milk tome and pine nut relish, and a dry-aged steak tartare with a beetroot and yoghurt dressing, crumbled egg yolk and caperberry.
A charcoal grill, meanwhile, deals with dishes such as a Trenchmore wagyu burger (served with raclette, truffle and bacon jam, sweet onion and pickles) and a buckwheat spätzle with sweet peas, walnut crumble and a wild garlic and oat velouté.
What’s different about it?
As well as being a Swiss fine dining pioneer in Soho, Heritage will also be something of a theatrical spot, in keeping with its West End surroundings.
Tableside fondue service will be a big pull, though diners will also have the option of grilling their own meat on individual charcoal grills at the table, a cooking method known as ‘charbonnade.’ This will be available in three version: Dingley Dell pork belly and fillet, chateaubriand of Dedham Vale beef and a seafood medley that includes a whole native lobster and scallops.
While all the cheese at Heritage will be sourced exclusively from Switzerland, the large majority of ingredients will be from leading UK suppliers and farms.
Along with a spacious dining area, Heritage has an open ‘theatre-style’ kitchen, while a semi-private dining area seats up to 14 people for banquet-esque feasting.
You’ve got to try…
Aside from the lure of fine dining fondue, Heritage will have three rösti options – the Forman & Son smoked salmon, goat’s curd, keta roe and dill variety is particularly decadent.
Sparkie also likes…
The raclette with Jersey Royal potatoes and spice-rubbed asparagus. Classic Swiss grub with an elegant twist.
You’ve heard of cheese and don’t mind sharing.