With his investment and creative direction of the spruced up Mar de Avellanas, Jaime Hayon has come full circle. Having worked in his family’s Madrid restaurant as a waiter when he was younger and, by all accounts, completely ambivalent about the experience, he swore he would never again be involved in the business. But when Claudia Peris, his good friend and owner of the Valencia favourite approached him to be involved in its expansion, he says he didn’t hesitate.
The result is a curious mix of a homey Spanish eatery in the historic Plaza del Patriarca that’s anchored by simple Danish furniture and hand-made tiles with the sudden, unexpected appearance of angular lines, modular cut outs, brass trims and curved swathes of mirrors – in other words, evidence of Hayon’s distinctive design DNA.
‘It reminds me of 1920s Berlin and Vienna, but set in the Mediterranean,’ says the Spanish designer who has lived in Valencia since he upped stakes from his London base seven years ago. ‘This is a space I’ve always wanted: elegant, cosy and affordable. Hopefully, it’s also a space that will stand the test of time.’
Even executive chef Jose Vicente Exposito’s menu has been expanded – casual tapas, salads, paella and cocktails in a green-hued bistro called Inventario; and a more sophisticated spread of fish and seasonal vegetables in the red-tinged Mar d’Avellanes room.