In our third and concluding part of how to design your own bistro kitchen we take a look at the furniture choices that are open to you. This includes tables, chairs, bar stools and all other items that will fit in to your bistro design. Part two looked at kitchen lighting and accessories and now all that is left is to make a statement with the furniture you select.
When you are thinking of bistro chairs your first option is wood, whether with bergere backs and seats, upholstered, or plain wooden slats, wood is the natural choice for authentic bistro furniture. Your choice of seating will really reinforce the Parisian cafe feel you are attempting to replicate. Tables can have steel bases with wooden or marble tops and accompanied by simple wooden chairs. A great effect is to opt for non-matching chairs, perhaps from second hand shops. If you want a truly authentic look then buy a real reproduction of a classic chair such as a bentwood, this will be a feature and a talking point. Why not paint a cheap dining set that is a blatant copy of a bentwood set, replace the top with a contrasting marble top to your paint selection?
If you have opted for an island kitchen then bar stools are the perfect answer to your seating dilemma, a bar and a couple of stools give a great bistro look. A good idea if your design is modern bistro is to contrast this with traditional wooden stools but perhaps made to look more antique with paint washes etc. These stools will make a bold statement of design and patterning. A completely different option is to go super industrial, crafted stools made out of tubular and sheet metal to match the stainless-steel items dotted about.
Have a definite budget calculated before you start to design your kitchen, to achieve that great bistro look may cost in certain areas, but the total overall look may be achieved for less than you may think. Remember the odd item of interest to contrast and bring interest to an otherwise dull space. Think out of the box to maintain your budget but still get a similar effect. One idea if marble tops are out of your budget then use a marble cutting board, decorate it with pepper grinders and quint bottles that contain olive oil. Have a matching marble accessory such as a pestle and mortar elsewhere in the kitchen that combined give a bigger impression. And if stainless steel is out of range, hang up shiny pots and pans, fish kettles and unusual kitchen utensils. Create with your imagination and use antique kitchen items filled with limes or lemons or scented herbs.
There are many ways to create the bistro-style that you love, remember often this can be achieved with the most unusual of items that people do not expect to see in a kitchen. Save the majority of your budget for the obligatory items that a good kitchen must have, the rest is all left to imagination and clever design.
The second part of our adventure to discover the new neo-bistros of Paris takes us to more restaurants who have adopted this new culinary craze that is taking the French capital by storm. The old favorite dining experience of the Parisian bistro has been turned on its head with these establishments turning out very different cuisine than the old typical bistro fayre. We continue our exploration of some of the best new neo-bistros that exist in Paris today with Le Cristal de Sel. (more…)
Designing your own bistro-style kitchen should be fun and use up all your creative ideas. Take reference from some of your favorite eateries, how do they achieve the desired effect? It does not all come down to buying the most expensive fixtures and fittings that you can afford; quality items do speak for themselves but there are ways and means of making something look expensive. Save your money for the really stand out items and focus on these with good design techniques elsewhere. In this blog we give tips on how to create that bistro feel to your kitchen, and pointers how you can achieve this relatively inexpensively.
You may have paid a fortune for your cooker and marble surfaces but sometimes the wow factor can be achieved with the most simple things. A great way to get a French cafe effect is to hang a chalkboard on the wall perhaps with the menu for your dinner party written on it. You can also use slate as wall panels for an all over look. Even though your design might be an ultra-modern bistro with a plethora of stainless steel, a good bistro kitchen should also have some antique curios to act as talking points. They need not be genuine antiques but will create more interest if they are. Items such as thermometers, clocks, old kitchen gadgets hung from the walls or ceiling can produce the most striking contrasts in your kitchen.
Vintage art and posters can be most dramatic, look for pictures of French food art, or perhaps famous bistros in Paris. This will give an authentic feel to your own bistro kitchen, if you have selected a black and white theme then look for contrasting colors in your art, like bright reds and vivid greens this will add a splash of color to a monochrome background.
