Saturday, 22 August 2015
Museums are the food temples of tomorrow


Museums are the food temples of tomorrow

“Exit through the gift shop” was Banksy’s innovative documentary in 2010. But the truth is that this actually doesn’t reflect most visitors’ experience of the museum visit today. More and more often it’s rather  ‘enter through the restaurant and exit with the exhibition.’ The sequence has been turned around because museums and hospitality entrepreneurs have realized that great food goes well with great art – and all without being too pompous or complicated. German-born hospitality entrepreneur KP Kofler calls this formula “fun dining – not fine dining”.

And like Kofler, more and more restaurateurs realize that museums and cultural destinations are great environments for offering unique food experiences to this well-educated art community. The Magazine at the Serpentine Sackler Gallery in London’s Hyde Park is run by Kofler & Kompanie.

His restaurant, The Magazine, not only shines through its unique structure by ‘starchitect’ Zaha Hadid, but is also one of the best kept secrets for an outdoor Sunday lunch in the middle of London.

Further east, at London’s Somerset House, Michelin-starred Chef Skye Gyngell has just launched the celebrated restaurant Spring. Food enthusiasts from all over the world flock there to get their teeth into food that put a smile on your face. Spring has become a destination for gourmets and the surrounding cultural programme is a perfect setting.

Fashion houses that track consumer trends earlier than traditional arts organizations have invested in the hospitality offer with great care. The newly opened Fondazione Prada in Milan and Fondation Louis Vuitton in Paris both have spectacular restaurants at the heart of their sites.



‘enter through the restaurant and exit with the exhibition.’

At Prada, ‘Bar Luce’ was designed by Hollywood darling Wes Anderson who directed, among others, The Grand Budapest Hotel. To reflect on a great exhibition reminiscent of a film set with an Italian twist is not just unique but makes the visit to Fondazione Prada truly unforgettable.

Le Frank, the restaurant at Louis Vuitton in Paris, is run by Michelin star-chef Jean-Louis Nomicos, who created a menu which reflects not just the architecture but the art housed in the building as well. The restaurant is at the heart of the building, Frank Gehry’s fish lamps floating above the diners to shed light - and the inspiration to eat lightly.

In Sao Paulo’s Museu da Imagem e do Som (MIS), ‘Chez Mis’ is a spectacular space with a Mediterranean bistro. Not just a place for lunch, but also dinner for the city’s It boys and girls flocking there. The 25m sofa in the middle of the place reminds one of early Soho House, but the view into the garden makes it a wholly tropical experience. The food is affordable, and the people watching factor is priceless. 

And at the belly-button of the world – New York? The smart, well educated, mid- 30s Brooklyn singles with significant ‘hip factor’ have their dates at Saul, the Michelin-starred restaurant at the Brooklyn museum. Saul Bolton creates amazing food adventures with ‘prix fixe’ menus – most likely anyone who comes here for a date won’t go home alone.