In January 2022, restaurateur and founder of legendary Cannes pop up Cosy Box Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini, and chef Ivan Simeoli, will open Itaku on Great Portland Street in London. Simeoli, previously of The Royal Academy of Arts, The Wallace Collection, and Michelin starred Osteria Francescana, will devise a menu serving Italian cuisine, utilising Japanese flavours and techniques.
Well-known for his celebrated long stranding Cannes film festival pop up restaurant Cosy Box now in its 15th year, Jean-Bernard is set to bring his passion for hospitality and industry experience to this new venture. The central philosophy behind Itaku will be the marrying of authentic Italian cuisine, with traditional Japanese techniques and flavours, to create a diverse and sophisticated culinary journey.
Head Chef Ivan Simeoli has over 15 years of training in high-profile London restaurants, from the Ambassador Hotel in Bloomsbury to The Royal Academy of Arts and The Wallace Collection. Simeoli will bring his infatuation for combining Italian heritage with Japanese influences to Itaku, with hero dishes including Soya Milk Poached Pork Belly with baked Umbrian Beans, Miso Cornish Monkfish with flamed pumpkin and Tuscan black cabbage, or Sicilian Red Prawns with black truffle ponzu and shiso. These dishes will sit alongside staples such as Truffle Carbonara and Seafood Linguine, or sashimi and vegetables from the ‘raw bar’. A focus on fresh, locally sourced ingredients will underpin the entire ethos at Itaku.
The drinks offering will be in keeping with the Japanese-Italian motif, with a cocktail menu curated by Nicholas Medicamento, previously bartender at The Savoy London: American Bar, featuring traditional favourites alongside signature drinks such as the East to West Manhattan including; Angel’s Envy bourbon whisky, Umeshu plum liqueur, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino and Plum and root beer bitter, or a Bloody Itaku, a Japanese twist on a Bloody Mary, with yawatawa isogoro and yuzu juice.
With interior design by Maria Morra, this will be an intimate dining space with 60 covers spread over one level, the white marbled flooring and huge skylight towards the back of the room will provide a sense of openness offset by the dark furniture and gold accents. The art selected for the space will combine high-brow with authentic local talent. A large painting from Mayfair’s iconic JD Malat Art Gallery will be hung in the centre of the room, with a Japanese inspired mural by local artist Evan Barlow snaking down the staircase to the kitchen and tying adeptly into the theme.
Itaku will be a welcome addition to the Fitzrovia and Marylebone restaurant landscape, a vibrant characterful destination open for both lunch and dinner, with distinct charm. It will be located at 110 Great Portland St, London W1W 6PQ.
For more information or to make a reservation, head over to Itaku’s official website.