The melding of the art and culinary worlds is nothing new, but Mayfair’s Mount St. Restaurant is setting the bar high. Circa fifty-million-pounds high.
Using art as a medium to enrich the dining experience, restaurants globally are positioning themselves as much a cultural moment as a dining experience. Mount St. Restaurant – one of London’s newest and most talked about dining spaces – presents this pairing in an exciting new way.
The extension of an artist’s vision onto and beyond the plate has been happening for years and hospitality groups are increasingly placing art and food in contact to up the ante when it comes to sensory feasts.
Katy Wickremesinghe, founder of KTW & The Wick, notes: “food and drink have been represented through art in multifaceted ways throughout history. Both are a platform for creativity, expression and a playground for sensory exploration, often acting as a cultural blotting paper of our time.”
Mount St. Restaurant – the newest venture from ArtFarm, the hospitality arm of Hauser & Wirth – is a collection of beautiful rooms, each one more intricate than the next, and offers an exciting art proposition that sparks a multi-sensory experience.
Here, an immersive experience brings together food, drink, culture and art, where the senses of the tastebuds are rivalled by visual stimuli for thought-provoking dining. Open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Mount St. Restaurant’s menu is inspired by London’s culinary history and presents a culinary and artistic journey in an exciting new way.
Created in collaboration with Paris-based design and architecture studio Laplace, what’s most unique about the art at Mount St. Restaurant is that it’s not simply hung from the walls, but also found across the floors and on the ceiling. You are quite literally encased by art, presented in unexpected forms.
The first floor, a light-flooded restaurant, for example, has a unique tiled-floor by American artist, Rashid Johnson. Titled “Broken Floor” (2022), this Palladian mosaic comprised of different marbles allows guests to “explore it, stand on it, interact with it physically… in ways they traditionally haven’t had the opportunity,” says Artfarm.
Another of the many artworks to strike immediately as you enter the first-floor restaurant is Keith Tyson’s “Still Life with White Carbs” (2022). This piece dominates one of the walls and encourages reflection – especially as life imitates art and the bread bowl arrives. Speaking of ordering, you can’t go wrong with the delicious venison, steak tartare or salad of salt-baked celeriac.
Placing revered art in an all-day dining concept is a wonderful way to bring culture directly into the lives of diners. We’re generally taught to believe that art as prestigious as the pieces at Mount St. Restaurant should be seen in a gallery or behind glass, but there’s a lot to be said for being in such close contact with it. It’s exciting, especially with the list of big names displayed while you dine here. Interaction with art and culture is important, and there’s perhaps nowhere better to do it than somewhere people will always gather due to a common need: the need to eat.
Located on the three floors above Mount St. Restaurant are a collection of private, Curious Rooms and – even if you’re not an art aficionado – you cannot miss the names that jump out at you. As you dine, take in well-known pieces such as: Lucian Freud’s “Self Portrait: Reflection” (1996), “A Plate of Prawns” (1958) and “Child Portrait” (1962); Andy Warhol’s “Lobster” (1982); “Éperlans (Smelts)” (1920 executed in Étretat) by Henri Matisse; and Frank Auerbach’s “Primrose Hill, Summer” (1968). Each of these and plenty more will captivate you as you relish in the restaurant’s irresistible menu.
These might be some of the best private rooms in London. The Italian Room & Bar is resplendent in Venetian design and inspired by Palazzo interiors while floors and the centrepiece bar feature Italian Verde Api green marble and artwork by Chirico. In each room, the art and design convey’s an energy to guests, one that indicates what kind of evening should be enjoyed. This is most present in The Games Room on the fourth floor, a clandestine enclave designed for naughty fun – with art to match. Spot the iconic Audley turret hidden by a curtain and look up to discover its ceiling with a hand-painted interpretation of tentacle erotica by Anj Smith.
Mayfair is one of the best spots for dining in artistic interpretations of the traditional restaurant, many of them brimming with art. Richard Caring’s 34 Mayfair and Scott’s follow this route. Kelvin Hecksher, the General Manager at 34 Mayfair, places importance on the connection between food and art, noting that “the marriage between well-placed and well-toned artwork only stands to elevate the creativity in food flavouring and paring as well as sophistication in plating, all served to capture the guest’s imagination.” A concept we can get on board with.
Spend the last month of spring admiring the recently-transformed restaurant – an emporium of art, music, poetry and, of course, the culinary arts. Adorned with a rosy pink awning and accents of Art Deco-esque pieces, as well as a unique terrace display of orchids and snapdragons, this is truly an elevated dining experience. The restaurant also boasts a private dining space, The Emin Room, which can host up to 60 seated guests or 80 standing, and is named after Tracey Emin. Look out for her art work within it as you dine on an ever-evolving seasonal menu – the rotisserie lamb shoulder with charred cauliflower and romesco sauce shouldn’t be missed.
Also from restauranteur Richard Caring, Scott’s – a much-loved seafood restaurant and oyster bar – is another great example of the creative worlds colliding. Its Platinum Arowana Room – a new private-dining addition – is mesmerising; its walls are adorned with works including those of Renoir, Miró, Chagall and Braque.
Dione Lucas, British chef and the first female graduate of Le Cordon Blue once said, “the preparation of good food is merely another expression of art, one of the joys of civilised living”, and each of these restaurants stands out for its dining options alone.
But, not only are they a space for you to meet and mingle while enjoying a plethora of delicious dishes, they also offer a unique experience to dine with artistic greats. Good food, good wine, good company and good art. There’s perhaps no better way to spend an evening.
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