New London restaurant, bar, bakery and grocery shop Toklas has opened its doors. Housed in a brutalist building dating back to the 1970s, the new 70-cover restaurant on London’s Surrey Street, off The Strand, is the brainchild of Frieze magazine and art fairs founders, Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover. The restaurant, named after the writer Alice B Toklas, nods to the love of food she documented in her eponymous 1954 cookbook, with an elegant, mostly fish- and plant-based Mediterranean menu.

Design details are carefully considered throughout by Stafford Schmool, formerly of the Barbican Centre and the British Council. Vintage design accents, such as a reclaimed parquet floor, reclaimed iroko table and counter tops and Børge Mogensen chairs, make an elegant foil for the bespoke pendant LED lights and comfortable green leather banquettes. A large 1993 Wolfgang Tillmans photograph commands the attention in the dining room; in the bakery, custom units make a continental display for the fresh breads and patisseries.

table with plates of fish and glasses of wine

‘It’s a simple, straightforward, modern aesthetic with good, natural materials and several vintage elements – Børge Mogensen ‘People’s Chair’, a teak parquet floor from a library in the north of England, and bespoke lights by Stafford Schmool based on a 1960s form but with updated LED technology,’ Sharp and Slotover say. ‘There is a sliding wall that makes the space very flexible. The stone exterior has elegant straight lines, which are in keeping with the midcentury feel of some of the furniture and fittings.’

Head chef Martyn Lyons nods to Italian, French and Spanish influences across a light menu featuring dishes such as halibut with girolles and coco beans; kingfish crudo with fennel and caper leaf; and broccoli with farro, goat’s curd and black garlic. Up to 100 diners can also be accommodated on a large terrace, with 50 more covers available in a chic bar. §

dining room with wooden chairs
green leather sofa and wooden table
white plate with chocolate cake on