Restaurant Kitchen, Bar & Bakery.
Embassy Gardens, Vauxhall, London.

A NYC-inspired, all-day neighbourhood restaurant with an oyster bar, bakery & grill and al fresco tables

Darby’s, in Battersea’s Embassy Gardens just across from the new American Embassy, is much more than just a restaurant. Robin Gill heads the team that ensures this stunning, airy space provides exactly what local folk want. It’s open from 8.00 am right through, and serves breakfast, lunch and dinner but also welcomes customers who simply want a coffee or cocktail.

With three restaurant success stories under his belt, The Dairy, Sorella and Counter Culture, Robin has always known the importance of a good kitchen and it’s no coincidence that Nelson Commercial Kitchens was involved in all three. Therefore, when the opportunity to head Darby’s arose, he had no hesitation in calling us in again.

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Although Embassy Gardens is a joint development by EcoWorld and Ballymore, Robin, together with his wife and business partner, Sarah, were the major decision makers on the Darby’s project. Even the name came from Robin – in memory of his late father, Earl ‘Darby’ Gill, a successful jazz musician who toured across the US in the 50s and 60s.

There were a number of elements that needed to be incorporated into the design including a bakery (big enough to supply wholesale as well as the restaurant), a New York inspired oyster bar, a butchery and meat ageing room, a charcuterie and red wine store, a bar and a huge open grill as well as a very well equipped kitchen.

Robin, Sarah and the team also wanted to make sure that every area within Darby’s offered a touch of theatre so that customers could watch and enjoy the preparation and cooking processes.

The sheer scale of the project involved many months of groundwork for the Nelson team. One of the first items to be addressed was the bespoke, 3.5 metre long, Athanor island suite with its striking robata grill immediately adjacent to the pass. Also packed into the suite are 2 x twin open gas burners, a solid top gas burner, an inset multi-cooker that can be utilised as a steamer or pasta cooker, a twin zone steel plancha grill and 2 x classical style cast iron lined roasting ovens.

Nelson also designed a stand-alone bakery section with a three-deck baking oven. Robin is known for exceptional bread and he wanted Darby’s to be able to produce enough to be able to supply wholesale as well as provide for his own customers. The last area we addressed was equipping and fitting out the huge rectangular bar, visible from every angle.

Embassy Gardens will soon be connected by two new tube stations, riverboats and a new Thames crossing, cementing Darby’s future as a destination restaurant for many years to come.

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