Nuts about the squirrel cage lightbulb

Whether found suspended on a cord over a bar, screwed in to a wall fitting or clustered in a group on a chandelier, Thomas Edison would be a happy man. I am talking the resurgence of the exposed filament lightbulb or the squirrel cage lightbulb as it is also known. This type of lighting is the current restaurant lighting trend and can be seen all over town from the funkiest bars to the smartest restaurants.

However, like all trends, it has now hit the mainstream. I walked past a Nando’s the other day and there it was, offering its rays of light to those tucking into their chicken and piri piri. It has seemed to somewhat become the restaurant lighting equivalent of the Ugg boot.

You may ask why I am writing about a lightbulb on a restaurant blog? The next time you are in a restaurant, a cafe, a bar or even a hotel lobby check out the lighting  as it is one thing above all else that can immediately ruin the atmosphere and experience of a place. Service and food, if they start off on the wrong foot, can be turned around to impress. Lighting cannot.

In my opinion most restaurants are over lit. So many dining rooms around the capital could be transformed if they just came with a dimmer switch. Les Deux Salons in Covent Garden, for example. A stunning French bistro with good food to match but I cannot relax over my snail and bacon pie thanks to the hospital lighting. I have seen surgeons operate under less wattage. Martin Brudnizki is to blame for that one.

Lighting sets a mood, arouses senses and can take that harsh edge off everything, especially people. Just ask a photographer how important lighting is. Who knows what the next lighting trend is going to be in the capital’s dining rooms? However, I don’t think anyone can disagree, even Mr Edison, that the best restaurant lighting of all is the humble candle.

5 places where the squirrel cage lightbulb can be found:

The Wolseley


Polpo, Polpetto and Spuntino

Wright Bros Soho


Grazing Goat


About Restaurant Gossip

25 year old restaurant obsessed Londoner. Follow me @adamhyman29 on Twitter.
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