Eating out is more than just leaving the comfort of your home for a meal, say the new owners of Mezza Restaurant Guy Jackson, Alexander Frerck and Julian Bostock. It’s an experience.
‘People should come into a restaurant and have an emotional experience,’ says Alex. ‘It should take them to a place they love. The food, the smells, the décor should all feel like a security blanket. That’s why Irish people pack the pubs and Europeans love the Brasserie, they want to feel familiar. So in designing the menu and the décor, we tried to create a feeling.’
After taking over the restaurant in May from former owner Cleveland Dilbert, the trio of restaurateurs put their heads together, combining their strengths to create the subtle dining experience that now draws lovers of fine food and wine in hordes to the spot.
Guy, former manager of The Brasserie, brings to the table a European influence that focuses on precision of service and impeccable presentation. Alexander Frerck’s cutting-edge metropolitan influence and acute knowledge of restaurants as entertainment could be attributed to his time as GM of Bed Restaurant.
Bostock runs a tight bar that is an elegant throwback to classic downtown supper clubs. Together, they have crafted a joint that offers more than one experience; fun drinks, good people watching and, of course, great food.
Similar to other success stories on the island like Casanova’s and Bed, Mezza has a menu that is reliably good and as in these other restaurants, most people will have already found a favourite. Bacon wrapped prawns? Jerk Chicken Fettuccini? The wait staff – who dress and handle themselves like super cool city dwellers, as well – know the menu by heart, are familiar with what ways each dish can be prepared and are extremely proficient with the wine list. For those of us who don’t operate like discerning diners out, it’s fool proof fine dining.
It’s hard to pin down, but the décor of Mezza has also subtly improved. The warm mahogany walls, butter-soft rust-coloured velour seating, and distinctive hanging light fixtures warm the restaurant up. Striking, simple table-ware that ‘pings’ and sparkles in all the right places prove that expensive doesn’t have to be obvious.
‘There were good concepts,’ says Alex. ‘But there were just too many of them. We haven’t really made any massive changes. Just small things to stay in touch with the feel we are going for.’
Their secret is never straying from their identity. Guy, Alex and Julian stand strong in how they feel the restaurant should taste, look, feel and sound. On any Friday night, you won’t step into Mezza and hear loud dance music or a live band. In keeping with their top class dining experience, the night’s experience stays urban understated; funky, contemporary lounge music and lively chat in the bar area. For lack of a fancier word, it just feels … appropriate.
The offerings on the island are becoming more diverse and there will always be a need for places that are simply good. Mezza hits the mark with good food, great atmosphere and isn’t afraid to be glamorous. For reservations, phone 946-3992. Reservations are recommended.