The Esplanade

The Esplanade is a special place. It fronts the powerful ocean of the south and is flanked by the steep headlands of Saint Claire.

The simple, raw beauty of this environment suggested interiors that balanced softness and warmth with robustness and restraint: hand-finished recycled timbers, cut onyx and marble, soft leathers and buttercup cushions.

We set out to shape a space that would be welcoming for dripping surfers and elegant families alike. The simple, authentic offering of freshly made Italian hand-kneaded pastas, wood-fired pizza and delicate desserts seemed a perfect fit for this casual yet elegant community haunt.

The material palette is simple, rich and familiar. We can see this working beautifully in a residence: large, warm timber table tops set with soft linen napkins, old silverware and honey onyx platters; warmly glowing amber lights strung above, and freshly potted herbs, wild flowers and bees’ wax candles to set your table. We wanted people to feel at home here, so it makes sense that home might so easily feel like this special place.

The open kitchen sits at the heart of the restaurant where diners practice their Italian on the chefs. Meals are prepared alongside the brick-clad pizza oven marked by a green glowing work lamp. A calm buzz of softly-lit activity prevails.

The leather banquette nook tucked beside the great fireplace is my own special place here. The mantelpiece is covered with dripping wax, and flickering candle light is reflected in old mirrors. The nook and kitchen sit barely five meters apart, but offer such vastly different experiences. This is what we seek: a single room offering a diversity of experience that continually draws you back for more.

Photography by Simon Wilson