RedFarm London: Nontraditional Dim Sum Restaurant

RedFarm London serves delectable dim sum, like its two NYC sisters – but an insightful designer also secreted away a speakeasy on the top floor.

Next time you head across the pond, plan on a mouthwatering meal and chic cocktails at RedFarm London, in Covent Garden in the heart of the theater district.

The team from Brooklyn-based CRÈME / Jun Aizaki Architecture & Design made sure the tables were cheery, with what the designer calls a “classic farmhouse feel.” UHS Fero Metal Highstools in Traffic Red (with backs) are lined up at the counter.

“The red-and-white check fabric on the seating is a signature to all RedFarm locations,” declares Aizaki, whose team designed all three. “The homey, comfortable fabric provides a nice juxtaposition to the modern, seasonal cuisine. We didn’t want it to look like a traditional dim sum restaurant.

“Red is a festive color that symbolizes good luck in Asia. RedFarm is a cool, unexpected juxtaposition, dim sum in a setting that is not typical,” he adds.

Another detail that sets RedFarm London apart from its NY sibs: a live green wall, with plants to brighten the space and reinforce the restaurant’s use of fresh ingredients.

How about sound design? “RedFarm is supposed to be loud. The communal farm tables encourage people to speak to each other, enjoy the food, laugh,” notes Aizaki. The team placed a mix of spindle-back chairs in beechwood, ashwood and white oak around the tables.

Some celebs have even found the elusive Toots n Hoots on the third floor – but no naming names, to protect the undercover glam.

The signature Spotted Wood cocktail (shown on our cover), stands alone, a mixologist’s dream made with muddled cardamom seeds, cognac, pineapple juice, agave and Angostura bitters, shaken to a froth on top, then poured into chilled coupe glasses.

Aizaki envisioned the space like a barn with a loft, commenting that “the top-floor design lends itself to a hideaway vibe, with antiqued wood walls, black lacquered ceiling and tufted black leather banquettes. People love to feel exclusive.

Traditionally, a speakeasy would be on a lower level, underground. But why should the elite be in the basement? We wanted to elevate the bar.” Toots and Hoots Speakeasy above RedFarm London.

With inventive options, including Shrimp Stuffed Shishito Peppers, Kowloon Filet Mignon Tarts and, from the dim sum kitchen, Vegetable Spring Roll in the Shape of a Flower, what are Aizaki’s favorite picks?

“Pac Man Dumplings and Mushroom Spring Rolls,” he says promptly. It’s hard to resist tender shrimp dumplings shaped like the arcade game character.

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