We have had the culinary pleasure of testing Mark Cutler’s latest restaurant, Honky Tonk.
As Mark explained to us, the concept is simple. It stems from the traditional Honky Tonks, those common American bars on which the Rolling Stones based their song Honky Tonk Woman. “The honky tonk really is just a bit of fun.”
Mark, also owner of Supperclub London, has been involved with restaurants and clubs for 20 years, as he was head of leisure for Knight Frank, responsible for bringing concepts over such as Nobu and Quo Vadis, among many others. It is this experience that allows him to see potential where others wouldn’t, and to recognize a good concept from a bad one.
The first question that springs to mind is that of location. He explained that the site was owned and operated by a client, who asked if he would get involved, as the concept there wasn’t working. “I hesitated, thinking it was quite small and not my perfect location; however, I slowly but surely came round to the fact that in that area there is no Shoreditch-vibe good value, which is really important even in a high-end residential area.” The concept really came to him when he was in Soho looking at Burger and Lobster and other trendy restaurants; that look wasn’t in Chelsea or Fulham. “I think we got the concept spot on for that area, it has been successful from day one.”
The American-diner style restaurant is as authentic as its name, with tasty American specials, cool tunes from the Rolling Stones to Johnny Cash, and an edgy-cosy-funky décor. “It’s like a modern version of PJs. I took all the food that I love and made it really good, using only quality ingredients”. The cocktails, thanks to Nick Ford from In the Spirit Events, are truly fantastic, very creative and based mainly on American beers and bourbons; the Marmalade Margarita is a must-try. The food selection is just as exciting, created around all-American classics, with a twist of Italian and deli-inspired dishes. “Best-sellers are the ribs and the not-fried chicken; burgers are flying out, and we will soon be doing lobster”.
Cosy brick walls, worn brown-leather banquettes, white reclaimed swimming pool tiles and many quirky design features make it feel unique yet homely. “People are loving the concept, the cocktails, the décor, and the feedback is very positive”. There is also a good mix of clientele, with a lot of families for the weekend brunches and the good-looking Chelsea crowd during the week.
Honky Tonk truly manages to bring good value and a genuine American feel to Hollywood road. As the 1916 hit song Down In Honky Tonk Town puts it, it is really “where all the fun is found”.