Designing the interiors of the first London restaurant for Michelin-starred chef Tom Kerridge required the finely attuned expertise of David Collins Studio, the creative force behind many of the city’s hottest drinking and dining destinations. For the 4,300-sq.-ft. Kerridge’s Bar & Grill located in the Corinthia Hotel, Simon Rawlings, creative director of David Collins Studio, and his team concocted a tantalizing design recipe.
“I was very inspired by Tom, Tom’s food, the way he is with people and his hospitality, warmth and Britishness,” says Rawlings. “The experience with him, as well as Corinthia’s managing director, Thomas Koch, was very collaborative and hugely rewarding.”
The studio’s concept blends one-part bonhomie from Britain’s down-to-earth culinary personality, with one-part vibrancy from his imaginative interpretations of classic English cuisine, and then one-part intrigue from the venue’s former life as the MI5 and Ministry of Defence’s headquarters. According to Rawlings, there are indeed rumors of hidden doors and tunnels to Whitehall (the government’s administrative offices), but sadly none that they discovered. However, the interior design carries enough excitement of its own, bringing focus to the food and drink through defined areas that celebrate the provenance of ingredients while promoting intimacy and comfort.
Paneled screens create a sense of privacy in the bar—despite the imposing grandeur of its green, high-vaulted ceiling. Subtly lit columns with marble bases add to the spectacle. A private dining room gives guests a peek into the show kitchen, while the main dining room is highlighted by two finely detailed rotisseries with a pewter countertop, dramatic black tiles and pendant lights that call attention to the top-quality local ingredients. “Every table in the dining room has a view of food elements in various forms such as meat aging, rotisseries, cheese stations and bread, so there is a real connection with preparation and produce,” says Rawlings.
Central to the dining room, and under a grand rotunda with a delicate frieze, is a sculpture of an “invisible” man created by Beth Cullen Kerridge, Tom’s wife. “’Steve’ is an empty suit—representative of accountants and bank managers Tom and Beth have met with over the years,” says Rawlings. “I was delighted we had the opportunity to work with Beth. We planned from the very beginning to have a large art component in the room, but it became bigger and better than I ever imagined.”