Dacantus opened in October 2013 and is the newest addition to Newcastle’s Grey Street; an up and coming area situated in the city centre which is currently home to big brand names such as Carluccio’s, Jamie’s Italian and Cafe Rouge and is known locally as the ‘Platinum Strip’.
In order to stand out amongst these well-known chains, project managers Wakefield’s, main contractors Datim and interior designers Space ID have worked tirelessly to create an exciting, unique venue. The restaurant, owned by restaurateur Toni Almiron and his wife Claire provide diners with a unique Spanish dining experience.
With two other venues in Newcastle the owners were very keen to introduce a brand new Spanish restaurant to the city centre; one which specialised in the favourite drink of his homeland, Gin & Tonic. The venue boasts a delicious menu comprising of the best Spanish ingredients, alcohol and wine and allows diners to sample these delights through an assortment of tapas dishes and larger plates.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Mike Simmons, a Director at project designers Space ID, to find out more about the development. Mike said:
“The venue is extremely unique as it brings authentic Spanish hospitality to Newcastle in a cool and stylish environment. Whenever a customer orders a drink in Dacantus they receive a complimentary tapas dish; this is normal practice in Spain but nowhere in the North East does that and so the venue provides diners with something new and truly Spanish upon arrival.
“We became involved with the development through Wakefield’s, who acted as the quantity surveyors and project managers on the project, they sought us out and asked us to be involved as the project designers. We met with the client and spoke about what he wanted which was so refreshing as he already had a clear picture of the operation he wanted to accomplish and had some amazing ideas.”
The venue has been designed in line with the owner’s vision; the flamed granite bar surface accommodates guests wanting to eat their tapas dishes and drinks with the back lit onyx bar front providing subtle illumination. Authentic Spanish tiles were brought in from Spain as well as a rare and beautiful bronze sculptured San Miguel bar font designed by Lorenzo Quinn son of the famous actor.
Dacantus is actually a play on words from a type of leaf commonly found in the Mediterranean and so the venue features references to this in the wall decoration and a peacock which forms part of its logo. The restaurants ceiling has been shaped into the form of a Dacantus leaf, by the carving the parallel ceiling joists into the appropriate shape, and therefore making an impressive feature in the venue’s ceiling.
Decorative embossed wallpapers adorn the venues walls and stencils on the original timber floor add an air of elegance to the space. The venue is small, with room for just 60 covers in a venue comprising of a ground floor and the basement, which holds the back of house facilities, a wine and gin tasting cellar and the washrooms.
Mike said that the on-site team did encounter some difficulties during the planning process, especially with regards to the property’s listed status. The building is situated in one of Newcastle’s streets described as ‘one of the finest streets in England’ and so the team had to be very cautious that their works did not damage any of the historic features.
“We maintained the design criteria of the general conservation area but tried to make the venue stand out from the rest with the materials and the way we used them, using beaten copper externally this contrasts nicely with the rest of the street which relies heavily on stainless steel. We are competing with big brands and so we wanted to make the space memorable and unique.”
The venue opened in October last year and has been referred to as ‘A Little piece of Spain’ serving up an array of pork and seafood dishes. Mike commented:
“It’s been amazing to work on this project in our home city and it has also been a pleasure to work with a client who has a clear indication of what he wanted from day 1, in terms of his offer to the public. Being nominated in the Bar & Design Awards was also amazing for us. We have been trading since 2008 and this was the first time we had put ourselves forward.”