Former D&D CEO to launch Royal Exchange restaurant

15th December 2023 | Jack Oliver

The co-founder and former CEO of restaurant group D&D London has reached an agreement with The Ardent Companies to open a restaurant, bar, and event space at London’s The Royal Exchange.

Des Gunewardena has taken 6,500 sq ft of space on a 15-year lease, occupying the north, south, and east mezzanines of the scheme’s central courtyard.

The venture will also take space on a newly-created outdoor terrace at the front of the building.

The project is Gunewardena’s first since his departure from D&D.

With the space set to open in May 2024, further details of food, drink, and design concepts will be announced at a later date.

Andrew Hilston, managing director of The Ardent Companies UK, said: “We are hugely excited to welcome Des to The Royal Exchange, and can’t wait to see his concepts come to life. Alongside existing eateries, including The Libertine and The Fortnum & Mason bar and restaurant, Des’ arrival will further burnish The Royal Exchange’s reputation as one of The City’s best places for dining and socialising.”

Located opposite the Bank of England between Threadneedle Street and Cornhill, The Royal Exchange forms an important role in the Square Mile’s current resurgence. As more workers return to offices, the scheme has seen increased visitor numbers, with footfall to date up 50% compared to last year.

Bruce Gillingham Pollard advised Ardent UK, whilst Gillingham Bell represented Des Gunewardena.


Looking for more retail news? you might find these interesting