Xu – A Taste of Taiwan
The trio behind London’s Bao restaurants – Shing Tat Chung, Wai Ting Chung and Erchen Chang –have launched their latest venture inspired by the diverse world of Taiwanese cuisine. Located on Rupert Street in London’s Soho, Xu opened in May 2017 with 76-covers.
Xu, open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, pays homage to the rich history of Taiwan and showcases its vibrant culinary culture. Spread across two floors, the space is separated into a tea kiosk, private Mahjong rooms and private dining rooms.
Interior design studio Brady Williams was tasked with creating the look for this new concept and began working on the project in March 2016. Founder Shayne Brady spoke to Premier Hospitality about the project, saying:
“The clients had been to one of our previous restaurants, Fischer’s, that we designed for Corbin and King. They loved the aesthetic we had achieved and contacted us to have some meetings and initial discussions. I always like to work with people that I get on well with and after some really productive meetings they appointed us for Xu.
“It was important to create something different from Bao. The clients wanted to move away from the minimalism of Bao for this restaurant and definitely wanted it to have a 1930s Taiwan feel. They also love Wes Anderson, which I related to because I love to create cinematic stage sets and that’s what we try to create at Brady Williams with restaurants.
“They were very open to ideas so we developed the concept over about six weeks and then approximately six months later we had another look and made some tweaks that have since proved to be key.”
Beginning on the ground the floor, the standout feature is the emerald green tea kiosk. One of the aims of Xu was to enhance the tea offering in London because tea is very important in Taiwanese culture. A strong focus therefore has been given to the tea kiosk which serves the ground and first floor. The ground floor has been designed to feel more causal and relaxed with the notion that you can walk in and feel comfortable even if you don’t have a reservation.
Two private dining rooms have also been created, inspired by the popular tile-based game Mahjong. The Mahjong rooms can be used for both dining and playing the game and feature special hand painted murals. Shayne continued:
“I think everyone will agree that a standout feature is the pink bar. It’s a small bar that seats five people in custom designed furniture and it has a hand painted mural of the mountains of Taiwan.
“Both floors are quite small and fitting everything in was the biggest challenge. It was a challenging site because the kitchens in the basement so food has to travel across two floors. We had to manage leaving enough back of house space while creating enough covers.
“Feedback so far has been great. The reviews of the interiors and the atmosphere have been incredible and people really love the food. We like to work with people that we get on with and Xu was a really special project for me and my colleague Abigail. Obviously every project is special but there was something unique about this design. It’s a gem of a restaurant for our studio and we absolutely love it.”
For more information on Xu, please visit xulondon.com.
Noble Russell and XU
Located on Rupert Street, Soho, and backed by JKS Restaurants, XU is the much-anticipated venture from the Bao team. Design studio Brady Williams commissioned Noble Russell to create bespoke furniture for this exciting new Taiwanese restaurant, which not only pays homage to the rich history and cultural past of Taiwan, but also boasts an interior design reminiscent of the 1930s.
For the restaurant, Noble Russell created twenty-two tables with bespoke laminate tops and solid timber lipping, which sit on blackened steel support legs. A further six bespoke swivel stools were ordered; each upholstered in on-trend soft pink leather with stainless steel lacquered frames.
The completed Noble Russell furniture truly complements the elegant interior created by Brady Williams, which has already received praise from the design community and beyond.
2017 marks the 25th anniversary year for Noble Russell, a contract furniture company specialising in the creation of exceptional products like those commissioned for XU. Started in 1992 by Directors Laurence Noble and Jerry Russell and joined shortly thereafter by third Director, Jonathan Fort, Noble Russell have dedicated themselves to 25 years of furniture design and production, providing customers with the highest quality bespoke products.
Over the years Noble Russell has added an extra special quality and knowledge to all that they produce, developing a strong reputation amongst their associates. They have created a highly skilled team of craftsmen, enabling them to design, manufacture and install bespoke products with exceptional quality.
The company has grown extensively since their humble beginnings in 1992 and has proved to be a highly successful bespoke contract furniture manufacturer. Noble Russell has worked with many of the leading names in architecture and interior design on countless high-profile projects.
More information on Noble Russell can be found on their website: www.noblerussell.co.uk