An addition to the Comptoir Libanais chain has recently been unveiled, located in the trendy South West London suburb of Kingston.
The design concept behind the new eatery was based on a ‘souk chic’ notion which echoed the Middle East. The 120-cover restaurant is located in an open-air market which allows diners to enjoy the light and airy atmosphere.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Gabriel Murray, Creative Strategist of designers Studio48London, to find out more about the project. Gabriel commented:
“We started our design work with the Comptoir Libanais about 3 years ago when we established, along with Tony Kitous, the restaurant concept design and due to our longstanding relationship we have been assisting with the restaurants on going development. At Kingston we have developed the design further focussing on the customer relationship between the restaurant and retail experience.”
Gabriel told us that the firm capitalised on the notion of ‘souk chic’ by creating an open air marketplace feel to the venue. Due to the plethora of high street retail units that have been overtaken by dining offers Studio48London wanted to make the interior of the venue a fusion of retail and leisure.
The Kingston branch of Comptoir includes Middle Eastern merchandise such as fashion items, an exotic selection of food, as well as a diverse array of drinks. Therefore diners who choose to frequent the venue will be able to peruse the array of interesting Middle Eastern items up for sale whilst they await their meals.
Main contractor, Monza Contracts, and designers, Studio48London, began work onsite in March 2013 and the venue was unveiled to the public during the May bank holiday this year. The project involved the construction of an entirely new venue and as it was located right by the river the team had to ensure that the outside space was given a lot of character and a life of its own so it did not simply blend in with the other five venues situated along the river.
Inside the venue an exposed, low ceiling gives the appearance of a large, airy restaurant. The shop front has undergone an extensive transformation and has been fitted with a new shop front, allowing customers to view the inside of the store. A selection of unique, Moroccan tiles adorns the venue’s floor and adds a bespoke, elegant feel to the space.
The onsite team encountered a few challenges because of the venue’s location next to the River Thames. Flood doors had to be fitted as a precautionary measure.
Those seeking a different dining experience are sure to be impressed with the quirky feel of Kingston’s Comptoir. An array of merchandise decorates the venues walls and an impressive large, glass counter displays the sumptuous dishes on the menu. The aim was to create a venue with a Mediterranean-retro feel to it and this was achieved by the installation of unique tiling, table cloths and Middle Eastern inspired decor.
Tony Kitous, founder of Comptoir Libanais, has already opened ten venues and is eager to introduce individuals in the UK to the food of the Middle East. The food is mainly Middle Eastern food with a European twist, as well as having heaps of Lebanese character. Diners can choose from the extensive menu which includes baba ghanoush, wraps, mezze bites, savoury flatbreads, tagines, wraps, salads, pastries and cakes. Comptoir even bakes their own Arabic bread.
Caterware Ltd specialise in the design, supply and installation of commercial kitchens, bars, serveries and all foodservice work environments . The company have been in operation for 37 years. During this time, Caterware have worked within a number of market areas including schools, hospitals, hotels, bars, restaurants and stadia/events arenas.
Caterware provide a full and comprehensive service to their Clientele, to include production of layout drawings, attendance at technical design meetings, project management, liaison with other contractors, staff equipment training, warranty management etc, all backed up by their in house service technicians and after sales service and maintenance packages.
It is their experience of working with many other established and growing branded restaurant chains that brought them together with Levant Group to assist them in the development of their Comptoire Libanaise brand by providing them with operationally effective kitchens, front service counter and bar areas which can be further accommodated within their future roll out programme.
Mark Drazen, Managing Director of Caterware, said:
“We like to work with progressive clients, looking for the quality design and quality products which we provide. We have worked on a number of Comptoir Libanaise restaurants and enjoy continuing to work with them to develop their unique brand.”
“Comptoir Libanaise are quirky, creative and ambitious. They are always striving for design and operational improvements, within structured cost constraints, in order to provide a wonderful environment and eating experience for their own customers. This in turn creates various challenges, pressures and demands on our own resources, skills and abilities of which we are proud to accommodate and provide.”