If a restaurant has stars and a chef with attitude, it’s also highly likely to have menus designed and printed by Amadeo. Among those lining up to place their orders are Marco Pierre White, Gordon Ramsay, Raymond Blanc and Pierre Koffmann, as well as glitzy London venues, from the Ritz to Sugar Reef. The smartest menus of all are those using traditional artists’ papers. ‘There are only a very few people who can afford to use artists’ papers, the menus are expensive, perhaps as much as £10 each. But if you want exclusivity and that wow factor, there is no better choice,’ says Andrew Hunt of Amadeo, which during the past 20 years has become renowned for its menu work.
Among recent projects is the almost-good-enough-to-eat menu for Marco Pierre White’s Piccadilly restaurant The Oak Room. The large format menu has a folded cover and folded sheet inside bearing the menu choices. ‘Marco Pierre White wants a certain look. He is looking for a traditional, almost classic feel with an edge of modernism,’ explains Hunt. ‘For this menu we selected a Saunders Waterford paper made by the St Cuthbert’s mill, it’s very toothy, very matt, is used at 300gsm weight and has been surface sized to make printing easier.’ The beautifully understated cover bears just two lines of embossing – one at the bottom for the restaurant name and one at the top – for the chef’s name. ‘For Marco’s name we added a clear foil on the embossing, it looks like varnish and has a subtle sheen,’ says Hunt.
‘Always when designing menus we consider the environment in which it appears. A menu like this wouldn’t look right in a brash, noisy brasserie, but where there is subtle lighting, pinpoint highlights and lots of white linen, it looks great and adds to any diner’s sense of wellbeing,’ Hunt explains.
Inside the menu, the material has been embossed again, and received foil-blocking to form a border around the text, which is litho printed. The paper edges are hand-torn to give a deckle finish. Says Hunt: ‘It’s wrong to think it’s difficult to produce interesting print and a good finishing result on artists’ paper, it just takes a bit of experimentation, time and patience. But in the end, less is more, the paper should be allowed to speak for itself.’