Soutine — London, UK
Continuing to reassure London’s ever evolving restaurant landscape, Corbin & King’s newest venture has quietly opened in St. John’s Wood, adding to the group’s growing assortment of relaxed neighbourhood cafés.
Once again, Jeremy King, together with Shayne Brady of London-based studio Brady Williams, took care of the design, transforming a period building into an informal rendezvous inspired by Paris’ great boulevard cafés. Taking its cues from the neighbourhood’s artistic heritage, in particular the nearby St John’s Wood Art School, the restaurant subtly references the Arts and Crafts Movement, layered with decorative Edwardian design details. ‘Our ambition with Soutine was to design a restaurant that would have been familiar to the artist who studied at St John’s Wood Art School,’ explains Brady.
And so, an ornate stained-glass skylight sheds a natural glow over rich maple timber furnishings – upholstered in tactile brown leather or floral patterns – custom-made putty-hued mosaic flooring, wooden wall panels – embellished with Edwardian Lincrusta panel inserts – and an impressive display of art. This includes a Michael May mural that nods to the local area with a depiction of the nearby Lords cricket pavilion, and the abstract still life by artist Jean Hélion, whose early work draws from Russian-French painter Chaïm Soutine, the restaurant’s namesake.
The best seat in the house is, no doubt, the grapevine-carved timber bar, topped with a pewter and granite countertop. Here, under the warm glow of linen-shaded table lights, linger longer over comforting French classics from the deliciously gooey Croque Monsuer to the Confit de Canard served with braised puy lentils. The escalope de veau Viennoise is a particularly comforting treat. Follow this with the Coupe Lucian – a deliciously indulgent ice cream dessert in honour of Lucian Freud who was a daily fixture at The Wolseley – and wash it all down, of course, with a glass or two from the restaurant’s extensive wine list. §