Only nine months old, Neptune is already one of London’s most stylish hotspots, though this consensus is unsurprising. Dreamt up by old friends Margaret Crow and Brett Redman, and described as a reincarnation of The Richmond - the Hackney-based restaurant that Crow and Redman co-founded in 2015 - the duo’s roles in creating the perfect dining experience are more than complimentary. There are three integral aspects to Margaret’s role: “creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere, ensuring optimal mood lighting, and understanding how guests want to feel on any given occasion.”
Though she had always been obsessed with food, Margaret’s previous career successes come from the fashion world. An accomplished stylist, she spent time on staff at a variety of different magazines including i-D and Vogue. Starting out, however, interning on the Observer Food Monthly, Margaret had always wanted to shift her focus back onto food and when The Richmond presented itself, she knew it was time to make it happen. Obsessed with hosting, Margaret’s key responsibility is the guest experience as she creatively directs every aspect of the room and service - if vibe control were a sport, she’d be the Olympic champion.
Brett is the brain behind the menu, his ongoing endeavours have him oversee three other restaurants besides Neptune - Pavillion in Victoria Park, Jidori restaurant in Dalston and Covent garden and Elliot’s in Bethnal Green and Borough Market - for which he won a Michelin Bib Gourmand in its first year, and one for every year it’s been open thereafter; a total of 8 so far.
Looking to focus on presenting quality dishes from independent suppliers, who all champion British produce, like fish sourced directly from boats in Cornwall or dry-aged beef from the Yorkshire Dales. The three integral aspects to Brett’s role: “sourcing honest, high-quality produce, treating it in the best way possible, and understanding what guests want to eat.” They have created a completely new seafood-focused menu for Neptune, featuring Brett’s signature wood-fired cooking in the extensive a la carte menu and based it around an informal approach to the classic oyster bar which has always been a dream feature of Brett and Margaret.
Though they have seemingly dominated across the creative industries and boroughs of London, both Margaret and Brett are not native to the big smoke. Margaret was born in Texas, USA and moved to London to study at London College of Fashion after going to boarding school in Scotland. Brett moved to London from Sydney to work in hospitality and open his own restaurants after training to be a chef at some of Sydney’s top restaurants including Marque and Four in Hand Bistro.
Literally rose-tinted, as the warm peach coloured walls and ceiling offset the velvet and bronze furnishings, Neptune is an environment created for memory making and the rich history of the dining room is tangible. The space was originally designed by architect Charles Fitzroy Doll and is almost identical to the dining room of his crowning masterpiece, the RMS Titanic - the association with the most infamous ship in history ironically inspired the name of the restaurant.
Now the walls are adorned with artworks from an ongoing exhibition series curated by Antonia Marsh. The first artist to display works at Neptune is emerging painter George Rouy, known for his charged, hypnotic paintings of figures, flora and fauna.
A fine dining experience, Neptune is the perfect place to spend Valentine’s day, and the best thing is that it’s on dry land, so will only end up as a shipwreck if one doesn’t follow the stellar dating advice from Margaret and Brett in this week’s video.
Drawing upon the courtship of Neptune and Salacia, where Neptune had to send a dolphin to find Salacia after she ran away to the Atlantic ocean to flee from him, the non-creepy aspects of their story we thought might be a good place to start when approaching the treacherous territory that is “dating”. Watch the film now and read on to step inside Neptune this week - you never know, maybe you’ll learn a thing or two about dating in the process, need we mention the aphrodisiac qualities of certain shellfish?
By Kezia Navey for Semaine.