Pacata have recently opened their first UK restaurant; following the success of their food stall in West End London, the Pacata team has decided to treat diners in Covent Garden to their exotic menu of Asian fusion food.
Combining a variety of cuisines including Indian, Korean, Thai, and Chinese and adding a Western twist the team have ensured that every dish is unique, as well as being delicious.
Premier Hospitality caught up with May Noradee, Director of May Noradee Properties + Design, who was the lead designer on the Pacata project. The interior design specialist became involved in the project after the Pacata management, who already have branches in Bangkok and Thailand decided the current design was not appropriate for the UK market.
“I was initially appointed to oversee the construction as they wanted to replicate the design conceived by their designer Koinuma Nobuhide who worked with them on their previous outlets in Asia, but they changed the restaurant concept half way through the project and I became heavily involved as I have an extensive background in the restaurant industry. We researched similar restaurants in the UK and realised that their initial plans were inappropriate so they asked me to redesign the restaurant because it is important that their first Pacata restaurant in Europe is something fresh and unique with strong concept that reflects their brand identity.
“There are a few aspects of the old design in the venue but everything else has been completely redesigned, especially the overall concept of the interior decor. The site, which covers the ground floor and a basement, used to be a cafe and is a very old, Grade II listed building. The previous owners never did anything with the basement because of the restriction with the ceiling height, so it was in terribly poor condition.”
The basement used to be a Butcher’s meat cold store facility long ago and so still had a lot of heavy duty steel hooks fixed in the ceiling when the construction team arrived on site; some of these have been retained as part of the decoration. The ceiling was also very low and did not meet minimum requirement of UK’s Building Regulations, so there were a lot of architectural refurbishment and improvements that had to be carried out before the space could be utilised as part of Pacata restaurant.
May and her design team undertook the interior design and interior fit out at the venue; they were ideally placed to do so as they custom made most of the features. On the ground floor of the venue an impressive wooden cocktail bar can be found which has been crafted from reclaimed materials.
The main features of the ground floor are the custom made vintage lights which have been styled out of antique glass vases and decanters. May and her team collected as many interesting vases and decanters as possible in a variety of shapes and sizes before cutting the bottom off and using them as pendant lights.
The vases were also airbrushed different colours such as amber and yellow; 38 of these quirky lights are dotted throughout the venue and add a light, bright feel to the space.
The main restaurant also comprises an array of tables and chairs fashioned out of reclaimed timber and used materials. The main materials utilised include reclaimed cast iron sewing machine and factory worktop bases, timber and steel. May said that her team were well placed to carry out the interior fit out after the construction process was finished as all the lighting and the furniture were crafted or sourced by them.
Works began on site in December 2013 and the venue opened in February 2014 after an extensive renovation process. Main contractors UCS UK Ltd undertook the construction works and on-site carpentry work, under the supervision of May Noradee Properties & Design, including the relocation of the kitchen and toilets from the ground floor to the basement.
This relocation opened up the ground floor and created a lighter, brighter space enabling diners to enjoy the views of both streets either side of the venue. The venue’s basement ceiling was initially only one metre and 70 centimetres high, and so the team had to raise the ceiling height in order to maximise the venue’s seating capacity, as well as being able to use the basement for the kitchen, back of house and toilet facilities.
At the beginning of the construction process asbestos was discovered in the basement and so this had to be thoroughly removed and the whole site had to be decontaminated before works could continue. The existing steel structures in the basement have also been stabilised, preserved and incorporated into the design in order to highlight the building’s history. May was keen to show off the existing architectural features as the property is steeped in history.
The basement is a small intimate setting holding space for just 10 diners. The area boasts reclaimed wood and a feature shelf at the far end which contains small decorative items such as glass ornaments vintage knick-knacks, antique incense and candle holders from Asia and the Middle East, and tea lights.
The restaurant area on the ground floor holds 40 covers and is a contrast to the warmer, darker basement space downstairs. May said the project has been a pleasure to be involved in:
“I was very excited to be involved in the project and it has been a great pleasure, especially as the clients have been very supportive to my creative vision. It has been an amazing experience and a lot of fun along the way.”
UCS UK Ltd
UCS UK Ltd specialise in refurbishments, new builds and conversions of mainly domestic and residential properties. The firm has been in operation for three years and has worked on an array of projects since their inception across the domestic sector.
The team have worked on a development on Mitcham Road in Croydon which saw the construction of 14 flats and seven apartments in Croydon. The team also erected a new build property situated on Brighton sea front.
We caught up with Ismail Martin Williams, the Director of UCS UK Ltd, to find out more about the firms involvement in Pacata restaurant. The team did all of the structural works on the project including all the electrical works, plumbing installation, brick cladding, wood flooring and all of the venues finishes
“It is very important for us to be involved in this project as we have previously been doing a lot of domestic refurbishments, conversions and new builds and so working on Pacata is our first entry into the hospitality industry. We enjoy creating quality finishes and doing more work on the design side of things.
“I would say we pride ourselves on affordable rates and high end quality and finishes.”