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British fashion designer-cum-restaurateur Pablo Flack knows there's nothing like a seasonal trend to get the fashion set's blood pumping, so he's out to serve them a holiday sensation.
On Friday, Flack will open a pop-up Christmas restaurant called The Reindeer at The Old Truman Brewery, a sprawling venue on Brick Lane in east London. The restaurant, with its 310 covers, will be decorated with 40 real fir trees, log cabins, icicles, snow and, of course, fake moonlight. No Donners or Blitzens, though.
"We're pressing all the Christmas buttons at once — and it's sort of a twisted, fantasy Christmas," says Flack, adding he wants to fill a niche in London.
"Most restaurants ‘do' Christmas, but their hearts and souls aren't in it — then there are those vile corporate events," says Flack, co-founder of the former House of Jazz label who opened the hip French eatery Bistrotheque in 2004 after the fashion company closed. "The Reindeer has the style and buzz of a regular restaurant but with an entirely Christmas theme."
Flack has already taken 11,000 dinner reservations, and hired some 60 staffers. As at Bistrotheque, The Reindeer will serve French bistro food.
Not surprisingly, given Flack's customer base at Bistrotheque, The Reindeer also has a serious fashion bent. Giles Deacon designed the plates — with this season's signature chain print, bien sur — Katie Grand did the Christmas crackers; Stephen Jones made special paper hats, and Katie Hillier fashioned Perspex tree decorations, which are also for sale.
One of the log cabins will act as a gift shop where guests can order Christmas hampers from the Primrose Hill gourmet deli Melrose and Morgan, or buy their Christmas crackers and hats. Other cabins will serve as private dining rooms.
On Christmas Eve, Flack plans to sell off everything, from the log cabins to the plates to the furniture, which has a Pop Art feel, having been painted in fluorescent pink, gray, black and white.
Flack believes pop-up restaurants feed diners' increasing need for a constantly changing scene. And if the holiday-themed restaurant works in London, he'd love to take it to other big cities in the future. "I'd like it to be, you know, 'The Reindeer comes to town!'"