XU is set across two floors and offers a cocktail bar, Taiwanese tea bar and private dining space, as well as a sophisticated 75 cover restaurant. XU will immerse diners into the world of Taiwanese cuisine, showcasing the island’s unique cultural diversity, as well as taking influence from the team’s travels across mainland China. Open for lunch and dinner service seven days a week, XU will also serve rare and competition level Taiwanese teas, providing a bold and interesting addition to London’s diverse restaurant scene.
Named after founder Erchen’s late grandfather, the restaurant will pay homage to the rich history and cultural past of Taiwan, exploring the many different cuisines that have influenced Taiwanese cooking, from the regional mainland Chinese provinces close to the island, to the Japanese and Dutch colonies and the indigenous tribes that make up Taiwan.
Integral to the design, BradyWilliams has created a bespoke emerald-green tea bar, inspired by Erchen’s grandfather’s love of the elegant, loose leaf teas commonly drunk in his native Taiwan. Situated on the ground floor it will house teas from across Taiwan, giving Londoners a rare glimpse into the art of traditional Taiwanese tea ceremonies. The team has sourced some of the best and most undiscovered tea to serve at XU, with each variety being carefully brewed by the in-house tea expert or “brewer” behind the bar. Tea will also be available to take home, with each batch roasted to the customer’s desired level. Teas will include a hand-picked Assam – a luxury black tea, grown in Nantou in Taiwan – through to specialist competition teas such as Baozhong from Pingling.
The interiors at XU will exude sophistication, giving a nod to 1930s Taiwan. BradyWilliams have worked closely with the Bao team to create a space echoing the most glamourous and elegant of dining destinations. Panelled with rich, dark wood, the ground flood will have the aforementioned emerald tea bar, wooden ceiling fans brought in from Xiao Chi houses and will provide a stylised space for guests in which to socialise and enjoy cocktails. The overall palette of the ground floor is a combination of warm, two-toned timber panelling, soft pink stone floor and sumptuous, contrasting green leathers.
In addition, situated on the ground floor are two intimate private dining spaces, which can each accommodate a party of four or a party of eight. The tables have been cleverly designed to allow guests to enjoy a game of Mahjong before or after dining if they wish. Dark timber flooring and wall panelling contrast with hand-painted scenes of Taiwanese mountains and coastline. Warm lighting and suede curtains soften the space to create the ultimate private dining experience.
The first floor at XU will offer an impressive forty-three cover dining space with a more formal feel than the ground floor. The focal point in the main restaurant will be a five-seater blush pink marble dining bar framed by a beautiful hand-painted ‘Mountains of Taiwan’ mural. The resulting atmosphere at XU will be a juxtaposition to the minimal interiors of the team’s renowned BAO restaurants, driven by BradyWilliams’ synonymous old-school yet timeless and glamourous aesthetic.
Shayne Brady commented of the vision, “We have collaborated with the BAO team to create a reinterpretation of a stylised cinematic stage set of Taipei in the 1930s”.
XU will offer a unique journey into Taiwanese culture and cuisine never seen before in London, from its food, cocktails and tea offering through to its interiors, diners will be transported to the mountainous regions of the island through to the busy streets of Taiwan’s capital city, Taipei.
XU restaurant and bar will open on Rupert Street, Soho on 31st May.
With over 20 years of combined design experience, Shayne Brady and Emily Williams have created a partnership to provide a fully comprehensive bespoke interior design service. Shayne began his career working in design for the hospitality and leisure industry. He has a dedicated creative vision to ensure that BradyWilliams’ projects continuously push the design boundaries. His personal approach, that “no detail is too small” is the very essence of the studio’s ethos. Emily spent several years specialising in hotel interior design, before moving on to high-end residential interior design. Her focus on ensuring exceptional service, whilst delivering timeless beauty, is integral to BradyWilliams’ foundations. Their growing team of excellence is recruited from a diversity of disciplines ranging from the arts to graphic design, to ensure they can deliver on all aspects of the design brief whilst remaining at the forefront of design.