Fans and followers of Richard Blais now have another spot to visit with the opening of California English, where the celeb chef who’s called San Diego home for a decade now is putting his SoCal perspective on some of the UK’s best-known culinary hits.
The new Sorrento Mesa restaurant, which opens Thursday, February 2, is a project that’s been in his back pocket for many years, further encouraged by a honeymoon trip to London and the discovery that he’s more than half genetically British.
The chef’s favorite football club is also based in London, where Blais spent over a month researching his menu, which he says is more grounded in simple, proper cooking than around the high-concept, modernist techniques he’s most known for.
Created in partnership with Longfellow Real Estate Partners and located at Longfellow’s Biovista development at the corner of Mira Mesa Boulevard and Scranton Road, California English will function as an amenity for the life sciences complex, with catering and grab-and-go options for its on-site biotech workers. Still, Blais told Eater over a phone call that he’s fully intending for the 6,000-square-foot space to bring in a dining audience from beyond its campus confines.
The all-day offerings include a mash-up of SoCal staple avocado toast with the British breakfast of beans on toast, as well as a Cornish pasty filled with oxtail and bone marrow, savory scones served with clotted cream and kumquat marmalade, and a salad version of the traditional ploughman’s lunch. Other UK specialties include Blais’ take on the ultimate fish and chips and chicken tikka masala, widely considered Britain’s national dish.
A real-deal roast dinner, typically consumed in British households on Sundays, will be available all weekend here as a pre-ordered family meal featuring prime rib with Yorkshire pudding and all the fixings.
Blais, the co-host of ‘Next Level Chef’ on FOX, will oversee California English while still supervising his Carlsbad steakhouse Ember & Rye. Telling Eater that he’s still interested in creating more restaurants in San Diego, he’s currently planning an ocean-view rooftop restaurant with Longfellow that’ll be opening nearby at the company’s Bioterra campus.