Consider a global foodie tour of impressively decorated diners
Time Out staff
Time Out’s team of global restaurant critics has teamed up with the Restaurant & Bar Awards to commend restaurants in cities around the world with stunning design. Here, we’ve put together a small collection of our favourites.
Ku Dé Ta in Singapore Ke Dé Ta is the epitome of modern Singapore, perched as it is at the top of the iconic Marina Bay Sands SkyPark (which also hosts the almost-as-iconic infinity pool). The multi-tiered restaurant and alfresco club lounge offers a direct view looking across Marina Bay towards the city’s ever-growing skyline and has arguably the city’s best views. Designed by Elaine Jamieson of Positive Partnership (also behind Hong Kong’s Peak), the restaurant follows a simple, clean design aesthetic, with natural wood and marble tones while the club lounge offers a more cosy, mysterious look with black drapes and hidden alcove seating. Marina Bay Sands SkyPark, 1 Bayfront Avenue, Singapore.
Bardot in Barcelona Lázaro-Rosa Violán is one of the best-kown restaurant designers in Barcelona. His latest accomplishment is Bardot. Here Violán’s objective was to offer a haven for customers at any time and in any culinary situation. Bardot has been optimised for breakfasts, snacks, tapas at the bar, restaurant meals, coffee, drinks, cocktails, dinners, tastings – all make perfect sense in this versatile spot. Its curious layout sites the kitchen in the middle, so diners are always guaranteed a show. Carrer Enric Granados, 147, Barcelona, Catalonia (+34 93 200 22 14).
Society Bistro and Lounge in Beirut Anyone who’s ever visited Beirut knows that the city has a soundtrack, and it’s provided by an obnoxious chorus of car horns. It’s a treat, then, to find a spot where you can get a bit of peace and quiet and Society, nestled in the upscale Saifi Suites, is one of them. Don’t be fooled by the blandly glamorous name, though – stepping into Society and looking up at the ceiling is like a sneak preview into your night’s sleep after consuming the entire cheeseboard. Sculpted installations, which include backlit symbols and clouds of luminescent blown glass grapes sourced from the Lumière Group, give the space a surreal, dreamlike quality. Maroun Naccache Str, Saifi, Beirut, Lebanon (+961 158 1999).
Sketch in London This huge restaurant/bar complex remains the biggest, boldest and most bonkers in town. But there’s method to the madness. The site houses The Parlour, an over-the-top Victorian-themed bar; the Lecture Room and Library, a lavish fine-dining space at the top and a large restaurant called the Gallery. In its heyday, this featured a vast blank wall where videos were projected, turning the whole dining room into an art installation. To mark its ten-year anniversary in 2012 the space was redesigned by Turner Prize-winning artist Martin Creed – it’s now a riot of geometric colour (known as Work No 1,343), but many of the original quirks remain. 9 Conduit Street, London, UK (+44 20 7659 4500).
Eleven Madison Park in New York This art deco stunner is one of Gotham’s current fine-dining titans. In a setting of soaring, 35ft-high ceilings, regal windows and chevron-patterned terrazzo floors, diners sink into handsome black leather chairs for a gastronomic show. Servers grind carrots tableside for an excellent vegetarian tartare and unveil smoke-filled cloches of sturgeon for a dramatic twist on the city’s culinary traditions. Reinforcing the august Gotham theme is Stephen Hannock’s New York Nocturne – a series of paintings based on vintage photos of Madison Square Park – hanging over the dining room. 11 Madison Avenue at 24th Street, New York City, USA. (+1 212 889 0905).
Rockpool Bar and Grill in Sydney The first thing that hits you when you enter the 1936 City Mutual Building – considered by many the finest art deco building in Australia – isn’t the pristine stone and brass work. It’s the smell. Push through the heavy brass doors and be greeted by a mingling of grilling meat, wood fire and leather. Breathe it in as you look up at the grandeur of the room. With incredibly high ceilings, Manhattan-style art deco architecture and private dining rooms including a dress circle upstairs, Rockpool Bar & Grill is like something out of Mad Men. 66 Hunter Street, Sydney, Australia (+61 2 8078 1900). For more information on Time Out’s favourtie restaurant designs visit restaurantandbardesignawards.com.