A good restaurant is somewhere you want to sit for hours. Somewhere humming with just the right level of conversation, glowing with perfectly moody lighting, and distinctive in the impression it leaves. In short, a good restaurant must have carefully crafted interiors.
Restaurants have become one of the outlets for the some of the world’s most creative and innovative interior design, turning many a humble eatery into a far more dramatic banqueting house. Here are some London and New York restaurants which will satiate the design-hungry eye as much as they will delight the discerning tastebud.
Sketch, on London’s Conduit Street, is surely the original in high-drama dining. Though it opened almost ten years ago, the restaurant’s visionary interiors remain untarnished by time and it is still a place to be seen. The Gallery, where conversation reverberates around the domed ceiling and mismatched chairs and lights create a colourful frenzy, was conceived by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed. The Parlour is more darkly atmospheric, and even the egg-shaped bathroom pods make a design statement.
Bangalore Express, also in London, has harnessed interior design to a rather different end, re-creating the experience of rail travel in India. The dining booths are cleverly stacked on top of one another, with ladders taking diners up to the precarious-looking upper tables. The perfect recipe for organised chaos and a fun-filled meal.
Les Trois Garcons
Meanwhile, Les Trois Garcons in Shoreditch will whisk you into a wonderland brimming with curiosities, from a giraffe’s head to hanging handbags. The restaurant is housed in a lavishly converted pub from 1880, and is famed for the verve of its décor as well as the spin it puts on classic dishes.
In New York, Brooklyn barbeque restaurant Fette Sau has carefully created a rustic feel to match its local meats and craft beers. With rusty tractor seats on the barstools, wooden picnic tables, and white tiles, Fette Sau is somewhere between a country barn and a butcher’s – only not so bloody. But it’s most certainly one for carnivores, as the walls are etched with cuts of meats.
The East Village is home to a truly extraordinary little restaurant – Panna II, an Indian comfort food place that is best known for being completely covered in Christmas lights all year round. It may not be terribly chic, but who could fail to be cheered up by fairy lights?
The Standard Grill
The Meatpacking District’s Standard Grill is a little more refined, falling somewhere between the perfect bistro and a members’ club in appearance. It doesn’t make too many statements, but manages to create the perfectly enticing atmosphere that befits good dining with its comfy leather seats, low lighting from the table lamps and checked tablecloths.