Last week, guests from London and Paris, from the design-world, art world, food and event industries gathered to celebrate the launch of the new National Café at The National Gallery.
Showcasing an elegant interior and a new modern-British menu, canapés and seasonal cocktails were served to over a hundred partygoers by particularly well dressed waiters; charming in Bretton stripes. The vision of prominent Belgium designer, Ramy Fischler, the new restaurant reflects its context. Picture frames hang across the back wall and in the private room. The frames are empty but act as decoration in-themselves, subverting their usual functional purpose and giving the space a sense of wit. Banquet seating is presided over by huge Mediterranean sky scenes, images taken from Claude-Joseph Vernet’s A sporting contest on The Tiber at Rome. These hang opposite the restaurant’s windows and are illuminated beautifully by natural light. The new space is bright, airy and contemporary.
Celebrity guests included Jimmy Carr, Claudia Winkleman and Hugh Bonneville. All of whom got down to the sounds of Lou Hayter, Chiltern Firehouse’s resident DJ. The Rhubarb Martinis and Champagne might have helped them along the way. Delicate yet delicious canapés, including Goosnargh Duck and pistachio terrine with blood orange salsa and Pluma Iberica pork with smoked chilli mojo roji, exampled the skill and creativity of Peyton and Byrne’s chef team.
The launch of the new National Cafe is first joint venture of Sodexo and Peyton and Byrne, in partnership with the National Gallery. The refurbishment and the union was spoken about (very) excitedly in speeches from Gabriele Finaldi, Director of The National Gallery, and Oliver Peyton, Creative Director of Peyton and Byrne, as all stakeholders anticipate that the restaurant will be a destination in its own right – outside of its stunning location within The National Gallery – for dinners, for drinks, for afternoon tea and, of course, for more parties.