London & South East Premier Hospitality

Merchants Tavern

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

Created within an old Victorian warehouse in Shoreditch and designed in keeping with its historic surroundings, is the new Merchants Tavern 130-cover restaurant in Charlotte Road.

The project to create the new venue was carried out by ecsec. The scheme was undertaken for the restaurant’s owners Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton-Malone, founders of the Canteen chain, with Michelin-starred Murano chef Angela Hartnett in charge of recruitment and operations. Angela has recruited Neil Borthwick as head chef, and also on the team, in the important role of general manager, is Thomas Blythe, who has worked at St John and Fino.

The project included the construction of a new bar and open kitchen as central features, with plush curved green leather banquette seating, a fireplace and log fire and reclaimed parquet flooring fitted throughout. Smart dark wood, dim lights and polished metal mirrors add to the overall effect. The whole of the restaurant’s front area is given over to the bar, with an enormous exposed red steel beam running down the centre of the ceiling.

Ian Malling of ecsec, project manager for the scheme told Premier Hospitality:

“Originally the building was derelict and was subsequently updated by the landlord, including the construction of new floors and the installation of building services. The Merchants Tavern team then took on the tenancy and appointed us to carry out the project.

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

“The whole remit right from the start was for the interior to be in keeping with the Victorian building. Working in conjunction with the design team and the Merchants Tavern team, we manufactured and installed the new bar with suspended gantry; the service bar counters; the front counter; the kitchen counter, and a highlighted wine display unit. We also supplied and installed the kitchen extract system, electrics, tiling and all the main finishes, and oversaw the installation of the stainless steel kitchen appliances. In addition, we installed the subtle incandescent lighting scheme and stripped and repainted the building’s original glazed frontage.”

The bespoke upholstered free-standing banquette seating for the restaurant was made by Very Good and Proper.

ecsec also oversaw the lime plastering which was carried out to the majority of the interior walls on the ground floor and basement level, with small areas of exposed brickwork also being incorporated in the design.

Also on the basement level, ecsec carried out all gas works, plumbing, tiling, painting and decorating for the newly installed toilets and created a new private dining room.

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

“The contract programme was very tight for the size of the job and there were a few challenges to overcome, but overall the project went really well. Old school techniques were combined with modern methods of working and it was a very nice job to work on,” said Ian Maling.

The contract took 12 weeks to build.

The food offering has been described by Merchants Tavern as: “European influences meet British charm in our intensely seasonal menu. Wholesomeness, honesty and careful cooking are at the heart of the kitchen and its menu.”

Dishes on offer include starters such as deep fried oysters, pig’s trotters on toast, pickled sardines, and charlotte potatoes and creme fraiche, with mains such as partridge, spätzle, with chanterelles, bacon and sourdough sauce; quail with hazelnut pesto, remoulade and foie gras; scallops with crushed artichoke, cauliflower, almonds and jus gras, and loin of venison with lardo, baked celeriac and red cabbage.

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

Sharing platters are also available, with these comprising: cote de boeuf with swede fondant, black cabbage, truffle and potato butter sauce; roast rack and braised neck of lamb with berrichonne potatoes and cabbage, and pork belly with roasted pumpkin and hispi cabbage.

Desserts on offer include ginger loaf with butterscotch sauce and vanilla ice cream; scottish heather honey tart with whiskey creme fraiche, and chocolate mousse with baileys and chestnut.

With over 50 years’ experience, ecsec’s reputation is built on delivering a project to the highest quality, on budget, on time.

In the restaurant and bar sector, the company work with many leading brands, offering full fit-out and refurbishment services, including design, build and project management.

In the retail sector, also working with leading brands, ecsec provide shop-fitting solutions including retail environment design, fully managed fit-out and project management.

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch


ecsec was formed in 1960. Starting out as a shop equipment and fitting suppliers, and with over 50 years’ experience, ecsec are now one of the leading interior fit out contractors in the UK, with an established reputation for delivering a project to the highest quality, on budget and on time.

The UK’s appetite for dining out and socialising has continually grown. What was once seen as a ‘treat’ for many is now considered an essential of many people’s lives. ecsec have produced restaurant design and fit-outs for some of the leading restaurant and bar brands in the country – Carluccio’s, Smith’s of Smithfield, Middleton’s Steak House & Grill, Canteen and Giraffe to name a few.

Merchants Tavern, Shoreditch

ecsec were delighted to negotiate the contract to build the new 130 cover Merchants Tavern in an old Victorian warehouse in Shoreditch with co-founders of Canteen, Dominic Lake and Patrick Clayton Malone who had joined forces with Michelin-starred Murano chef Angela Hartnett.

The project consisted of building a new bar and open kitchen as the center features, which were built around the existing bare brick walls and steel support columns with plush curved leather banquette seating and reclaimed parquet flooring fitted throughout.

ecsec’s dedicated team has the experience and energy to tackle any project, no matter how challenging, combined with a can do approach to ensure that they deliver the results their clients desire.

About the author

Premier Construction

Leave a Comment