No matter what color scheme you decide on, stainless steel appliances always blend in. It gives the effect of being industrial and ultra-modern. It also replicates a professional kitchen which is ideal for your bistro-style effect. Stainless steel also blends perfectly with vintage and modern decor and is highly effective when it is contrasted with either dark wooden flooring or perhaps an antique style ceiling.
For the best bistro effect then choose pendant style lighting, there are many choices and you can opt for modern steel to material covered fittings. Prominent pendants provide both illumination and the impression of height, they also draw your gaze upwards towards the ceiling and provide perpendicular lines for you to play with. In addition, when the kitchen is dark they provide small areas of light that highlight particular features, this intermittent and sporadic lighting effect is really quite dramatic as it leaves dark spaces in your kitchen that in a way are segmented off the main area.
Lighting in Bistro
In our concluding part of how to design a bistro-style kitchen, we take a look at the furniture that is particularly effective in creating an authentic effect. You need not spend a fortune on this as quite often odd tables and chairs give a great bistro casual look.
It is a well-known fact that most families spend a great deal of their time in their kitchens and dining rooms than any other room in the house. That is why many home owners spend more on their kitchens than elsewhere in the home. It is a place to entertain guests as well as to show off your culinary skills and wow your friends. A type of kitchen that is becoming more and more in vogue is the bistro-style kitchen and in this blog, we will give some tips and ideas how to transform your kitchen into something spectacular
Many bistro kitchens take on all the 19th Century French charm that they possibly can and feature distinctive detailing. Others prefer to replicate more modern bistro’s perhaps where they eat frequently and feature industrial lighting and subway tiles. There are no set rules and regulations how you should design your kitchen but certain themes are popular, like stainless steel backsplash, vintage seating and marble. In essence a bistro kitchen should be quaint but also modern to fit into a contemporary home.
Marble has the ability to lend itself to traditional kitchen design or ultra-modern, and is perfect for a bistro kitchen design. It also has the ability to exude quality, expense and class and will make your kitchen look like it has been designed by a professional. The most popular choice for bistro kitchens is white marble with grey veins, which is a variation on the classic black and white and a little less stark.
Flooring needs to be practical but should fit in with the overall color design, think about some of your favorite bistros, what flooring do they have? A classic bistro flooring is exposed hardwood and can blend in with any color scheme. If you can afford the real McCoy go for genuine hardwood rather than laminated, it really makes a statement and why skip on this part of the expense. But classic black and white floor tiles scream French eatery and leave the rest of the kitchen to provide the wow factor. In part two of how to design your own bistro kitchen we focus on the accessories, furniture and lighting that go in your new kitchen. And how to really make your space something that will provide a definite wow factor that your neighbors and friends are guaranteed to be jealous of.
There will be tips on how to bring authentic but contrasting ideas into your kitchen to highlight the overall effect you are trying to make.
There has been a radical upgrade of the humble bistro in Paris and these new eateries are being called neo-bistros, where the look, atmosphere and feel of the classic bistro has remained more or less the same but the food has been upgraded immensely. As one diner to Au Bascou in Paris commented, it looks like a bistro, definitely feels like a bistro, and is priced like a bistro…but the cooking is far superior. A rather plain and undescriptive summary of one of the new breed of diners in Paris but quite an accurate one. Paris has always loved its casual dining, almost as much as five-star gastro food, the Parisians love an informal and relaxed atmosphere in their restaurants, as long as the food was up to scratch, and now they have it with the revamped neo-bistros. The big difference between the new dining experiences and a formal restaurant is that the quality ingredients that the young chefs serve are not caviar or truffles but organic vegetables and cuts of meat you may not expect. In this series we look at some of the best new neo-bistros in Paris.
