In the almost 10 years since opening her Hyde Park shop, Natasha Sideris has introduced a stunning new concept to The Tashas Group, launching Le Parc by Tashas.
A new direction for the brand, Le Parc is an elevated gastronomic and shopping experience that sees Sideris embrace her love for fine wares, freshly baked goods, and generous, hearty cuisine. Designed by interior architect Neydine Bak in collaboration with interior stylist Nicky Greig, the store draws on the initial Parisian inspiration — which has always been an influence for the eatery — and is an ode to the sophisticated shoppers who frequent the mall.
It’s this point of inspiration that is always the first step of the design process, explains Sideris. “We look at where we are, whether it’s a mall or standalone. We then let that dictate the interior. Whether it’s suburb, mall, or shopper — we find a connection. Here, we had gone with the idea of the Parisian street-style shopper, so we have the concept and then we choose the colour palette, then fabrics and so on. Once we have that down, we then work on the food.”
This time they decided to push it even further than before, creating an over-the-top, yet oh-so-chic, Parisian wonderland: part food-and-homeware emporium, part restaurant. “It’s a place to celebrate and visiting it should feel like an occasion. My hope is that this store will just bring joy to all who visit. It’s happy and different and fun — merging modern playfulness with nostalgia,” says Sideris.
The stucco-formed curved walls are swashed in pink and, while paper artist Elonah O’Neil’s iconic handmade paper crockery, cutlery, and tea sets (which hang from the ceiling) remain a key feature, they’re now gloriously displayed with the addition of another 200 pieces and finished with gold-leaf detailing that pops against their pink background.
The emporium is situated inside this space, offering an array of the finest bespoke and boutique goods, gifts, and pantry staples that are sure to have every gourmand and luxury lover salivating. It offers signature Tashas staples — such as its delectable muesli and freshly baked treats — along with top-quality local and imported products.Think the likes of scratch-baked bread, embroidered linen, De Nagmaal’s exquisite pantry range, Bonne Maman jams, and so much more.
Le Parc has also partnered with Botanicus and Assouline, allowing shoppers to pick up the most fabulous floral arrangements or a premium coffee-table book or two. The centre-court seating area has also been completely revamped. Stained glass by artist Francois van der Merwe fitted into the framework creates a defined space for the restaurant. Each coloured pane, whether white, pink, seafoam or green, is detailed with a unique texture and design, bringing a touch of modern, mid-century glamour to the mix. Further separating the courtyard from the rest of the mall are billowing pink-and-white striped sails strung above the seating area which, together with lighting design by Paul Pamboukian, create an illusion of natural light and give the space an airy, outdoorsy feel.
Rounding off the over-the-top aesthetic are large-scale papier-mâché artworks by sibling duo David and Alexandra Ross, who have created a range of sculptures for the space ranging from a larger-than-life croquembouche to an overflowing fruit bowl. Each of the works is inspired by the illustrations of Victoria Verbaan, which will be featured on menus and additional paraphernalia in the store.
Le Parc, as a standalone concept, has a menu that combines the best of Tashas café with all-new signature dishes. Expect the likes of a yoghurt-and-coconut breakfast panna cotta served with house-made granola, poached eggs atop a ratatouille with crispy brinjals, and hot smoked salmon served alongside a classic potato salad — in addition to French classics.
Those with a sweet tooth can indulge in a selection of gelatos made in-house in the time-honoured Italian tradition with a range of flavours, such as vanilla, coffee, and pistachio, as well as more modern iterations: caramel popcorn, granadilla cheesecake, and ricotta and fig.
The new space will also include a waffle bar, naturally, being the perfect accompaniment to a rich and creamy gelato. “I’m excited to see how people respond to our new retail offering and also almost this opportunity to return to our origins, telling the story of our food, our breads and ice creams, and how we make everything from scratch,” Sideris says.
It’s a magnificent space that will no doubt inject a much-needed pop of colour, glamour, and excitement to Joburg’s dining scene. The new format raises the bar of our café culture. It seems sure to attract not only the clientele to which Tashas has catered in the past, but perhaps also a new crowd, who will revel in this ultra-luxe, bespoke, and carefully curated culinary experience.
• From the August edition of Wanted, 2021.