And so, last night, to the Manor in Clapham (subject of a rave review from Marina O’Loughlin in the Grauniad).
And, oh dear me, but it was lit by “industrial-chic” lightbulbs. You’ll know the score by now: a clear, oval bulb to show the glowing, over-sized yellow filament, complete with brass fittings, usually in the style of a gas-holder and sometimes with a little chapeau.
And, as soon as you see them, you’ll know what else follows:
- Staff that are slightly too casual and slightly too friendly – a bit too bought into the greatness of the whole “concept”
- Tables from a gastro-pub and not-quite-comfortable enough chairs from a church (or shaker-style at best)
- Mismatched vintage crockery and cutlery (usually with pewter-esque forks and knives with those yellowish faux-bone handles)
- “Small plates”
- At least one mackerel dish which has been under a blowtorch (rhubarb or seaweed likely to be involved).
- Dire acoustics which heighten the propensity for the young crowd that has been attracted to shout at each other even more unnecessarily loudly than they were otherwise going to
- The bill will be brought in some witty little nic-nac box or second-hand book etc.
In short, a once fresh vibe has now become crushingly ubiquitous and associated with every new venture by every young turk.
Calm, comfort, charm and a chance to chat. Now that would be a differentiating design concept for London in 2015.
In the meantime I don’t want to see another bloody lightbulb….