Located in Cobham, Surrey, is a stunning new restaurant boasting fine modern Mediterranean cuisine. La Rive has taken over the previous site of La Capanna, an Italian restaurant better know for its charming medieval setting.
Finally opening its doors to the public, the Provencal restaurant celebrated its opening on Thursday 17th September, with complementary drinks and canapés for guests, in addition to the chance for booking a table in the main dining area or the blossom adorned conservatory.
The 124 cover restaurant brings Modern French Mediterranean cuisine to Cobham, with both the décor and the menus creating an exciting mix of the old and new, with influences of Provence throughout. The restaurant developments began in October 2014, with work finalised this September, just before the opening.
In order to discuss the restaurant project, Premier Hospitality caught up with Interior Designer Harriet Forde, Managing Director of Harriet Forde Design Ltd. Harriet said:
“The restaurant is divided into two areas – so there is a main restaurant which is a timber structured building with a double height ceiling and a mezzanine floor. Merging from that is the conservatory which is a glazed building that leads onto a patio garden and down to the River Mole, offering beautiful views and a sense of tranquillity.
“During developments, we maintained the main timber structure of the restaurant as it is, and carried out soft refurbishment on that area. We also spent some time looking at lighting, floor finishes and artwork, made it less cluttered and lit the space properly with the help of a lighting designer and made a rearrangement with the furniture layout.”
A beautiful ceiling of blossom was added to the conservatory, giving it a romantic touch, as was a large limestone fireplace at the far end of the room, visible to guests looking in. The addition of curtains and antique mirrors also added to the charm. Collectively, the room offers a real ambience, with doors that open onto the patio gardens promising a delightful experience in both winter and summer.
Offering further options for individual groups and parties, the compelling conservatory also converts to a private dining area as well as a general restaurant area.
Entering the building, guests are greeted by a reception bar area that was completely refurbished in terms of lighting and new furniture – Harriet Forde Design replaced the banquette seating with swanky arm chairs and cocktail tables, creating a new meet and greet area. The room is timbered with low ceilings, accompanied by an upgraded fireplace that uses bioethanol so that in winter the flames will look real.
Excitingly, the long corridor that leads from the reception area to the main restaurant is deliberately manipulated to emanate a sense of darkness and moodiness, reinforced by low level lighting and innovative printed wallpaper representing a forest. This charismatic feature of the restaurant promotes a warm, rich and enchanting experience.
“The great thing about the corridor is that guests can wander down the corridor unaware of where they are going – experiencing the subtle darkness, then once they reach the other side they are greeted by this amazing timbered double height room and can then also divert off to the conservatory. Its like a little quirky story taking place.”
“It certainly is an individual building, definitely not a simple square box!”
The alluring venue boasts intimacy and a sense of warmness. Clean lines, lots of white tablecloths and clear glasses, the restaurant maintains a traditional and sophisticated attitude whilst offering a sense of originality.
Bought buy Simon Rand and chef Eric Payet, the venue promises to become a success, with its refined menu and eccentric interiors. The duo have found success locally with The Hare Bar and Grill in nearby Lingfield which they launched at the end of last year and Payet’s impressive CV and French training lead to hopes that the cuisine will scream authenticity.
Chef Eric Payet’s love of Provencal and Mediterranean cuisine is presented with individual style and flair. Committed to sourcing local and seasonal produce throughout the year, the chef and his team create perfectly balanced menus. LA Rive offers a menu for any occasion whether a quick lunch or a larger celebration, all accompanied by an extensive wine list sourced from places all around the world.
From the a la carte menu, starters include roast hand dive wild scallops, baked courgette with almond granola and classic beef fillet tartare accompanied by confit egg yolk and soft aged Parmesan meringue. Main courses include roast breast of French duck, confit leg, hazelnut crumble and oregano foam; and truffle breast of free range chicken (to share) accompanied by buttered mash and Romanesco.
There is also the option for a ‘fixed menu’ which comprises a wide selection of starters, main courses and desserts, including seasonal soup, braised shoulder of pork croquette with mash potato and grain mustard hollandaise sauce; and homemade ice cream and sorbet. An offer for two courses at £16 or three courses at £20 is also in place.
Other menus available at La Rive include Sunday lunch menu and the desserts menu. Desserts from this menu include the classic warm chocolate fondant, with an innovative twist of caramel and curry ice cream. For savoury lovers, ‘Flower Marie’ oats biscuits are available with grapes and chutney.
Harriet told us:
“It is very exciting to see the transformation of what was a very tired restaurant that was aimed at a slightly older demographic, being transformed into something that everybody would be happy to visit. It is a very unusual place and it was great to be given the opportunity to make the most of the features that already existed and enhance the ones that needed upgrading.”
