Published 1 June 2021
Credit: Instagram Anya Hindmarch
Retail queen Anya Hindmarch launched her eponymous village in Pont Street on May 17. It is a “collection of stores, ever-evolving”, and “housing all the ideas we’ve had over the years”.
Alongside fashion, home-ware, and bespoke gifts will be the Anya Cafe, a place inspired by the upmarket British cafés of years gone by, looking every bit as ‘50s chic as you might expect. The menu has been created with long-term collaborator William Norris, and the emphasis is on easy breakfast and lunches.
“Reinvented croissants” of cheddar and rosemary begin proceedings, daily salad bowls with asparagus and quail’s eggs keep things going, and “toasts” provide lunch time support. There’s a rye option with crushed avocado, perfect after a busy morning of purchasing; cheese and onion chutney; a salmon and dill tartine; and a classic Welsh rarebit deep with mustard and Worcestershire sauce.
Not to forget the biscuits, cakes and coffees – Hindmarch mentions “elegant patisseries, shaggy monster cakes, smile cakes and iced buns, mallow tea cakes and cartwheels” – and the wines and cocktails without which Chelsea afternoons would be bereft.
But it is the design element we are focusing on here thanks to a café built to supplement a very aesthetic sort of strip.
Shayne Brady, of BradyWilliams, is best known for his work on the likes of Café Wolseley and other Corbin & King projects. At Anya, he has “created the perfect balance of whimsical fun, with a nod to the classic post-war industrial aesthetic in the most luxurious and contemporary way”.
He was a little more pared-back considering his flourishes and touches of flair in enormous dining rooms, but wasn’t restrained, and while the café is small and cosy, there’s plenty of mosaic, formica, and metal edging to keep guests stimulated.
“The layout was very important to me, as it always is,” Brady told CODE. “The original idea was to have the counter at the back, but I was quite intent on having it to the side, so all the delicious food would be on show, and customers would move to the back to be in the space and take it in.”
“I don’t believe in short-cuts or taking cheap options. It’s about working with what you have. It’s Chelsea, and a big project, but the budget wasn’t massive, not as big as you might expect.”
“That’s what makes my job so fun – the whole idea if to be creative and work with what you have. It’s about coming up with ideas playfully and inventively. It was a wonderful project to work on.”
Anya Cafe is post-war industrialist. Lines are hard. Metallic edges sing. Brady used the typical materials of the period, but it has plenty of modern elements. The sign is bold in block lettering and ever so old school, but the banquettes are far softer than what has been before.
“I wanted to nod to that industrial aesthetic,” said Brady. “Colours are rich and deep, there’s wood and neutral tones. But I wasn’t held back by that. It’s a humorous sort of approach – lots of room to manoeuvre. Inspiration was blended with modernity.”
Hindmarch added: “Opening the Anya Cafe is a dream come true for me. I hope it is a cosy, welcoming place, somewhere we can pour all of our creative energy and invite customers into our world.”
Anya Cafe is now open at 9 Pont Street, London, SW1X 9EH