David Fazzalari took inspiration from a bottle of chardonnay to bring a sense of historical Europe to the blue waters of Adelaide’s Glenelg Beach. Interview by Nicole Azzopardi
“Esca has a very strong focus on European foods and Glenelg foreshore, with its marina and ocean views, is a reasonably upmarket area. At our first meeting back in February 2005, Esca’s owner Peter D’Marco brought out a bottle of Eliza Pinot Noir and said: ‘I want my restaurant to feel like this.’ It was quite funny actually, because the sum total of the design needs he had was contained in a single bottle of chardonnay. Looking at this wine bottle I knew exactly where Peter was coming from.
There was a sense of tradition and strength and prestige in the bottle, which evoked a feeling of historical Europe.
The result is there is as strong a focus on the wine and the drinking experience at Esca as there is on the food.
Peter also wanted to target both the casual and the sophisticated diner, so we had to create a space within the café and restaurant area that would suit both.
We came up with the idea to recreate the richness of Europe by using texture rather than colour.
Rich, bronze olive walls along with an eclectic mix of chocolate and bamboo timber cabinetry act as a backdrop for the polished reconstituted white stone counters in the café.
This brings a strength and brightness to the area and a coarse stacked stonewall creates a much more casual ambiance.
This is contrasted when you step into the restaurant and see the wine stacked in rows and rows of floor-to-ceiling Bordeaux racks, contained within rich chocolate timber cabinetry.
The effect is that it immediately evokes the charm and decadence of a cellar without the feeling of enclosure.
We placed soft, mocha macro-suede panels on opposing walls to create height and depth, resulting in a much moodier, warmer dining experience.
The tall ceilings add to the spacious yet intimate nature of the restaurant and allows the rich textures and views of the surroundings to capture the mood of flowing wine and banquet meals.
Moulded timber seating in a golden timber veneer offered the contrast we needed and fireplaces in the winter give the space a welcoming, sophisticated look.
The kitchen is situated almost in the middle of the restaurant, separating the two dining areas without reducing the opportunity for extravagant views.
We were very aware that Esca’s location offered diners the opportunity to wake up in the morning and see a beautiful sunrise over the marina and in the evening enjoy an uninterrupted view of a rich, red sunset.
A full floor-to-ceiling glass wall completes the restaurant, offering ocean views from any vantage point within the restaurant.
It all adds to that relaxing, calming experience we wanted diners to have—that sigh at the end of the day.”
Divine Space Pty Ltd
Henley Beach, Adelaide, South Australia
13-15 Marina Pier, Holdfast Shores, Glenelg, South Australia
Ph: (08) 8376 6933