Combining cuisine and culture: Peyton & Byrne open at the Royal Academy

The latest enterprise from the master of museum restaurants will open in London on 19 January
The interiors of the Royal Academy's new restaurant have been designed by British designer Tom Dixon
The interiors of the Royal Academy's new restaurant have been designed by British designer Tom Dixon

It's almost a shame that the American writer Peter de Vries - author of the oft-repeated quote: 'Murals in restaurants are on a par with the food in museums' - did not live to see his statement thoroughly contradicted. In London at least, the number of cultural institutions now offering fare to match the quality of their exhibits has grown with astonishing speed during the last decade, to the point where it is now expected that a top museum will have a top restaurant to match.

Set to join this league is The Restaurant - the eagerly-anticipated new establisment at the Royal Academy - officially open this Wednesday (19 January). Run by Oliver Peyton’s restaurant group, Peyton and Byrne, The Restaurant's interior was created by Design Research Studio under the direction of British designer Tom Dixon. (Dixon was even let loose on the gallery’s private archives from which he selected pieces to complement his vision; the resulting decor includes an impressive glass installation housing sculptures from the Academy’s permanent collection that have not previously been on public display.)

The opening of The Restaurant is also well timed to coincide with the RA's Modern British Sculpture exhibition which presents the development of modern British sculpture within an international context, with works including Jacob Epstein's Adam (1938-9) confronting contemporary figuration with a monumental architectural quality and, as a counterpoint to British artists, Carl Andre's minimalist Equivalent VIII (1966) - a sculpture of 120 firebricks - that has a duality in referencing the idea of mobile and stationary, in the ground on which we walk and the ground on which we stand.)

The Restaurant is a further reason to visit the RA with a menu packed with British ingredients and featuring a selection of tapas-style small plates as well as the traditional starters, mains and desserts; it is another string to the bow of the Peyton and Byrne group which includes The National Gallery, the Wallace Collection and Kew Gardens.


Follow the link to The Handbook for more insider details on the RA's new restaurant



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