A mashup of dim sum, Americana and a Pratt-educated architect has resulted in two highly successful Manhattan restaurants – and a new one in London.
The original RedFarm opened in the West Village in 2011. An immediate hit because of the collaboration between owner Ed Shoenfeld, chef Joe Ng and architect Jun Aizaki of Brooklyn-based CRÈME, a second opened a few years later on the Upper West Side.
Now RedFarm’s leaped over the pond to London’s theater district. It’s located in a three-story brick building in Covent Garden. Dining’s on the first two floors, with a speak-easy-style bar atop.
The design’s an evolution of the original dim sum/farm-to-table inspiration. “It’s almost like taking two things with nothing to do with each other and finding connections,” Aizaki says. “Like the communal farmhouse table – it’s for sharing.”
There’s plenty of light wood, open space, fresh-growing greens – and red-and-white gingham. “It was a collaboration with the chef, to give the food and concept a home,” he says. “It’s a dim sun restaurant that doesn’t look like it – it’s a farmhouse concept that works.”
The focal point on the ground floor is a live wall that reinforces the restaurant’s use of fresh ingredients. Menus, chopsticks, flowers and candles hang from piping above booths and communal tables, for a modern and rustic décor. The mismatched chairs are a signature detail in all RedFarm locations.
Not to mention the chef’s dumplings shaped like PAC-MAN.
If that all sounds like branding – well, it is. That’s because CRÈME specializes not just in architecture and design – but in building brands too. “The owner worked for long time to come up with the ideas for service, concept and food,” he says. “This is a timeless brand that’s able grow with confidence.”
And now it’s affecting a Cockney accent.
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Photos Courtesy of Taran Wilkhu Photography