The pilgrimage of London’s hip urban pioneers has continued its eastward march.
The latest bastion of indie cafés and hoppy-beer bars? Hackney, a former blue collar suburb and the latest neighborhood to fall into gentrification’s grip. The Richmond, a new seafood-focused bistro reimagined by London-based interior designer Adam Bray, is the perfect illustration of the transformation. Australian chef Brett Redman, who also helms the kitchen at local favorite Elliot’s Café in Borough Market, teamed up with American stylist Margaret Crow on the project, taking over a wacky Egyptian-themed space and commissioning Bray to infuse it with a traditional pubby feel. Not the easiest of tasks.
The kitschy Tutankhamen aesthetic and Sphinx-shaped fireplaces have been replaced with café-style tables, royal blue banquettes, and muted red walls. The original floorboards were scrubbed and painted in geometric patterns to reinforce the Edwardian vibe.
“It’s a decorative device that you see in American and English interiors as far back as the 1680s and it felt right straight away,” says Bray.
Foreign design elements were employed to avoid straying from classic to cliché: A bar inspired by Japanese serving shelves, Serge Mouille–style wall lamps. “I saw some big lampshades in a Paris bistro and it seemed like a good idea; Margaret recommended making the proportions slightly odd and it worked really well.” Another good idea: A wildly successful £1 oyster happy hour that’s lured the fashion crowd out from the West End. Or is it Shoreditch?
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