The team behind the world’s 27th-ranked restaurant has opened a new eatery in London, bringing the French precision of Paris’ Le Chateaubriand to Mayfair. The new restaurant is called Le Chabanais, and has head chef Paul Boudier at the helm.
But as all restaurateurs know, a successful restaurant isn’t just about the food, but about the restaurant ambiance. Designer Clement Blanchet wanted to create a fine dining atmosphere that was somehow both modern and timeless. The result: the world’s first restaurant with an all-brass interior.
Brass (an alloy made of about 67% copper and 33% zinc) is thought of a very traditional metal, Blanchet told the New York Times Magazine on May 20, but that stodginess can be turned on its head by the mostly monochromatic effect of using patinated brass on both the walls and floors of the restaurant.
“The brass is very English, which reads as traditional, but it’s made contemporary by having so much of it,” Blanchet explained. “It’s obsessional.”
Indian film producer Varun Talreja, who initiated the project and co-owns the new restaurant, is hoping that the resulting restaurant ambiance will pull together multiple categories of diners: a restaurant ambiance that is casual enough that locals will want to come back several times a week and yet sophisticated and unique enough fine dining atmosphere that it will be a destination dining spot for international travelers.
In addition to the grand brass dining room, the restaurant incorporates a private dining room and a basement lounge serving craft cocktails. There, the décor features padded green leather and a more intimate feel — a nod to the restaurant’s Paris namesake, a notorious Belle Epoque-era brothel (branded in some PR materials a bit more modestly as an “absinthe den”) that drew celebrities and bohemians including Cary Grant and Toulouse-Lautrec in its heyday.
Despite earlier plans to open its doors in March, Le Chabanais officially opened May 25. Critics will be keeping a close eye both on the restaurant’s food and its financial performance.
Like with anything else, making a good first impression is critical in the restaurant industry. Being able to create a mood and ambiance that encourages diners to stay or return to the establishment is one of the primary ways a restaurant can succeed. Restaurant ambiance allows for diners to feel like they are part of an experience. In many ways, a fine dining atmosphere is as important as the food and service. But what is ambiance in a restaurant?
If you were looking for a restaurant ambiance description you would get as many different answers as people that were asked. Some look for a bright and loud space, a room conducive to socializing. Others are looking for something dark and quiet, ideal for a romantic evening out. Restaurant ambiance is one of the major factors that go into the decision to visit an establishment. Many restaurants have gone out of business by choosing to invest in the wrong kind of decor. Hopefully by choosing such a uniform and classic look, Le Chabanais will be open for years to come.