At 7am on Wednesday, the Wolseley, a West End diner frequented by a mix of financiers, dealmakers and celebrities, will throw open the doors to its first outpost in the City of London.

The launch of the Wolseley spin-off, which occupies the site of a grand former department store opposite London Bridge known as the “Gateway to the City”, marks the biggest restaurant opening of the year in the Square Mile, costing an estimated £10mn.

It comes as London’s financial district presses ahead with efforts to redefine itself as a destination for restaurant-goers, day trippers and tourists in a push to offset the drop in office workers’ footfall since the shift to hybrid working following the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of restaurants in the City fell by 28 per cent between September 2019 and September 2023, outpacing the rate of closures across the capital, according to research by industry tracker CGA and consulting group Alix Partners.

But in the past year the district has stemmed the tide — losing just 1.3 per cent of its sites, the lowest rate of decline for any inner London district.

“Things have definitely picked up in the City,” said Baton Berisha, chief executive of the Wolseley Hospitality Group, which was founded by famed restaurateur Jeremy King before he was ousted by majority owner Thai-based Minor Hotels last year.

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