Spring is an imaginatively designed new fine dining restaurant, sensitively and expertly created within the historic Grade I Listed Somerset House complex, situated north of Victoria Embankment in London.
The restaurant is headed by Chef Skye Gyngell and is her first solo venture.
The project was carried out for Somerset House Trust. The architect was Stuart Forbes Associates; the main contractors were high quality fit-out specialists Goodman Hitchens, who Stuart Forbes described as “an absolute pleasure to work with.”
Situated within the newly refurbished west wing of Somerset House, the approximately 130-cover dining and reception area of the restaurant occupies the ground floor, with back of house facilities including the main prep kitchen, back up office, staff changing rooms and refrigeration and plant areas being on the two levels below.
The main entrance to the new venue, which occupies a total of 726m2, is via a vaulted gallery.
A key design feature of the scheme is the creation of an enclosed atrium garden dining area in the centre of the restaurant, within an existing internal light-well, to which a new glazed roof structure has been added, offering a separate dining experience to the main restaurant.
The main restaurant is an airy high-ceilinged space with Dinesen oak flooring and featuring two separate bars – one of which serves the entry area, with the other serving the main dining space.
Stuart Forbes of Stuart Forbes Associates said:
“Because this is a Grade I Listed building we had to work within the existing superstructure as we could not radically change the shape and form of it. We worked closely with the council – right down to woodworking details. A major challenge was to get all the infrastructure –including the air conditioning and the extract from the kitchen – working seamlessly within the existing building structure.
“Our practice has a well-respected heritage of working with listed properties and because this is a grade 1 listed building we were able to use our experience to sensitively developed this scheme.
“Any brief we get of this type and scale is extremely interesting, mainly because they are all so very different. This project of this kind is always incredibly exciting and positively challenging for us.”
Skye Gyngell left Petersham Nurseries Cafe in 2012, after spending eight years there during which time she earned the restaurant one Michelin star. Chef Gyngell is also culinary director for Heckfield Place, a luxury country house hotel in Hampshire.
Highly acclaimed for her seasonal cooking, Skye Gyngell’s menu is guided by the changing seasons and will comprise eight starters, eight mains and five desserts. Dishes will include such items as grilled langoustine with seaweed butter; roasted turbot with porcini and bone marrow; and fillet of beef served with brown butter, anchovy and wild greens. The wine list will be mainly French and Italian wines, with some English.
According to the restaurant’s own website:
“Spring brings warmth and elegance within a beautiful dining space set in the New Wing of the iconic Somerset House, in the arts and cultural heart of London.
“At Spring food is celebrated for its conviviality and the joyfulness of sharing seasonal produce. Our cooking is heartfelt, wholesome, produce driven, and cooked by a team of people who are passionate about what they do and who feel truly privileged to work with beautiful ingredients. We hope to create an experience which not only sings on the plate but lingers in the memory.”