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Restaurants have become big business, designed down to the last detail. Matthew Sweet sees what's cooking behind the scenes at the revamped Lawn
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Indy Lifestyle Online
If you've ever wondered what went on behind the scenes of a smart restaurant, try this for starters. A bit of metropolitan glamour came to the London suburbs on 12 January when One Lawn Terrace, Blackheath, was relaunched as the laconically named Lawn. The restaurant is now run by the Bank Group, which commissioned a redesign from Gordon Russell and architect Julyan Wickham (the man behind the sleek look of Bank and the Harvey Nichols restaurant). Which is all very well, but where do the spoons go, exactly?

The Menu The menu has a progressive, Anglo-French emphasis, which means that it's stuffed with vamped-up classics and cosy comfort foods: highlights include fish and chips, grilled salmon with lemongrass butter, roasted loin of pork with Jerusalem artichokes, steamed mussels, ravioli of spinach with butternut squash, sticky toffee pudding and clementine sorbet. Prices from pounds 4.95 to pounds 14.50, and the three-course set lunch or dinner will set you back pounds 15.50 (served Tuesday to Friday only). There's also a children's menu, with classy versions of nursery standards such as sausage and mash and burger and chips. The menus themselves - all 100 of them - are reprinted daily.

Food The menu is "directed", as they say in this business, by Bank restaurant's Christian Delteil. Birmingham-born head chef Eddie Grappy - formerly of Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons - oversees the day-to-day running of the kitchen. In an average week, he will do wonderful things with 600 eggs, 12kg of salt, 80kg of flour, 40kg of potatoes, 15 litres of olive oil and 3kg of chillies. Fifty oysters and three whole calf's livers pass through his kitchen every day. Vegetables come from Alan Reeder in Chiswick, meat and fish from suppliers Bentleys and Cutty Catering.

Seating Lawn seats 150 diners. A semi-private dining room to the left of the main dining area will accommodate 20, and there's room for 36 on the mezzanine - a steel construction that swoops above the heads of the downstairs customers. The refurbishment cost pounds 150,000. And just to give you an idea of the profit margins, Lawn needs 400 covers each week in order to start making money. The building, by the way, is valued at pounds 1m.

Cutlery Knives, forks and spoons are stored in the waiters' stations, and Lawn owns 200 of each. Crockery Kept in the kitchen. Lawn owns 250 plates (same size is used for starters, desserts and main courses except pasta), 50 vegetable bowls, 200 cups and saucers, 100 pasta dishes, and 100 butter dishes

Bar Specialities include champagne and vermouth cocktails, which are an absinthey shade of green. Lawn's 100 ashtrays are also stored here.

Where's the...? Downstairs in the reception area, sir. 80 rolls of toilet paper and 1 litre of liquid soap are flushed away by the restaurant's customers each week.

Office The administrative centre of Lawn, and also where the wine cellar is located. Stashed away here are bottles which include Australian Shiraz Cabernet Merlot (pounds 13.50), all the way up to Puligny Montrachet (pounds 82 a bottle) and Cote Rotie (pounds 139). Only two bottles of the expensive cellar wines are stored on the premises at one time.

Reception On the ground floor, where you may well be greeted by front of house manager Raquel d'Oliveira (late of Quaglino's). If you ring to book a table on 0181-355 0111, this is where the phone is answered. Thankfully, the new management has removed the strange tubular sculpture (like a giant mouli grater on its side) that used to dominate this area. There were rumours that this was a bench.

Staff room Here Eric Garnier's crack squad of waiters get changed into their uniforms, supplied by Frank Rostrum of Manchester. Lawn employs 22 staff in total, and the wage bill - for everyone from the head chef to the cleaner - is pounds 7,000 a week.

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