A London Restaurant Inspired By Ghanas Chop Bars

A London Restaurant Inspired by Ghana’s Chop Bars

Plus: a clothing store with a Greek cafe, furniture fashioned from branches and more recommendations from T Magazine.

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Café Leon Dore, Where Dark Walnut Paneling, Brass Accents And A Marble Floor And Counter Provide An Elegant Backdrop For Greek Coffee And Pastries.
Harrison Boyce

Last summer, the Colombia-born, New York-based interior designer Sarita Posada, whose previous projects include the Standard Hotel in the East Village (with Shawn Hausman Design) and Palm Heights on Grand Cayman, was asked not just to take on the London flagship of Aimé Leon Dore, Teddy Santis’s heritage streetwear brand, but also the attached cafe and espresso bar. With the latter, she sought to create a warm, elevated space for people to come together — “community is such a big part of the brand,” says Posada. Drawing inspiration from storied European establishments like Café Einstein in Berlin and Café Central in Vienna, she opted for a bruised Calacatta Viola marble counter, dark walnut paneling on the walls and a hand-cut gray-green and creamy white marble mosaic floor. Posada also included personal touches, such as black-and-white photos of Santis’s Greek family: his parents on a date (chaperoned by his grandmother), his grandmother on a road trip with her cousins in the ’50s. The hope is that people will pop in for a freddo espresso or an herbaceous Greek mountain tea after shopping or on their way to work, and maybe see the green leather banquet — or the melomakarona (honey walnut) or kourabiedes (almond) cookies — and be convinced to linger. aimeleondore.com.

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Tsutusmi Yano

After being in business nearly 75 years, the Sausalito, Calif.-based Heath Ceramics is still beloved for its durable but beautiful plates, cups and bowls, but many of the company’s most dedicated fans also fervently collect its design collaborations with various global makers, some of which sell out online in minutes. Up next is Heath’s partnership with Akio Nukaga, a veteran potter from Kasama, Japan, who works with his wife, daughter or the occasional assistant to make pieces with pleated surfaces that are inspired by traditional shinogi carving techniques. The ceramist has been collaborating with the team at Heath since 2009; for this year’s presentation, “A Single Line Will Lead Me,” opening this week, he challenged himself to move away from functional pieces like, say, mugs and saucers and instead create vessels, sculptures, vases, totems and other artistic one-offs that are primarily meant to be displayed. (In variegated stripes of gray, umber and marigold, the items would look especially nice nestled between books on a shelf.) “Akio’s 59, and his body is telling him to slow down,” says Tung Chiang, Heath’s studio director. “It’s not about making more work but about making more significant work. He wants to leave his footprint as a potter in the world.” heathceramics.com.

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Diana Bartlett

Alex Mill, the New York-based men’s and women’s fashion brand, will launch a capsule collection this month with the cultish Parisian vintage archive and ready-to-wear label Brut. Somsack Sikhounmuong, a co-founder and the design director of Alex Mill, first came across Brut, which specializes in military and work wear, in 2018. “I was drawn to the clarity of the point of view and the quality of the clothes,” he says. “I’m a huge fan of a good edit, and theirs was one of the strongest out there.” He and Paul Ben Chemhoun, Brut’s founder, worked together to create three limited-edition pieces: an Alex Mill cotton tote bag that comes in a variety of neutral tones, and a Brut work jacket and bucket hat that both come in bright blue or yellow, all decorated with hand-sourced vintage and custom patches. Additionally, 200 pieces from Brut Collection, which uses new fabrics to re-create vintage cuts, and the label’s Rework program, which recycles vintage materials into new styles, will be available to purchase in New York for the first time, at Alex Mill’s store in Soho, starting July 20. The Alex Mill x Brut Archives Collection will also be sold at the brand’s uptown store, and online. From $125, alexmill.com.

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Left: Felix Speller. Right: Cyrille Sokpor

Tatale, a former supper club launched by Akwasi Brenya Mensa in 2021 with the aim of showcasing West African cuisine, and that grew to serve 70 per event at various secret locations, has now taken up permanent residence at the Africa Centre in London. With a 33-seat restaurant appointed with terra-cotta and indigo walls and handmade kente cloth pillows and lamps, as well as an upper-level bar and event space with standing room for 100, the new setup allows for plenty of room for its founder’s two creative outlets: dinner and D. J.ing. A music impresario turned restaurateur, Mensa strives to replicate the communal feel of chop bars, or roadside canteens, which he’d visit on trips to his parents’ native Ghana growing up. “It’s dining in a pure form,” he says of the chop bar experience. “You’ll find anyone there: businessmen, judges, schoolchildren. Everyone’s there for the food.” But while meat is often the main event in Ghanaian cooking, Mensa swaps it out when possible, as in Tatale’s jollof rice with mushrooms or omo tuo, a sticky-rice cake dunked in spicy groundnut soup. Meat or no meat, however, Mensa sees cooking as a recipe for authenticity: “Food allowed me to express myself through my heritage,” he says. “That of a Ghanaian, a West African and an African.” tataleandco.com.

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Noua Unu Studio

Seventh House, a recently opened design gallery in Hollywood, is housed in a building Frank Gehry conceived as a live-work space for the well-known 20th-century graphic designer Louis “Lou” Danziger, and that was the first of the architect’s works to receive widespread attention. Even today, nearly 60 years after its completion, the space feels surprisingly contemporary. Included behind its unassuming gray stucco facade are a courtyard and four graciously proportioned rooms with exposed two-by-four ceilings that are elegantly furnished by the gallerist Trevor Cheney, who pays homage to Gehry’s original vision by creating residential-feeling vignettes. Currently on view is Green River Project’s 10-piece Twig collection of rustic chairs, tables and lamps, which were fashioned — from branches of black birch found on Green River’s co-founder Ben Bloomstein’s property in upstate New York — using wet-in-dry joinery, a technique applied to combine woods of various moisture contents and in that way strengthens a piece’s joints. “It’s important that the integrity of the furniture remain intact,” says Bloomstein’s partner, Aaron Aujla. seventhhouse.la.

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