For those who knew the old Astier, things look much the same, the old pine interior is still there, and the red and white check tablecloths are too, but something is far different. The restaurant has changed hands and the new owners have adopted the neo-bistro attitude in their cuisine. There is a new team in the kitchen, with a classically trained young chef from Le Meurice at the helm. There are clever but subtle additions to the menu which elevate the dining experience to a completely another level. The bistro still has a great wine cellar and the famous cheeses, and desserts are as good as they ever were.
Au Bascou has a new arrival in the shape of Chef Bertrand Gueneron who led the culinary team at the rather exalted Senderens restaurant across the city. The décor of Au Bascou is classic bistro, with old cartoons adorning the walls and a rather strange zinc bar. The menu has been completely revamped, many of the dishes created by the new chef himself. For instance, there is a warm fennel salad with prawns, a hearty chestnut soup and a flank of veal braised in carrots and oranges. Basque classics which the restaurant was famous for still exist and a visit to Au Bascou bistro is like making a trip to the French provinces.
Inaki Aizpitarte is the main man behind this stunning newly revamped bistro, it is cool, laid back and attracts both Parisian personalities and a very hip crowd. Le Chateaubriand is so popular that reservations must be made for dinner when the diner will be faced with a menu degustation which is a five-course meal. Firstly, there is amuse-bouche, then an entree, followed by fish and meat courses and all finished off with a choice of cheese or dessert. If you like your cooking avant-garde, then this is the place to go; think of it in terms of drinking oyster broth through a straw! We continue our culinary journey across Paris in part two of this series.
Are you the sort of person who gets hung up over a name? Do the different names and terms of eating establishments confuse you? Well in this blog we attempt to clarify which sort of French dining establishments are called what and the differences between them. In France of course you have restaurants, brasseries, cafes, bistros and salons de tea. Each place is rather different than the other and will serve different types of food and drink in different ways.
A restaurant is somewhere that caters for formal dining, it will offer a large selection of food from a comprehensive menu and have an extensive wine cellar. It is the most expensive way of eating and the décor and service is normally at a very high standard. Some restaurants cater for a particular cuisine such as seafood, or steakhouse, and some serve just one country’s cuisine i.e. Italian, Mexican, French etc.
A French brasserie is a type of restaurant the has the same menu all day, this is occasionally augmented with a plat du Jour. A brasserie usually serves classic French cuisine featuring dishes such as, steak tartare, onion soup, charcuterie, and confit de canard. Brasserie can also mean brewery and the restaurant will most likely serve a selection of good beers as well as wines.
Bistros are informal small restaurants, normally just serving simple local food for a particular neighborhood. Dishes are often cooked home-style using a few ingredients and cooked slowly. Popular bistro dishes are things like, hearty stews and vegetable soups perhaps made from leftovers of other dishes. Normally bistros will be chef owned and small businesses, that are affordable and give great value for money.
A cafe can be a twenty-four-hour affair and is the most common type of place to eat in France. A cafe’s forte is the drink selection it offers which normally includes, coffee, tea, beer and wine. Cafes will open for breakfast and continue serving simple dishes for lunch and dinner. Normally the same dishes are served throughout the day and the menu does not change, dishes could include sandwiches, croques, omelets, salads, baguettes and fast food items. Quite often a cafe will have tables and chairs outside, and in Paris they have heat lamps for the colder parts of the year.
Salon de The
A Salon de the is the most informal dining establishment in France, this type of establishment specializes in drinks more than food, especially tea. Cakes, pastries and sandwiches are available to go with a selection of teas and coffees. Some of these places also provide a small selection light dishes and usually the owner is the cook, waiter and general bottle washer. France is a fairly organized society and especially when it comes to food. The French are a serious foodie nation and like everything in its place, they will quite happily travel for miles for a particular dish or a type of food rather than have inferior somewhere local. That is why they have so many categories of dining establishments, so each place specializes in a particular thing, be it food or drink. It can be confusing to many people such as Americans or English who mainly call eating establishments either restaurants, diners or cafes.