Salt Lake City’s new London Belle Supper Club, 321 S. Main, features many shout-outs to the famous Utah madam for whom it is named.
“Regent Street has a shady past,” owner Frank Paulraj says, referring to the building’s proximity to the midblock road between Main and State streets, “and Utah should find out about its history.”
It involves Dora B. Topham — known better as Belle London — one of Utah’s most infamous madams. In the early 1900s, she ran several brothels in the area, which were actually government sanctioned.
Instead of ignoring the location’s history, Paulraj decided to embrace its sordid past. From the $14 Brothel Burger on the menu to the red velvet couches upstairs, Paulraj tips his hat to Belle London and the world’s oldest profession.
Opening a “boudoir-themed" restaurant in conservative Utah, Paulraj and his business partner, David Tran, were not sure how easy it would be to win approval from the city — or state liquor officials. But they obtained all the necessary licenses.
Executive chef Matt Anderson comes to London Belle after a recent stint at Kimi’s Chop House. It was important for him to create a menu that was a step above regular bar food, Paulraj said, and to forge an atmosphere of high-end choices — from duck confit nachos ($11) to miso fried chicken ($22), two of the restaurant’s most popular picks.
“Our menu is inspired through years of travel,” said Paulraj, who is of Indian descent. Tran is Vietnamese. They took ideas from China, New York, Los Angeles and London, among other places. And when Paulraj says London, he means India-inspired spices, because “London is known for its Indian food.”
Next to Whiskey Street — and in the remodeled Shogun space — guests can enjoy live DJ entertainment on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, beginning at 10 p.m.
The newly renovated upstairs soon will be available for larger parties to rent. On Sundays, expect an English-style brunch, with bangers and mash and curry cauliflower with tomato gravy.
Add London Belle to a growing number of speakeasy-like destinations around Salt Lake City’s Main Street. You won’t need a secret password, but be prepared to give a wink to a checkered history.
London Belle Supper Club • 321 S. Main, Salt Lake City, 801-353-8888 or londonbelleslc.com/. Open Monday-Saturday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.