A stylish mix of classical elegance and contemporary chic, Aquila Restaurant is Bristol’s popular brand new fine dining destination, offering a modern authentic Italian menu and catering for 160 covers.
Located at 30-34 Baldwin Street and spread over two beautifully designed floors and a basement, Aquila (meaning Eagle) represents a multimillion pound investment from owners Barrs Court Holdings Ltd, a Bristol company based in Brislington.
The project to create the new restaurant – carried out to a tight programme of just 13 weeks – involved the internal fit out of a basement and the two floors above of an existing building by main contractors WFC, who have been highly praised for their work.
Owner Peter Dunford told Premier Hospitality:
“We were over the moon with the finish of the new restaurant. WFC came across at the tender stage as being very professional. The last two restaurants they fitted out were at The Shard in London, which is a very impressive track record. Their work has exceeded our expectations and we are very happy indeed.
“We bought the building about two years ago as an empty shell. It took a while to obtain planning permission because there were apartments above the restaurant. We drew up some initial designs ourselves and then had the concept design, based on these, carried out by Pope Baron.”
The basement level incorporates staff areas including shower rooms and offices, as well as a wine cellar and storage area. The ground and first floor are the main dining areas, with 60 covers, a bar and a large open plan kitchen on the ground floor and 100 covers and a bar on the first floor. A food lift serves the first floor to avoid staff having to carry trays up and down the stairs.
“We tried to create a restaurant that was classical yet contemporary at the same time. I didn’t want it to look like a nightclub, because this would put off older diners – yet if the design was too classical it would probably not attract younger people,” said Peter Dunford.
The result was a distinctive combination of cream leather button-back fixed seating booths and dark wood furniture, together with decorative features such as bevelled mirrors, chandeliers, a chrome and glass passenger lift and blue L.E.D. lighting. Lighting was considered very important, so several statement lights were installed, combined with soft mood lighting in the remainder of the restaurant. Feature panelled walls – one of which is hung with hexagonal mirrors in a ‘honeycomb’ effect – add to the sophisticated ambience.
Two particularly striking design features are the restaurant’s specially commissioned glass and oak staircase, together with a glass balustrade viewing area on the upper level restaurant. The viewing area allows diners to see through to the lower floor and is highlighted by a three metre long glass chandelier which hangs through the void between the first and ground floor.
The kitchen is all in stainless steel and has been fitted with Electrolux’s brand new Thermaline range – only the second of its type to be installed in the whole of Europe.
“Our chefs are all certainly very happy with that – I don’t think any of them have ever worked in such a top of the range kitchen,” said Peter Dunford.
Works on the project included the installation of all building services including heating, lighting and air conditioning, as well as all the fixtures and fittings, the fitting of the new kitchen and its associated services and the installation of new toilets, plus complete re-decoration.
Peter Dunford said:
“Our investment reflects our passion for great Italian food, and our passion knows no bounds. Our commitment to bringing the best in fine dining to the people of Bristol is paramount.”
Tailor Made specialise in the design, supply and installation of commercial kitchens and bars. The company has been in operation for more than ten years, but collectively has more than 50 years’ experience in the industry.
Tailor Made work with public and private sector clients, within the education sector and in the retail sector, particularly within casual dining. Tailor Made work with national chains, independents and start-up companies UK wide.
Working on Aquila, Tailor Made designed and installed the kitchens, cold rooms, wash up areas and back bars. In addition, Tailor Made installed the venue’s custom made Therma Line island suite, of which there are only a small number in the UK.
Campbell Grant, said:
“Aquila is a superb flagship, modern restaurant in our home town. We are especially proud of everything we do in Bristol and we were delighted to work with the Dunford family to create such a fantastic restaurant. It’s a real credit to Bristol.”
“At Tailor Made we pride ourselves in our personal service. We are not a faceless company. We love helping our clients achieve their full potential on projects. Our team is professional and personal and we tailor everything we do to deliver a first class product and service.”