Philippe Orrico collaborates with Two Men in Hats to design a playful, casual dining space in Kennedy Town. Coco Marett reports.
Like diffusion lines for the dining world, Orrico follows in the footsteps of Daniel Boulud, Mario Carbone et al., taking a break from fine dining to deliver down-to-earth comfort food with cosy interiors to match at Picnic on Forbes.
“When Philippe and I looked at this space, it was all about created a neighbourhood restaurant with different reasons to visit during the week, the evenings and the weekends,” says interior designer Tim Shepherd of Two Men in Hats, who designed the restaurant’s interiors. “So the idea grew about family, sharing and food you enjoy.”
This is Shepherd’s third collaboration with Orrico and his Nomad Dining group; they also partnered on the elegant Upper Modern Bistro and ON restaurants. “We met through another industry friend and it was clear Philippe had a clear vision for his future plans,” Shepherd recalls. “I was lucky enough to understand our role as design was not just design, but to bring that to life.”
Shepherd says Picnic on Forbes is almost like “eating in a covered market” and has the feeling of a tavern, food kiosk and bar all in one, with features like finished ceilings, a relaxed, New York style bar, and an all-round open feel with views into the kitchen, cellar and kiosk. “The finishes were key and the use of the light created at the rear through the windows,” he explains. “We wanted to use strong colour and texture too, and finally, we maximised ceiling height.”
The space revolves around the concept of the “Casual Weekend”, and there are dishes to match – including signature rotisserie chicken, macaroni cupcakes and the restaurant’s namesake, a charming picnic basket housing a rotating range of treats to be enjoyed in the restaurant or to take away.
“It was most important that the food match the interior. Working with Philippe and his team is all about an environment that delivers a combined experience,” says Shepherd. “The interior is a backdrop for the food, wine and staff. Somewhere you feel relaxed and not think twice about returning, as you have many ways to enjoy the venue.”
Picnic on Forbes is located at 38 Forbes Street, Kennedy Town.
Picnic on Forbes