Starters

Starters

By
Skye Gyngell
Contains
8 recipes
Published by
Quadrille Publishing
ISBN
9781849495806
Photographer
Andy Sewell

The Architect

Transforming Somerset House, a Grade II listed building, from a tax office to a beautiful restaurant was an ambitious project. Over the years the unloved space had been divided into smaller rooms. Sweeping, generous archways had been filled in and thick, cumbersome doors put in place. Fireplaces had been blocked up or moved to awkward places, and beautiful glass doorways had been turned into oddly proportioned windows. The impressive, tall ceiling wasn’t conducive to a comfortable noise level for a restaurant and the cornicing that framed it was ornate and brutal.

Restoring the space to its former beauty and, at the same time, turning it into a functioning restaurant was a huge challenge. We needed an inspired architect with plenty of experience. Ruth Rogers recommended Stuart Forbes, who had worked on the refit of the River Café after the fire. He visited us on site and I liked him immediately. He presented a scheme that was not only sympathetic to the space but also provided us with a really good strong back-of-house infrastructure – that would enable us to run the restaurant efficiently and allow us to grow in the future. Stuart’s assistant Roberta took up residence in our office space above the restaurant and stayed for a large part of the project.

Recipes in this Chapter

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