Flavour Bastard, London, UK
Standing out in Soho’s dense warren of eclectic eateries and rowdy drinking holes is always a difficult task. Flavour Bastard seeks to snare attention from the off, with its brash moniker and indefinable concept.
Designed by AfroditiKrassa, the restaurant features nods to Italian architect Carlo Scarpa in its elevated use of humble and unexpected materials. Hefty concrete panels clad the walls, softened by hand-applied gold leaf; whilst pebbledash – surely the most unfashionable material of all and typically associated with oh-so-grim suburbia – is reimagined as a tactile, industrial treatment for the bar and lower walls.
Bespoke wall lights, inspired by Scarpa’s sculptural work, throw pillars of light and shadow around the dining room, highlighting a colour palette dominated by deep purple. It’s an inviting vision and provides an antidote to the frenetic energy of the neighbourhood, whilst no doubt feeding off it.
The unconventional design speaks to the cuisine, which defies categorisation. Part Indian, part Middle Eastern and with fanciful Mediterranean flourishes, it isn’t grounded in any one culture, but is instead a story of various flavours that have run away from home and which now live together on Frith Street. Roast sweet potato is combined with chilli popcorn; duck egg with pickled watermelon; and glazed aubergine with peanut-buckwheat crumble on a menu composed of sharing plates and grin-inducing one-bite tasters.