When it came to the inspiration for Matteo’s, the new restaurant at London members-only club Annabel’s, the interior designer Martin Brudnizki didn’t look far. In fact, he merely looked two doors down, to 44 Berkeley Square, the Mayfair address that posh Londoners will recognize as the home of the original, legendary nightclub.
Founded in 1963 by the late Mark Birley, Annabel’s rose to fame as the hotspot where the aristocracy mixed with artists and bohemians. In 2007, it was bought by the restaurateur Richard Caring who, last year, reopened in a 26,000-square-foot Georgian mansion at 46 Berkeley Square.
While the general vibe of the new space was, according to Brudnizki, “like a home that’s dressed for the best party of the season,” Brudnizki and Caring wanted the restaurant, located in the property’s mews house, to be an ode to the original haunt that started it all— a place once described by Vogue as having decor “akin to that of a cozily chic English house.” So they pared back their over-the-top maximalism in favor of a rich, refined space with a color palette of red, yellow and green. “It pays homage to the old Annabel’s, and has more of the traditional sense of English eccentricities,” says Brudnizki.
The purple floral carpet of the old Annabel’s is back, as is the giant gilded Buddha, which takes up a central place in the dining room. Caring even bought back a number of paintings from the basement at 44 Berkeley Square (which he had earlier put up for auction at Christie’s), including works by August John, Alfred Munnings, Glyn Philpot, and Ian Fleming. The walls are painted in the distinctive marigold that long-time patrons will recognize — along with a preponderance of tasseled furniture. “We love fringe,” Brudnizki says. “We live for fringe.”
Yet the restaurant also has a few new touches: Brudnizki says he put in a mirrored ceiling and a glass bar to give the space a more contemporary feel. “Yes, it’s an homage—but with some updates,” he explains.
Below, take a look inside Matteo’s before it opens on October 21.