Entrusting a new creative studio to help him create his largest London opening was a major leap of faith for Gordon Ramsay, and it was Afroditikrassa that received the brief. Tasked with delivering the concept, brand and design for a nuanced, Asian-inspired restaurant, bar and private dining offering to replace the much loved Maze in Grosvenor square, this had to be something really special.
Design inspiration was drawn from the underground clubs of 1930s Tokyo – cool urban hideaways with food, drinks and live jazz – so-called ‘Kissas’. These thriving institutions were once a mainstay of Japanese youth culture, and helped inform the vision for the restaurant as a place of vibrancy, with a strong identity. The underlying art-deco style, and layout have been conceived to afford every table in the house an exciting perspective. Centrally placed chef’s tables, allow guests to savour the theatre of watching expert chefs at work whilst browsing the handwritten, seasonal menu, whilst the raw bar offers a sumptuous setting to enjoy the very best sushi and sashimi.
Signature design features such as the Uchiwa fan ceiling installation and the cast brass bamboo bar front speak to the restaurant’s Asian flair, whilst bespoke Japanese knife displays pique the interest of diners as they make their way to their seats. Intricately curved brass screens, antique mirrors, gloss black bamboo panelling and layered linen screens are just a few of the other elements that help express an understated, but luxurious undertone throughout, whilst geometric patterns, Japanese indigo dyed fabrics and distressed leather suggest a note of playful ambience.
The name Lucky Cat partly came from a creative session by the Afroditikrassa team when thinking about the original Kissa denizens back in the day…the ‘cool cats’. Ultimately, Lucky Cat felt like the name that fit best, referring to the cool and lucky people who would hang out in Kissas and Asian eating houses, but also very much a nod to Japanese culture, where the cat is a sacred animal. The beckoning Maneki-neko welcomes patrons but also bring good fortune. Living up to its name, there are playful cat references throughout the space, taking the form of subtle cat relief tiles, stone cat statues and cat tail hooks complimenting the largest feature of all, the Maneki-neko cat wall in the bar area, built around 300 bespoke, handmade ceramic cats.