Restaurant Uses Unusual Metal Decorating to Set Itself Apart

Le ChabanaisThe 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 ambiance. Designer Clement Blanchet wanted to create an interior 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 ambiance will pull together multiple categories of diners: a restaurant that is casual enough that locals will want to come back several times a week and yet sophisticated and unique enough 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.

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