Damien Hirst’s reincarnated restaurant Pharmacy2, located in the Newport Street gallery in Vauxhall, the artist’s new permanent space for his collection, will launch on 23 February. Friend of the artist, chef Mark Hix, “will serve classic British and European food. Opening as a café for visitors during the day and a destination restaurant by night with medical themed interiors that will appeal to a whole new generation of restaurant goers. The original Pharmacy restaurant opened in Notting Hill in 1998 and was a co-partnership with PR guru Matthew Freud, Liam Carson of the Groucho Club and Jonathan Kennedy, one of the founders of the Quo Vadis chain.
The pharmacy-themed restaurant was an A-list haunt frequented by Kate Moss and her circle, David Bowie and Madona. The restaurant came under fire by the British Pharmacy Assoc. who sued them for copyright infringement for using their symbol on the restaurant’s sign. The changed the name but the restaurant shut their doors in 2003. The closure resulted in an auction of the interior which raised over a million pounds, with bidders scrambling to buy everything from chairs to ashtrays.
Pharmacy2 is set to serve classic British and European food, catering for visitors to the exhibitions throughout the day, and evening diners when the gallery is closed. Food on the menu includes Crushed avocado on toast with chilli (£7.25); Hunan spiced pork, celery and ginger broth (£5.95); Atlantic prawn cocktail (£9.50) and even chips with curry sauce (£3.50). The menu will include brick a l’oeuf de carnard with harissa, shaved winter squash with treviso and Graceburn cheese and crispy squid with green chilli, garlic and almonds. Puddings will include pineapple upside-down cake and poached Yorkshire rhubarb with saffron ice cream.
Chef Mark Hix is no stranger to the YBAs. He befriended Sarah Lucas and Tracey Emin when they were living nearby in the East End. “I’ve known Damien a long time,” Hix told the Evening Standard, “I got to know a lot of the artists because many of them lived nearby. At the time I had Rivington Grill, where we used to hang out, so over a period of time we got to know the crazy people.”