Restaurants often need to change to stay ahead of the game. Andy Lynes selects the masters of reinvention

Scratch the surface of most restaurants and you'll find layers of refurbishments, refits or rethinks.

Heston Blumenthal is well known for dishing up snail porridge at The Fat Duck, High Street, Bray (01628 580333, thefatduck. co.uk). But few people realise that when the restaurant first opened, the self-taught chef was serving classical French dishes such as steak bordelaise and chips.

El Bulli, Cala Montjoi, Roses, Girona (00 34 972 15 04 57, elbulli.com), is renowned for its cutting-edge food. But leading avant-garde chef Ferran Adria started out cooking traditional Spanish cuisine when he first took over the kitchens there.

Chef Alain Senderens shocked the culinary world when he recently closed the historic three-Michelin starred Lucas Carton restaurant in Paris. In a brave move he relaunched it as Senderens, 9 Place de la Madeleine, Paris (00 33 1 42 65 22 90, lucascarton.com), a contemporary bistro.

When top New York chef Daniel Boulud moved his fine dining Daniel restaurant 10 blocks downtown to East 65th Street, he converted the original location into Café Boulud, 20 East 76th Street, New York (001 212 772 2600, danielnyc.com). The eclectic menu includes a pot au feu that might have been served in the original Café Boulud in Lyon 100 years ago.

Northern Ireland's leading chef Paul Rankin responded to losing a Michelin star by transforming his upmarket Roscoff restaurant into Cayenne, 7 Ascot House, Shaftesbury Square, Belfast (028 9033 1532, rankingroup.co.uk), a buzzy brasserie serving everything from salt and chilli squid to pear and raspberry crumble with raspberry ripple ice cream.

Chef Tetsuya Wakuda used to serve four-course dinners in a tiny converted shop front in the Rozelle area of Sydney. Now relocated to a refurbished city-centre heritage building, the multi-course fusion extravaganzas at Tetsuya's, 529 Kent Street, Sydney (00 61 2 9267 2900, tetsuyas.com), have earned him worldwide acclaim.

Sir Terence Conran's mammoth Cuban restaurant Floridita, 100 Wardour Street, London (020 7314 4000, floriditalondon.com), used to be Mezzo's, his modern British brasserie. Before that, it was the site of the legendary Marquee Club.

The French Laundry, 6640 Washington Street, Yountville, California (001 707 944 2380, frenchlaundry.com), is a historic building with a chequered past. Before being transformed by Thomas Keller into one of the world's most famous restaurants it has at times been a French steam laundry, saloon and brothel. It was first run as a restaurant by a former mayor of the town in the late 1970s.

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