Introducing a truly exciting eatery to the heart of central London, Aulis London is a must for those who want to try something a little different when dining. Named in homage to Aulis Lehtimaki – the Finnish chef and artist who worked closely with Simon Rogan in the early days of the two-Michelin star L’Enclume – Aulis London features only eight seats, making it the most bijou restaurant in the city.
By day, the space operates as a culinary workshop for Rogan and his team of chefs as they experiment with innovative dishes for Rogan’s other new restaurant, Roganic – a permanent venue for his cult 2011-2013 pop-up eatery of the same name – which is due to open on Blandford Street, Marylebone next month. Then, when night falls, Aulis London opens its doors to (very) select groups of diners, where they can try out the new culinary creations as they are prepared before their eyes at the table. Guests are encouraged to arrive with an open mind, as each evening’s multi-course tasting menu will have been made on the day, complete with wine pairings from sommelier Pierre Brunelli. The kitchen is helmed by head chef Rafael Cagali, previously of Fat Duck and Fera at Claridge’s.
On the eve of the preview dinner, I make my way to Aulis London with no small degree of anticipation. Tucked away in a tiny space just off Wardour Street, the plain-fronted restaurant is a pleasingly anonymous escape from the hustle and bustle of Soho. The eight of us gather at the rectangular table on one side, facing the chefs as they cook, taste and arrange on the tiny built-in stove and preparation space, happy to chat. Though the restaurant’s design is stripped-back and coolly contemporary, the mood is decidedly warm and relaxed, complete with a somewhat unexpected but nonetheless fun playlist of cheesy 80’s hits.