Design: Steak Out?

As the saying goes, why have a burger when you can have a steak at home? Now the folk of Edinburgh can opt for a late night steak out too, thanks to the vision of Barrie Brown of Brown Taylor Management. His latest venture is a 100-cover restaurant specialising in sirloin, rump and T-bone called Steak, at 14 Picardy Place. It was conceived last year by Brown, materialising in February of this year, following a six-week refurbishment.
Brown Taylor worked with Four-by-Two on the ground floor of this Georgian townhouse, formerly Hawke and Hunter, deciding on the look and feel, and together they have served up something fairly unique. The only real structural change is the repositioning of the bar, from a corner on the wall where you enter to the wall on the right as you enter. The reason being the bar was apparently initially overlooked by customers and its new location makes it more of a focal point.
Says Adam Storey from Four-by-Two design, “Steak, although challenging, was a fantastic project to work on. We wanted to achieve a finished result that was contemporary, cutting edge, raw, honest and funky using simple, salvaged materials. I was over the moon with the final result.”
The sizable space has been utilised quite economically, through the use of many reclaimed pieces of furniture and other materials. Explains general manager, Michele Civiera, “A church outside London provided the reclaimed seating, and we went to a number of shipping yards around the UK for hemp rope. It was very labour intensive but well worth all the effort once we saw the end result.”
The same can be said for what has to be the main component of the design, the hemp rope. There is over four hundred metres of the stuff hanging from the ceiling and it has achieved the desired result of eliminating the sense of a colossal dead space above. Says Adam Storey, “The biggest challenge was filling such a large open space with eight metres floor to ceiling height. I suggested using a rope design feature which really helped fill the ceiling space and in the end used 400 metres of rope.”
At the end of the ropes are black painted wooden plinths housing spotlights and backless shelving has been used in the centre of the space to loosely cordon off a private dining space. The shelves have a few oddments on them like glassware, antique books and a typewriter, and will be filled up in the fullness of time with more. The more objects they add, the greater the privacy of the diners.
The rest of the design is pretty low key in a room with no natural light, and the overall vibe is shady, with muted colours dominating, like pairing gunmetal grey walls with a polished dark wooden floor, a hangover from its previous life. A splash of red is evident on the bar’s corrugated iron clad frontage, which is relatively simplistic with black wooden shelves and eau naturelle wooden bar top. There are also mirrors on the walls, soon-to-be-added art installation and a blackboard detailing all the various cuts of meat from the cow. The lighting is sombre and comes from plain glass wall mounted lighting, as well as the spots.
There is certainly a utilitarian feel to the place and this was intentional, says Brown Taylor’s marketing manager, Phil MacHugh, “We are not about fine dining, we want to appeal to the masses. The location is excellent for Broughton Street and the Edinburgh Playhouse and we cater for all comers with a sexy, vibrant, young and trendy crowd, so the design had to be practical and not too fussy.”
Steak’s design is a mixture of no frills with the odd enhancement of the listed building’s original features works a treat. The kind lighting and soft colour scheme also create the perfect environment for a late night pit stop.

Jason Caddy

Category: Features
Tags: barrie brown, brown taylor, DESIGN, Edinburgh, jason caddy, steak