Personally, when I stroll into a restaurant for a social dinner, food is only my second thought. No, as keen designers will know themselves, my attention is immediately drawn to the aesthetics of the venue.
And I am pleased to say that restaurants, cafes and the like have certainly been taking to the world of interior design with flair. Finally I find walls as adorned as an art gallery, furniture as striking as sculpture and all the little objects that make a space personal instead of clinical - mirrors, vases, paintings, vintage toys... Really, no one wants to eat in a sparse, modern office. We want to sink into leather chairs, listen to music, be surrounded by beauty and dine until late. Here are some of my favourite places to do just that..
The Centennial Hotel - The Centennial Hotel in Sydney’s Eastern suburbs has undergone a designer’s dream renovation from the team at Luchetti Krelle (famous for their work at Momofuku Seiobo, Ananas and the Woolwich Pier). The interior is inspired by the old pubs of London, but with a dash more class. An old school world of leather and dark wood collides with modern sophistication, making it the perfect place for hiding away with friends on a chilly afternoon.
The Rushcutters - The Rushcutters embodies the perfect blend of organic and industrial, (if ever there was such a thing). Think reclaimed wood, high ceilings, brushed metal and exposed brickwork that is then brought to life with bushels of herbs, fresh produce spilling from crates and even fully grown citrus trees nestled happily in the centre of the room. Creative Director Paul Schulte is the mastermind behind the project. The relaxed decor beautifully welcomes you into a space where you may then experience a Northern European menu singing with fresh produce from chef Martin Boetz’s Cooks Co-Op.
Mr Wong - The lovely Sibella Court is in part responsible for transforming this once-nightclub into an upscale Chinese restaurant that draws crowds every night. She had a beautiful 1860’s building to work with and has decorated the many rooms with elegant and old-world touches taken from China's French colonial past. Brick walls were left untreated, French colonial furniture stretch across the floor, and collections of objects like old medicine bottles and cooking utensils give the space a layered aesthetic and a lived-in appeal that wins my approval every time.