The Light at the End of the Tunnel

In April 2015, James signed the lease on the space that would become home to Bistronomy. 30 metres long and 4 metres wide, it was always going to be a challenge – but the high ceilings, art deco accents and pronounced post-and-beam construction of Louis Hay’s 1932 building made it a challenge we gladly accepted (though, at times, wished we hadn’t!) Starting with what was essentially a concrete shell, James and his designers Zoe, Max & Isaac embarked on a war against width, eventually managing to squeeze in everything Bistronomy would need: an 8 metre long Eat Bar, seating for 50 happy diners, and, of course, the kitchen. With the functional stuff out of the way, thoughts turned to designing the experience – we wanted to create a little bit of magic, the kind of space in which James’ food should be eaten. With so much of his style being about the found and the foraged, we turned to the forest: where better to eat than under a canopy? The canopy, or canapé as it became known, was ambitious: around 1000 linear metres of timber, comprised of slats and dowels threaded together to create panels to fit to the walls and ceilings. The top-notch team from Your Solutions worked night and day putting the canapé together, and did a tremendous job in battling Murphy’s Law. We worked with several talented local craftsmen (and women) – Francois from Le Workshop building our beautiful ash barstools and banquette seat, Paul the Tile Doktor handling the hand-glazed herringbone like a surgeon, Little & Fox working their leathery magic, Kim Morgan crafting our beautiful plates, bowls & cups…the list goes on. And after 4.5 months of planning, budgeting, building, budget blowing, and just generally living and breathing work, we’re finally open for business. Here’s a few snapshots of the Bistronomy journey (so far!):