Shed and Splendid Restaurants come together creating a brand new restaurant offer going by the name Cha Chaan Teng. The new venture occupies over 300sqm and is located in the basement of The Club Quarters Hotel in Holborn, London.
The concept is inspired by the infamous Cha Chaan Teng culture of post war Hong Kong. With increased urbanization and an influx of western expats, Hong Kong saw a succession of cafes spring up providing locals with access to ‘western food’ otherwise only served in expensive hotel restaurants.
The original Cha Chaan Teng cafes were fast paced establishments serving an eclectic and sometimes unlikely mix of ‘East meets West’ food. Splendid’s Cha Chaan Teng can be seen as the London reincarnation taking the concept full circle; a British interpretation of an Eastern reinterpretation of the Western cuisine. Confused? That’s all part of the charm and a theme that runs through the design, graphics, artworks, cocktails and food.
Shed’s design brief was to keep the original Cha Chaan Teng feel but upgrade it to suit London’s premium market. Known for being brave in their statement-making Shed put a playful spin on the idea of misinterpretation embracing a concept that relishes being lost in translation.
A broken red and grey logo reading Cha Chaan Teng sits above the entrance on Kingsway, Holborn. Not immediately legible the logo exemplifies the mixed up nature of the brand. Guests enter to a dramatic stairwell with walls covered in a matrix of white, grey and red tiles. A sculptural light formed of paper lanterns fused and bound together spirals down the stair (Shed bespoke) drawing the eye to a striking portrait of a lady (artwork by DAIN artist and commissioned for Cha Chaan Teng). Printed on wheat paste paper the artwork is crudely plastered directly to the tiles. Black and white in tone with an overlay of paint drips and neon splattering’s she watches as guest descend to the main dining space. Here a maze of services sprayed a pale yellow work their way across the ceiling and a grid of small white tiles deck the floor, broken by random tiles shifting in colour to denote the different areas. A bright red repeats across the floor cutting through an otherwise muted palette of tiles.
The 300sqm space is left open divided visually into three areas; the Bar, Bao and Main Dining Area- each rife with their own ChaChaanTeng persona.
The bar presents a subdued palette of blues, dark greys and burnt pinks set off by dramatic high contrast marbles and swirling timber veneers. An unlikely amalgamation of furniture; art deco in form with a mid-century twist sits in the centre of the space grounded by a silky dark blue carpet. A voluptuous ink blue suede banquette snakes its way across the floor.
Sitting central to the space the Bao area boasts a 2.7m oval crème marble table with amber turntable inserts and copper edging (Shed bespoke). The shared table is surrounded by cushioned stools upholstered in a volcanic marble effect velour crowned by a display of 40 paper lanterns. Behind, chefs can be seen busy at work in a small open kitchen framed in a bespoke oak panelling.
The main dining area offering just over 100 seats exudes a bustling and energetic atmosphere. Shed bravely played with the application of high end materials such as marble and brass pairing them with their faux laminate counterparts. A palette of deep greens, dark timbers, off whites, bruised browns and deep purples create an unconventional palette but like the food the combination is unexpectedly pleasing.
Loose furniture runs down the centre of the restaurant in a haphazard arrangement, verde marble and coloured laminate tables are matched with a set of black framed cantilever and café style chairs upholstered in a heavy grain mushroom leatherette.
A mesmerizing marble design printed to fabric panels runs in repetitions down one side of the restaurant, in front sit a series of deep fluted round banquettes upholstered in a dark racing green leather. Tables in a black and silver chip laminate are wrapped with a brass trim and illuminated by oversized black aluminium pendant lights.
Shed worked with Contract Chair Company to develop the unique set of loose furniture across the restaurant, whilst the bespoke designs by Shed for the tables and fixed seating were manufactured by main contractor DG pro interiors and Hillcross furniture.
The remaining walls and columns of the space are clad in a bespoke oak timber moulding, fitted together to create a waved wall panel unique to Cha Chaan Teng with spun brass cone wall lights.
Banquette seating positioned back-to-back runs the stretch of the restaurant. Basic in form the seats reference a style present in the original Hong Kong cafes. Finished in premium walnut burr with green leather seat pads, avocado piping and paired with black and gold marble tables the final product is given a distinctly British facelift.
At the far side of the restaurant a large sister artwork to the portrait on the stairwell is audaciously applied to the undulating surface of the wall. The bright colours and bold confrontation of the artwork gives a punch of attitude to a concept already busting with character.
The flypostering continues in both the men’s and ladies toilets in a repeat of the main image of a striking lady.
Cha Chaan Teng; the embodiment of East crossed with West and Visa Versa the outcome is mixed up, confused and wonderfully eccentric providing an experience far from one you will have had before.