The Portobello Pub Company, the pub and restaurant operator, has completed on a deal to purchase the London-based, award-winning neighbourhood bar-restaurant business, Darwin & Wallace.

The acquisition will add seven high-volume venues located in key London ‘villages’ including Battersea Power Station, Clapham Old Town, Wimbledon and Richmond.

Darwin & Wallace will continue to operate under the same name, and continue to provide its high-quality, all-day drinking and dining offer.

The Mel Mariott-founded business is known for its high standards, award-winning design, and its sustainability credentials and commitments.

The acquisition means the enlarged Portobello Pubs business now comprises 27 sites, with plans to further grow the group, including the Darwin & Wallace collection, via selective acquisitions.

Darwin & Wallace was founded by Marriott in 2012, backed by leading private equity firm Imbiba and approximately 200 smaller individual shareholders, via the government’s Enterprise Investment Scheme.

The deal will see Marriott step down from day-to-day operations, with the enlarged group led by Richard Stringer, managing director of Portobello Pub Company. The rest of the existing Darwin & Wallace senior team will remain in place.

Commenting on the development, Mark Crowther, chairman of Portobello, said: “This is a fantastic acquisition for Portobello, bringing an extremely successful and high-quality business under our umbrella. It represents a fantastic opportunity for us to blend our existing high-quality estate of pubs and restaurants with a collection of truly excellent and premium high-street hospitality venues.

“Mel and her team have done an extraordinary job in creating and building the business over the past decade, and we’d like to thank her for trusting us to be careful custodians; we are looking forward to taking Darwin & Wallace to the next level. We’d also like to thank the teams at both Imbiba and Zetland for supporting this deal, enabling us to start this exciting new chapter at Portobello.”

Mel Marriott, founder and managing director of Darwin & Wallace, said: “I am incredibly proud of what we’ve built at Darwin & Wallace and am immensely grateful to everybody who has been a part of this journey. While it’s the end of an era for me, what we have created is truly special and I am looking forward to watching the business continue to flourish under the stewardship of Mark, Richard and the Portobello team.”

Darwin & Wallace operates seven sites across London in total, at: Battersea Power Station, Canary Wharf, Chiswick, Clapham Old Town, Ealing, Richmond and Wimbledon.