We were appointed to deliver Yotam Ottolenghi’s new Middle Eastern fast food restaurant in Covent Garden, London. The brief was simple: “create a fun and unpretentious space”.
Inspired by the vibrant market stalls and smoking grills of the Middle East, we collectively aimed to provide a clean, bright and lively take on fast food. Working alongside the client team, lead designer Alex Meitlis and brand consultancy Here Design, we established and refined the key design principles that underpin founding Ottolenghi director Noam Bar’s new venture.
We were tasked with delivering this ambitious 40 covers restaurant into less than 200 sq/m, spread across two floors of an existing building.
The interior finishes were deliberately left raw, with minimal touches in order to keep the space “intentionally simple, inexpensive and minimal”. Bespoke encaustic tiles line both the floor and walls, taking cues from Arabic interiors and typography. A showcase of selected artworks adorns the walls, referencing Istanbul markets, spinning dervishes and dining families. Bespoke neon signage provides wayfinding throughout the space: from menu options, condiment units and hand-wash stations.
Central to the brief was to provide a genuine charcoal grill dining experience within a central London location, which was put to the test through rigorous planning and building control requirements. This resulted in a highly engineered extract and ventilation system and state of the art filtration to ensure that any cooking emissions were effectively reduced before being expelled to the exterior. A robust acoustic strategy was implemented in order to deal with the new residential properties located above the premises to ensure that key planning guidelines were adhered to.