After three years of planning, researching and building, Absinthe Group is set to unveil its newest project in SoMa. It is named Bellota, (Spanish for acorn), and refers to the diet of the pigs responsible for the highly prized Jamon Ibérico de Bellota.The Spanish influence is seen throughout the restaurant, from chef Ryan McIlwraith's menu of paellas and tapas, to the stylish décor that combines rustic craftsmanship with elegant design details.
The 170-seat restaurant's design came from Sagan Piechota Architecture (also the designers of Absinthe Group's Boxing Room and Arlequin Wine Merchant), who transformed the 5,400 square-foot space into a cozy, and refined atmosphere.
The collaboration of San Francisco artisans has resulted in a ridiculously detailed space. Tabletops and counters were crafted from California bay laurel by Thamer Design and Woodworking, Fyrn chairs made in the Mission, with custom leather seat-coverings and banquettes from Moore & Giles and saffron-colored, tufted leather walls from Venezia Upholstery. The Moorish influence is seen throughout via wall stencils, tiles and a giant light pendant in the entryway; oil lamps with actual flames are scattered throughout. Adding to the dim lighting are brass lamps along the bar and chef's counters (an Instagrammer's dream, complete with dimmers). Custom tableware comes from Jered's Pottery in Richmond, and MMclay in Hayes Valley.
The jamón display and wine displays are equally impressive, filled with an overwhelming amount of hams and 2,500 bottles from Spain. Above the bar, four barrels with taps dispense natural cider, sangria, vermouth and sherry. In the lounge, a massive motorized fan hangs from the ceiling, above a baby grand piano where live lounge performances take place. The entire restaurant is controlled by a custom (and very fancy) sound system from Berkeley's Meyer Sound.
Bellota officially opens Wednesday, May 25 for dinner, Monday-Saturday. Check out the full menu here.