My second day in London kicked off with an absolute hit with my friends heading over to Coal Drops Yards with a reservation at Coal Office. I like to do some research but not enough to take away all the surprises. A friend of mine is a huge fan of Tom Dixon so I really wanted to see some of that implemented design work in person. I came across Coal Office in a search for “best interiors of restaurants”.
Heading over to the restaurant, I didn’t realize that not only does Tom Dixon have an office in the same building but also had a store below the restaurant. Coming around the corner from St. Pancreas towards the restaurant, I was completely surprised by the modern bridge/ building crossing the courtyard. More on that later.
Turning my attention back to Coal Office- its a tiny restaurant. There’s a buzz walking in that, to me, translated immediately into an attention to detail and care of craft- not just in the interior design but also to the food.
First, the food. Wow- I think the eggplant dish we had was one of the best I’ve ever had in my life. Everything was perfect, edible but not pretentious. The only other food experience I’ve had close was at Tapas 24 in Barcelona. Definitely a must eat at if you are in London in this area.
The limited interior space of the restaurant was well utilized with nothing spared. The lighting, probably one of the most signature elements I think of when I consider Tom Dixon, was a big highlight of the space. The balance he strikes between industrial, organic and material – all very unfettered- is admirable. He uses a contrast of materials and forms that balance between earthly/ heavy/ square and organic/ light/ transparent.
Coal Office is a place I’d love to have close by, just to stop in at the bar for a coffee. A daily or weekly reminder of great, uncompromising detail in design.
We walked around the Coal Drops Yard area for a bit after lunch, including visiting the Tom Dixon store, and I can imagine what a huge draw the area will be when the weather is a bit more improved. It definitely could be classified as “hipster” by modern terms, but I feel like this urban planning reflects the evolution of fashion and design culture that London still heralds at the forefront.
Special thanks to Shikhiu for sharing his pictures in these 2019 London posts.
Website: Coal Office