The cafe was designed by the Milan and Shanghai based studio known for some of Milan’s trendiest restaurants, and has brought it to the district of Islington which has undergone an authentic renaissance in recent years from a flourishing gastronomic scene.
The restaurant is a contemporary reinterpretation of the charm of the old latterias (diary stores) where you can eat genuine authentic dishes, inspired by traditional Milanese culture and style. It’s designed as an eclectic environment in a 1950s style, creating a warm and informal atmosphere. It offers a range of dishes inspired by tradition such as homemade pasta, risottos and pizza as well as sandwiches and salads made from Italian culinary expertise.
The restaurant is laid out on two levels on Essex Road and stands out in a strong visual impact from its interiors. Featuring formica tables with aluminium frames, zinc counters, seminato flooring, diamond tiles, exposed bricks and pendant lamps in the shape of dessert moulds, adding to the vibrant personality of the place.
The two signature colours used are warm white and red that characterize the exterior façade, while the materials reflect the 1950s in surfaces of semi-gloss lacquer, satin-finished steel and zinc. The ground floor is distinguished by its deli-counter and lively atmosphere, while the lower floor creates a more intimate and cozy dining room away from the buzz.
The exterior features a bright red colour and signs that stand out in the lard windows directing light into the restaurant and immediately grabbing the attention of passers-by. When entering the restaurant, guests are greeted on the right by a zinc-covered bar counter where they experience the Italian tradition of stand-up coffee. Further inside is a second counter dedicated to the display of dishes that traverses the room, and on the wall opposite the entrance, the serving hatches allow glimpses into the kitchen.
The restaurant itself is divided into three rooms: the first is on the same level of the entrance and features eco-leather benches in a 50s style. A few steps down is the lounge room which features a large velvet bench that marks out the perimeter. On the lower floor it features red vinyl wallpaper and two glass display cases that can be turned on by lighting the items inside it. The 50s inspiration is continued by shelves and cabinets featuring display pasta, oil, pickles, wines and other products.