The tiny southwest London enclave of Balham has just been injected with a shot of Latin magic with the arrival of Piraña, a bold new bar and restaurant with a South American flavour. Amongst the genteel family-friendly cafes and restaurants of Bedford Hill enters a cacophony of colour, conceptualised by brothers Alastair and Nicholas Heathcote and designed by Sella Concept.

Every corner of the space is touched by a bold, retro theme courtesy of Sella Concept co-founders Tatjana von Stein and Gayle Noonan, who have created a series of subtly different moods for the multifaceted outlet, which includes a chef’s table, bar, banquettes and a secluded nook featuring a private bar hatch. Bypassing obvious visual references to South America in favour of a focus on a rich and sensory palette and materials, Piraña’s design narrative is playful and adventurous. Here, timber panelled walls and bespoke jade terrazzo flooring reign supreme amongst deep red framework and upholstery, and custom furniture in a measured departure from Sella Concept’s usual penchant for pastels.

It all amounts to a striking venue, which, despite its compact size, is peppered with subdivided areas, each with a personality its own. Ideal then, for Piraña’s dual functionality as a restaurant and bar, which sees tacos, ceviches and empanadas sent out at the same time as creative cocktails like ‘An Englishman in Chile’, a concoction of gin, smoked lavender and Abba Pisco.§