Originally slated to open in 2014, StreetXO, the casual and more accessible sibling to Muñoz’s flagship three-starred DiverXO in the Spanish capital, will open in a large basement space in Mayfair. Much bigger than the original StreetXO in the gourmet food court on the top floor of Madrid department store El Corte Ingles, the London restaurant will offer diners a similar experience.
The music is loud, the interiors industrial and the lighting dimmed, making for a club-like atmosphere. In addition to the long bar with a first-row view of the action in the kitchen, intimate booths and larger tables offer much more seating than the original in Madrid.
Muñoz wants the experience to make an impression on guests. “I want people who go to StreetXO to feel like they are on a roller coaster ride that is changing all the time. When they leave they should really want to come back but they are confused – asking themselves what just happened,” he said.
On the menu diners will find food inspired by the chef’s Mediterranean roots and his travels across the world, with a particular emphasis on Asian flavours and dominated by Muñoz’s seemingly endless creativity.
An often changing list of sharing dishes that have helped solidify Muñoz’s name with foodies across the world include Peking dumplings with crunchy pig’s ears and strawberry-hoisin sauce and steamed club sandwich with ricotta cheese, fried quail egg and shichimi (a Japanese spice mixture).
Fans of the chef should not expect to see him manning the stove in London on a regular basis. Muñoz has always committed to working every service at DiverXO in Madrid and is determined to give his team opportunities to progress in their own careers, as he told Foodservice Consultant last year. “I always said I’d cook in DiverXO – StreetXO is my concept, but my team cooks the food. We have a strong team; a lot of people who have worked here many years and they are young people with a lot of talent and they want to do a lot,” he explained. “If they just work for me in a restaurant they will leave. They need to be part of something bigger.”
Having spent his formative years as a chef in London working in restaurants including Hakkasan and Nobu, opening his own restaurant in the British capital is a dream come true for the Spaniard.
“There are three cities I love more than anything – Madrid, London and New York. I lived in London years ago and it is like my second home,” he said. “We wanted to open in London or New York and I thought it would be better to open London first for several reasons and because of the shorter travel time. Then New York can come next.”