Roma – When in Rome
A unique new restaurant and bar opened in central London last month, bringing the flavours of ancient Rome to the capital. ‘Roma’ has been inspired by the rich local history of the area surrounding ancient Rome and the great food and wine that accompanied it.
Located near Fenchurch train station on a site where a Roman fort once stood, Roma has embraced its historical theme at every turn, from interior design to sourcing its wine list. It is hoped customers will be able to feast like emperors once did in a warm and luxurious atmosphere.
Award-winning Tibbatts Abel were the lead interior designers on the project. Established in 2007, the interior design and architectural consultancy specialises in the hospitality and design industry. With experience of working across the UK, the firm works with clients ranging from independent operators to large corporate customers.
Tibbatts Abel embraced the Roman brief by introducing a number of features to the establishment. Rich, opulent velvet seating blends with dark distressed leathers. The floors are a mixture of herringbone timber and striking monochrome patterned floor tiles.
Other materials used in the design include polished brass, ebony stained timber and luxurious stone and marble for inspired bespoke textured finishes. The walls have been carefully decorated with digital wallpaper created especially for the venue and concept featuring mosaic inspired designs and maps of the Roman Empire.
To complement the interior, a menu reflecting the tasty traditions of ancient Rome has been created with the help of consultant chef Steton Steele. With a vast amount of industry experience, including working under John Harrington at the Malet Arms as well as running a number of pubs for nearly ten years, he helped advise on the best cooking styles, ingredients and techniques. Central to the restaurant is the resurrection of Roman cooking styles and bringing them into the 21st century.
Lamb and pork belly is served having been cooked using hay which while not necessarily giving the meat additional flavour does help maintain moisture and create a slight earthy taste. Diners can also get a taste of classic peasant cuisine by sampling Coda alla Vaccinare, better known as oxtail stew. The dish originated from men working in the slaughterhouses who used to be paid with the hide, offal and offcuts of the animals they butchered. This led to the creation of unusual but flavoursome food. All dishes are made from the best seasonal and locally sourced fruit and meat.
Wine was also a major part of Roman dining and this has been adapted by the restaurant to enhance the dining experience further still. The Roman Empire was so vast that a lot of wine came to be under their control. As such, where possible, wine on the menu is from the same vineyards Romans themselves would have drunk from.
Those who prefer their alcoholic drinks a bit more creative can sample a range of cocktails including the Roma signature consisting of berry flavoured caviar, Beefeater gin, elderflower liquor and a drop of lemon topped with champagne.
The driving force behind the venture is general manager Pauline Dubord who has an impressive culinary pedigree. She has amassed a great deal of experience working for a number of highly successful restaurants in London, across the continent and even on the ocean with a fleet of luxury cruise liners.
A spokesperson for Roma commented:
“We are always excited to create a concept which stems from the unique history and location of a venue. Discovering the rich history enabled us to develop the concept which brings ancient Rome to life in the modern age, celebrating good food and fine wine in the heart of the city of London. We were thrilled to get the opportunity to bring the unique concept to life.”
PGI Seating Solutions
In operation for 17 years, PGI Seating Solutions are fixed seating specialists. The company creates made to measure, bespoke furniture for bars, restaurants, nightclubs, receptions and hotels. PGI also pad walls, bars, doors and ceilings. It offers a range of upholstery and cushion seating finishes including faux and real leathers, velvets, chenille’s and patterned fabrics.
In addition to working with Roma London, the firm has completed contracts with Speratus group, Gainford hotels Group, Signature Pubs, Prezzo’s and Fuller Smith & Turner. Paul Gavillet of PGI Seating Solutions, said:
“At PGI Seating Solutions we pride ourselves on the very high standard of our work.”