The Venue Sitting at the foot of the iconic new Dubai landmark, Ain Dubai, on Bluewaters Island, The London Project is the brainchild of Dubai-based founders Stephen Valentino and Keith West. The restaurant celebrates everything London, featuring interior aesthetics, artists, music and cuisine from the colourful capital city.
The Design While the duplex venue has a buzzing botanical vibe with multiple corners to escape to, the main focus of the design was to create an overall space that appeared naturally weathered with an interior that felt like it had grown into its surroundings. The creators brought in Julian Floyd from Yam Jam Interior Design, a Dubai-based firm to bring this vision to life. Natural concrete, reclaimed timber, rusted steels, brass and copper metals are the key materials applied to create that raw weathered backdrop. Plants and vines intertwined into the structures and joinery help to achieve this urban jungle feel. A wall features the mantra ‘garden as though you will live forever’, and glass steps to the upper level showcase tropical growth underfoot. A variety of textures and finishes such as marbles, velvets and brass give the space a plushness that is eclectic but unpretentious, while bright pops of colour from upholstery and artwork add a theatrical touch. From sculptures and 3D installations to wall murals and etchings, each artwork is linked to London. Chiselled murals of UK characters such as Amanda Wakeley OBE, a British fashion designer, and Margaret Busby OBE, who was Britain’s youngest and first black female book publisher in the 1960s, are feature walls on the ground level, where you can also spot framed artwork celebrating the Renaissance and Victorian eras when society was purely analogue. While contemporary art forms such as graffiti, social media and music culture are showcased, the main feature is still the vintage artwork, however the antique frames and art are painted in block colours representing old and new styles. The bathrooms are a sight to behold too, with hand-painted tropical floral wallpaper extending to the ceilings, complemented with fanciful basins and theatre-style lighting for a bold finish.
The Experience While the funky, verdant surroundings are matched by the stunning sea and marina view, coupled with the DJ set list making for a very hip ambience, the food is an equally well-curated, eclectic showstopper and downright delicious. A sharing plate concept allows one to sample multiple offerings. Highlights included the Ika Mata Ceviche featuring shellfish marinated in coconut cream, the succulent pulled-beef soft shell tacos dressed with black garlic mayo, and the wild mushroom and truffle gnocchi, a sinfully creamy comfort dish. London’s calling!
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