W1 Dining and Cocktails, Bangsar

Danny Thompson, W1 Dining & Cocktails, Bangsar

What do you do and how did you get into the industry?
Hello! I’m the operating director of W1 in Bangsar. Not operating like a doctor, I’m more like looking after f&b operations. I started young, around 14 years old, back in London. I used to wash the dishes in my dad’s restaurant one day a week. I soon moved to cooking in the kitchen for Sunday lunches. Next I used to help the bar one night a month for private parties. Surely enough that then moved to helping out one night a week on the floor. When I was 17 my parents went on holiday for a week. My dad gave me the keys and told me to keep an eye on the place.
I carried on working in various other bars and restaurants while seeing my self through university. After graduating I decided to concentrate full time in restaurants/bars.

Share with us an interesting story from behind the scenes.
My mentor in London was a fella called Bobby Dazzler. As the name suggests he was quite a showbiz, glitzy glam character. We ran a few bars and restaurants together and the crowd he pulled in was always A-list celebrities. We hosted parties and dinners for David Beckham, George Michael, Elton John and Richard Branson to name a few.
I remember coming into work one day, I was on the phone at the time to my mum. As soon as I had got into the outlet, the receptionist was saying “Oh Danny thank God you’re here. Joan Collins has been calling all morning, She needs you to call her back ASAP.”
I said, “Okay. The whole time my mum had been listening. She then asked, “Did i hear that right? Joan Collins?” “Yes Mum,” I replied, “What a pain, she won’t stop calling.” There was silence. Then mum just said, “Wow.”  Hahahaha.

What’s the best/ worst part of your job?
The best part about my career is that it never really felt like a job. I have been doing what I love and always loved the places I worked so I’ve not really looked at it as a ‘job.’ I’m just doing what I love – entertaining. Opening W1 has really put the emphasis back on this – taking orders, running dishes to customers, it’s great. It’s especially good as I’m so proud of the food we’re serving.

So whats the story behind W1?
I wanted to open a restaurant/bar with a London feel – not kitschy Union Jacks everywhere but somewhere serving great London dining and cocktails. British Food I felt too restricting so incorporating London gave me the freedom to not be so limiting. There are lots more things I will tie in with London over time to really capture that London feeling within W1.

What’s your favourite drink/ meal at W1?
Honestly, I don’t have one as I enjoy eating all the things on the menu. If I really had to pick one ‘cos my life was depending on it I would say the duck dumplings with black vinegar and XO sauce. But it’s like children, you can have a favourite… lol
Drinks wise I’m drinking far too many peanut butter vodka shots – yes you read that right – peanut butter vodka (our own concoction).

When you’re not getting your foodie/ drinkie fix at  W1 where do you go? 

I go all over the place. For a restaurant I love Drift. For cocktails I like Jungle Bird and for just hanging out I like Bait.

What’s one of the craziest /wildest/ scariest things you’ve seen behind the scenes?
Crazy was doing the catering at F1 one year. The amount of food we were producing was incredible. We were trying to get the customers moving through the buffet line at 1 every 9 seconds.
The wildest was being taken snowboarding in Korea by Jose Cuervo. You can probably imagine how much tequila we were drinking and all that follows after drinking the stuff.
Scariest was running a bunch of bars in London for some South London gangsters. You really didn’t wanna upset them.

The perfect day off would be…
… I’ve got two little monsters. I took them hiking a few weeks ago up to the waterfalls. So my next perfect day will be doing that again with them. However, if I wasn’t able to do that it would definitely be exploring new bars in a new city.
A day in the life of a restauranteur is… 
… pretty damn awesome – once the hangover has gone. Actually, I’m quite lucky I’m not so prone to hangovers. My remedy is head straight to a cold swimming pool and dive in.

What do you do for fun?
Make bad jokes.

What’s something you’d like to say to your guests at W1?
For all those that have been so far, thank you!!! And for all those who haven’t been yet, what are you waiting for??

What’s your favourite food and drink pairing?
Oh, interesting. I definitely like alcohol/cocktails and always good to pair with friends.

What’s in store for you in the upcoming months?
I’m expecting a big Christmas here!! We’ve got really delicious Christmas specials running throughout December. We have already got bookings for Christmas Day so its gonna be a fun month!!! And of course, I’m expecting lots of Christmas presents.

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One Comment

  1. Peanut butter with vodka? Now, that sure sounds interesting!

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