Harriet Forde Design Ltd has also completed a range of other projects within the hospitality sector, including working extensively with De Vere Hotels over the years, having delivered on a number of their venues. The establishment has also completed a project on Cameron House in Scotland, a plush country-house hotel that overlooks Loch Lomond.
Specialising in contemporary upholstery and banquette seating, Fitz Impressions have been fortunate enough to have worked on some of London’s most prestigious and iconic venues such as China White, Sky Garden at 20 Fenchurch Street, Stem & Rye to name a small selection.
The contractor for some of the UK’s leading establishments provides a varied range of services including fixed seating, banquette seating, booth seating, bench seating, refurbishments, Chesterfield sofas, champagne tables, furniture polishing, blinds and curtains, and headboards.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Bobby Fitzpatrick, Managing Director of Fitz Impressions, in order to find out some key information on their involvements with La Rive. Bobby said:
“We manufactured a selection of high end chairs to a design brief provided by Harriet Forde Design as well as reupholstering some of the existing furniture estate.
“Having worked with Simon and Eric on the Hare & Hounds in Lingfield, we found them to be a pleasure to work with.”
With nearly 15 years in the business, RTfact Ltd specialise in faux flowers, trees and greenery, supplying bespoke designs to an array of clients from property developers and interiors designers to businesses throughout the UK.
RTfact are delighted to have worked with many prestigious clients such as Tate Modern and Britain, Harrods, Jo Malone, ITV studios and many more. Projects vary from a monthly hire service to promotional events and store/office/restaurant dressing.
The company was approached by La Rive to design a floral solution for the ceiling of their new restaurant in Cobham. The vision was to create a magical romantic space that provided a stunning focal point for guests as they arrive at the dining room. RTfact collaborated with Harriet Forde Design, submitted some concepts and worked with LA Rive to create a bespoke design to meet their budget.
A first for RTfact, the final project saw their team create a blossom covered ceiling installation. The company collaborated with Marcus Steffan of MS Lighting to incorporate fibre optics to the scheme, which really added to the overall visual and ambience.
Premier Hospitality spoke to Dawn Smith of RTfact Ltd, to discover some more about the restaurant project. Dawn commented:
“It was a fantastic project to work on as I knew the results would have such a stunning impact on the feel of the restaurant space – helping to make it an extra special experience for La Rive’s customers. Harriet Forde and the La Rive team were great to work with and we wish them every success with the new restaurant.”
MS Lighting Design
Taking on both commercial and residential projects, MS Lighting Design provide a full service from initial concept design through to communicating this to the contractors to the final set up of the lighting to ensure it is all working smoothly.
A fairly new company, MS Lighting has been running for a year, however Marcus Steffen – Managing Director – has been in the industry as a lighting designer for 11 years. Having worked with a number of Gaucho restaurants, Marks & Spencer and Nokia, the lighting establishment has collaborated with a range of clients.
The stunning restaurant La Rive was one of the company’s more recent projects, which took place following a consultation meeting. MS Lighting planned out all of the lighting and controls for the front of house, and commissioned the controls to ensure that it was always at the correct levels.
Premier Hospitality caught up with Marcus Steffen himself to discover a little more on the developments on La Rive. Marcus said:
“Lighting is very complex but integral to the atmosphere and style of space. Poor lighting would ruin any dining experience and put clients off coming again. I was lucky enough to work with a great team on this project, so we were able to implement all of my ideas.
“The other half of my job in ensuring that all the lighting actually works and ensuring compatibility with controls, so that lights can be dimmed and that the colours are correct, which is actually quite difficult with LEDs. With myself managing these elements we have managed to create some amazing spaces to dine in.”
Goodmakers specialise in high-end bespoke furniture dedicated to the interior design industry. From design and development to manufacture and installation the establishment is a multidisciplinary team of furniture experts.
Having been in operation for two years, Goodmakers place priority on the superior quality of their products and are proud to be able to offer such a high standard of furniture with an efficient and affordable service.
The company has worked with many established interior designers predominantly based in London and the South East, completing a number of prestigious projects. This includes most recently, collaborating with Rachel Winham Interior Design Ltd to provide all bespoke furniture for two newly restored Victorian mansions at Highgate.
Goodmakers also played a part in the developments on La Rive – to find out more information Premier Hospitality spoke to Theo Evans, of Goodmakers. Theo commented:
“We worked closely with Harriet Forde to develop and manufacture a trio of side tables that would complement the newly designed interior of La Rive Restaurant. The design was to be both elegant and contemporary while also ensuring the table was more than durable enough for the demands of the bustling restaurant environment.
“We always feel it is important to take on challenging projects with new customers and were particularly excited by the prospect of collaborating with the highly regarded interior designer Harriet Forde. We also feel a greater responsibility when producing furniture for the hospitality industry, as we must ensure our product not only stands up to the rigours of the busy restaurant environment; it should also be aesthetically pleasing to a wider variety of people.”