Oriental Impress

In the Roaring Twenties, architect Sir Reginald Blomfield completed the part of Nash’s masterplan for Regent Street adjoining Piccadilly Circus. Known as the Quadrant, the lower floors are punctuated by round arched windows set between rusticated piers. The ground floor sections of the windows are shopfronts but the more observant passerby will note that a mezzanine level is lit by the semicircular sections above.

These lunette windows illuminate another world, far removed from the humdrum of shoppers and workers below. Walk under Blomfield’s Doric columned boulevard in the sky, enter an elegant understated doorway on a side lane, ascend a winding flight of stairs, and beyond lies Senkai.

This is the most recent addition to the Ignite Group, the brainchild of entrepreneurs Matt Hermer and Paul Deeming. It’s the latest Japanese inspired restaurant to hit London’s West End. A DJ plays in the restaurant Thursday to Saturday nights, attracting a young and hip crowd. Low ceilings accentuate the clubby ambience. It’s not a coincidence that Ignite also owns nearby Boujis, a favoured nightclub of the royals. Matt says,

“Modern Japanese restaurants are a true trend in London. Through my travels, the Orient has been a great inspiration so it made sense as a next step for Ignite. We wanted to reduce the formality of Japanese restaurants with Senkai. We serve food in the lounge where a range of fabulous cocktails are mixed to complement the food.”

The long space is punctuated at one end by a cocktail bar and at the other by a circular marble raw seafood bar. A mix of relaxing seating includes red banquettes, flower shaped stools by Pierre Paulin and Tosai lounge chairs (made on the Japanese island of Hokkaido). Bronze de Gournay hand painted wallpaper sets the scene. The ceiling is enlivened by illusory domes containing subliminal lighting; Moooi Random LED floor lights throw patterns across woven flooring. A 1961 floor light from Miguel Mila and Santa & Cole’s Tripode floor lamp add to the ambience.

Interior design was by Christopher Prain, Head of Creative Design at Christopher Chanond, with lighting and furniture mostly supplied by Conran Contracts. Contrast and colour is the dual theme of the decoration and, as it turns, out the food.

In keeping with Ignite Group’s policy on ethical food sourcing, at least three quarters of the fish on the menu is sourced from British day boats or organic farms. The remaining fish is sourced from sustainable worldwide suppliers including yellowtail kingfish from Australia and cobia from Vietnam. Game on the menu is a reminder this is England.

Like the Roaring Twenties, Senkai revels in the social, artistic and multicultural dynamism of the English capital. Dance music may have replaced jazz and models dine here instead of flappers, but the mood behind Sir Reginald’s sober neoclassical façade is still chilled and decadent. The city has turned full circle.

Words by Stuart Blakley


Client: Ignite Group

Interior Design: Christopher Prain at Christopher Chanond

Lighting and Furniture: Conran Contracts

Wallpaper: de Gournay

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