Legendary Spanish restaurant La Sala is gearing up for an ‘English invasion’ as it takes its unique social dining experience beyond the Iberian Peninsula for the first time.
Buoyed by the success of its four Spanish sites, La Sala intends to open its first UK restaurant in Chigwell, Essex later this year.
The group is backed by a consortium of investors from the football world including Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Stephen Carr.
The chairman of the UK business is James Horler, who made his name building La Tasca restaurants into a nationwide success story, before selling the chain for £135m in 2007.
He said the aim is to create a complete dining and entertainment experience with a varied menu based on its flagship restaurant in Marbella. The brand has set a target of launching six sites in the next two years.
“I’m really excited about this opportunity as La Sala is a totally different concept and the right brand to bring to the UK at this time,” he said.
“The La Sala brand already has international recognition and we’re aiming to transfer this proven formula of atmosphere, quality, exceptional service and value to the UK.”
Sala Group Holdings recently instructed global property advisers, Colliers International, to find sites over 6,000 square feet for the international restaurant and late-night bar concept, predominantly in affluent locations around Essex, Surrey and Hertfordshire.
The first La Sala location in the UK will be a prominent site on Chigwell Road, Woodford Green, formerly occupied by the White Hart Inn, with convenient access to London Underground and the M11.
The building will be transformed to create a unique La Sala atmosphere in the heart of Essex.
“I’ve already been out to Spain with our design team so that they can embrace the entire La Sala experience and recreate its unique essence here in the UK,” added Horler. “We will be looking to roll out a second site within 12 months, with a third to follow, maybe in West London.”