Lately, the world of art and the world of gastronomy have converged in London. Frieze co-founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover opened a restaurant-bar-bakery-deli at 180 The Strand; Sketch invited artist Yinka Shonibare to reinvent his iconic Gallery restaurant; and gallerists Iwan and Manuela Wirth have transformed a Victorian building in Mayfair into a culinary and contemporary arts destination, just in time for Frieze Week.
If you’re looking for high-end cuisine with an art side, here’s everything you need to know about the right addresses.
Between Hauser & Wirth Somerset’s Roth Bar & Grill and the art-filled Fife Arms Hotel in Braemar, Scotland, Artfarm, the hotel business of Iwan and Manuela Wirth, has brought the art world into the British countryside. Now the brand has arrived in London. Along with Parisian architect Luis Laplace, the Wirths transformed a Victorian building in Mayfair into a culinary and contemporary arts destination. September saw the opening of the Audley Public House, a restored version of the original ground-floor pub that serves draft beers, ciders, Scotch eggs and sausage rolls under a glued-in mosaic ceiling by British artist Phyllida Barlow. Works by Martin Creed (Book No. 671 (Friends)2007) and Rodney Graham (A glass of beer2005) complete the picture.
This week marks the opening of Mount Street Restaurant upstairs, where menus feature updated London classics (smoked eel and potato salad, mock turtle croquette and lobster pie) with ingredients sourced from UK farmers, growers and makers . American artist Matthew Day Jackson designed the chairs; salt and pepper shakers were inspired by Paul McCarthy Tree (2014) sculpture; and that of Matisse Smelts (Smelts) (1920) and Warhol Lobster (1982) adorn the walls. The marble mosaic floor was commissioned by American artist Rashid Johnson.
The Audley is located at 41-43 Mount St, London.
The Gallery at Sketch has become known for both its rose-hued interiors and high-profile artist collaborations, not to mention its lunch, dinner and afternoon tea menus from chefs Frédéric Don and Pierre Gagnaire. Over the past decade, founder Mourad Mazouz has invited Martin Creed and David Shrigley to reinvent the Mayfair restaurant as a work of art. This year, its 20th, Mazouz has given carte blanche to Yinka Shonibare CBE RA, whose colorful work grapples with colonialism and post-colonial identity while shedding light on Africa’s influence on European art and culture.
The British-Nigerian artist created 15 site-specific works for the restaurant: five hand-painted wooden masks and 10 framed quilts that replicate African masks found in Pablo Picasso’s collection. (“Cultural appropriation can be a two-way street,” Shonibare said in a statement.) He has also designed ceramic tableware with British brand Caverswall, featuring a Dutch wax batik pattern that the Yoruba trickster frequently incorporates into his works. Meanwhile, India Mahdavi, the Paris-based architect, designer and scenographer responsible for the restaurant’s quirky pink design, has created a golden backdrop for Shonibare’s. modern magic installation, collaborating with craftsmen from the African continent while calling on Senegalese textile designer Aissa Dione for her metallic copper wallpaper.
Sketch is at 9 Conduit St, London.
The Wirths aren’t the only artists in the world venturing into hospitality. Last fall, Frieze founders Amanda Sharp and Matthew Slotover opened Toklas, a restaurant, bar, bakery and grocery store in the brutalist cultural destination that is 180 The Strand. (They have since also unveiled the art-filled Fort Road Hotel in Margate, a seaside resort in Kent.) Toklas is named after writer and cookbook author Alice B. Toklas, who together with her partner Gertrude Stein, was the perfect dinner host.
With its sparkling tomatoes and aubergines at the edge of a swimming pool, Wolfgang Tillmans’ oversize Pomodoro (1993) chairs the dining room. There, chef Yohei Furuhashi (recently picked up from the River Café) serves up simple, seasonal dishes that change daily like risotto verde with nettle and almond and loquat pie with fresh cream. Bar serves classic cocktails with a twist Alice and Gertrude is a tribute to the venue’s namesake, while displaying Sharpe and Slotover’s collection of posters from major art exhibitions of the past half-century.
Toklas is at 1 Surrey St, Temple, London.
Follow Artnet News on Facebook:
Want to stay one step ahead of the art world? Subscribe to our newsletter to receive breaking news, revealing interviews and incisive reviews that move the conversation forward.