Zelman Meats is the latest experimental venture from the renowned restaurant group Goodman, also behind the limited menu concept Burger & Lobster, the Goodman steakhouses and the exclusive Steak and King crab concept, Beast. Stamped with Misha Zelman’s name, Zelman Meats presents itself as an approachable and affordable location, with a menu based on what it does best – beef.
The menu is limited and changeable, but remains true to the refined methods involved in serving up good quality meat whilst offering up the opportunity to dine at a lower price-point to Goodmans. The site in Soho, tucked away on St Anne’s Court, has proved to be a challenging location in the past but it has also enabled the Goodman Group to bring a great steakhouse to the heart of Soho.
The brief was to transform the space into an uncomplicated but well-executed environment. Although adopting a no-frills approach to the design, design studio Shed also wanted to create an environment that was like a old pair of brogues – comfortable, familiar, at times cool but never try hard.
The exterior has taken on dark shades of black and grey so as to accentuate two statement, oversized and illuminated signs emblazoned on the 25m façade. Glimpses of the restaurant interior and wine displays help to set the scene inside. Shed set out to divide the vast 360m2 front-of-house area into a private dining area, open kitchen, main restaurant area and bar area. Oversized oxblood leather booth seating sits alongside repurposed carrara marble table tops whilst overhead, mild steel luggage racks provide a playful yet practical solution for customers’ belongings. A number of conveniently-placed blackboards eliminate the need to break up areas within the restaurant.
Oversized weighty butchers block tables provide communal seating for large parties and lunchtime take-away customers. The blacked-out exposed services and array of salvaged industrial lighting create intimacy for each table.
A fish tank and sink by the entrance, a stainless kitchen ceiling, the mismatched layout of the mosaic flooring and even the crockery remain from the previous building. This intentional design reflects the fact that Zelman Meats is not somewhere to be taken too seriously, and better suits this light-hearted, unassuming ambiance. The pre-existing furniture has been woven into the scheme in other areas, such as the marble bar, which has gained a new gantry and timber cladding.
The final layer of quirky personality to the design can be seen in the carefully selected artwork that adorns the walls. Artwork by Butch Anthony, an American artist from Alabama, is layered upon old black and white butcher prints sourced from Nebraska.
“This has been our first project with Shed and potentially the hardest challenge we have ever assigned,” says Dave Strauss, operations director. “The budget was small, the turn around on site was limited to two weeks and the brief was to produce something unique. I am confident in saying that this was all achieved.
“I expected professionalism but was surprised by their flexibility and problem solving. We are already working on our next project together.”