Back in February we first went to see the property and we had seen it online. It is a former public lavatory at the edge of Folkestone Gardens in Deptford, London. And ever since we have been planning a restaurant.
The property comes with a planning permission for a restaurant, but – we think – the existing plans are not viable for starting a successful business on the premisses. So everything has to be thought and rethought.
As the place is relatively small, the kitchen will be small and we will be restricted with our food offer. I always wanted to offer Italian food, but not pizza (although there a great margins in pizza). We had a long discussion about what kind of Italian food can be prepared and cooked in a small kitchen, food that is fresh, exciting, traditional and innovative at the same time. And since the first viewing of the property we have been sketching, planning and replanning the kitchen.
We want the place to feel like a pavilion which can be opened up during the summer months and feel comfortable and snug in the winter, but the guests should still be able to look out into the park. So we are planning to have french doors on three sides of the property which can be opened up during the warm season with tables on the outside.
A lot of friends tell me that they judge the quality of a restaurant by the toilets. Toilets are important and they have to be clean and attractive. How can we plan a toilets which allow for wheelchair, pram access and nappy chaining facilities? And – none of the guests should sit next to the toilet doors.
Do we need a bar? Is there enough space for a bar? Where can we store drinks? There needs to be space for a screen, a till, and we might need a printer. Obviously we have to plan in space for a great coffee machine.
An then we have been playing musical chairs on plan, testing table and seating arrangements. We will able to host 40 guests at a time and there will be space for a communal table.
We have been planning a restaurant for weeks, but as we are now drawing up specification lists and are are coming close to the construction phase, important decisions are to be made. www.mcm-uk.com