The philosophy of restaurant design

Published on host. Milano. on 17th April 2015:

The Corner Room

In London, restaurant design is surprisingly powerful in its subtlety.

Think, for example, of a restaurant with stripped back lighting, bare walls, white tiles and chrome fixtures. Who do you imagine will dine in such a restaurant? And what kind of food will be served? Now, what about a restaurant with plush banquettes, aged-wood panelling and framed paintings? Has your diner aged by a couple of decades?

As in other parts of the western world, a well designed restaurant in London might get mentions in a magazine, gain kudos in awards or even attract the right type of clientèle. Followers of restaurant psychology might even argue that the right restaurant design can increase the average spend of the diner, making restaurant design an incredibly powerful tool for the restaurateur.

Meanwhile, restaurant design in China is a wholly different ball game. Here, it’s less about the fine-tuning and more about the turnover.

Now, we’re not talking about the European restaurants in Shanghai which aspire to their international counterparts. Nor are we talking about international hotel restaurants which are inspired by a brand identity. Rather, we’re talking about restaurants for the mass market.

According to one restaurateur I spoke to last year, a successful restaurant will need to redecorate once every two or three years to maintain a sense of “newness” for its diners. A restaurant that hasn’t been redecorated for seven years or more is basically on its last legs and will have seen dwindling visitor numbers for some years.

The reason? Competition.

The number of restaurants in China is so incomprehensibly large that the only thing which distinguishes between them is that sense of newness. Here, restaurant design isn’t built to last but rather, just until its shiny edge has worn out.

Festival Sud de France: bringing Setois joie de vivre to London

Published on Yahoo Lifestyle UK & Ireland on 22nd August 2013:

When we think of the South of France, we immediately picture the shimmering blue of the Côte d’Azur. Its perfect coastline and gastronomic offerings are certainly hard to forget.

But while the French Riviera throws up some tasty treats, don’t forget to look west towards the Étang de Thau. There, protruding on the coast, is the commune of Sète, a place that’s nourished by the Étang (lagoon) on one side and the Mediterranean sea on the other.

What Sète has to offer

In Sète, life is slow. There are plenty of Parisiens who move to the area in search of a certain joie de vivre – sunny days by the beach combined with good food and great wines.

Read more at Yahoo!

Uppity eating: 10 London eateries with bird’s-eye views

Published on CNN on 4th June 2013:

The opening of the first restaurant in the Shard, the tallest building in the European Union as of early this year, has upped the ante in the London altitude dining stakes.

One company, Dinner in the Sky, takes the concept to perhaps its ultimate conclusion: guests are strapped into their seats around a table and hoisted 100 feet into the air by crane.

There chefs prepare a meal for them in situ from a central kitchen area.

But you needn’t risk spilling your aperitif onto gawkers below to enjoy elevated eating in the British capital. There are plenty of more comfortable indoor options.

Beginning with the Oblix at the Shard, we take the measure of 10 of the best — and most thrilling — uppity eateries in London.

Read more at CNN