The new bar menu was still in a transition period and is set to take over the speciality grilled meats and a la carte menu that Temple and Sons were offering up to the day before we visited.
The change is largely due to the establishment proving more popular for drinking and as a late night bar than food, we only found out on arrival.
Temple and Sons on Old Broad Street is located directly below Jason Atherton’s Michelin starred City Social and was aimed at a much more casual clientele. Think jeans and t-shirt instead of suit and tie.
The Blenheim design staff thought we would stay for a quick nosey at the interior and a cup of coffee anyway, but nothing more adventurous for a mid-morning.
After all, the venue has been known to serve some of their unique cocktails in strange things, one being the Colman’s mustard jar and others in temple branded tinned tuna style cans.
The venue itself is on a small footprint in a glass walled wedge shaped building in the heart of the city, and although it is over two floors increasing the capacity it is difficult to imagine it would compete as well as the very nearby bar and restaurant the Broadleaf.
The design challenges herein lie with what to do with such an expanse of glass walls and exposed steels.
The designer has adopted a screening and shelving technique by lining the interior perimeter with cubbyholes and black painted scaffolding poles floor to the ceiling on the ground floor.
The detail is carried through to the bar gantry and both share internally illuminated signs telling the customer the food and drink offer. I guess some of those signs may need to be revised if they don’t appear on the new bar menu.
Overall the interior is more of a miss than a hit compared to other drinking establishments. It was going to be a tricky site to create the right ambience but even some of the finishing details don’t work together harmoniously, well executed or perhaps not finished.
One glaring standout disaster is that rusted steel effect stair balustrade with drilled holes that doesn’t go with anything in the interior.
The grey floor tiles appear to hold the dirt quite well and look utilitarian against the random mix of furniture pieces which are unfortunately upholstered and painted in questionable colours.
Another odd design choice is the use of antiqued mirrors on new walls and the underside of the framed and suspended ceiling rafts.
There are a few details we did like which were the table tops with metal corner edgings, the reeded glass panels, fresh herb planters on tables, and some of the set dressing items such as the old cash register and tea pots.
Service was good, the staff were friendly and this seemed to be bringing any ratings up in our expectations, but when we ventured to look at what the washrooms were like we were literally dazzled by the exceedingly bright stage mirrors. To some degree blinded our eyes from the riot of band fly posters across the walls. Maybe in an evening setting when the bar is busier and the atmosphere is more vibrant some of these critiques would seem less noteworthy but we don’t feel the need to venture back to Temple & Sons anytime soon.
22 Old Broad St, London EC2N 1HQ