Daikin recipe for steakhouse success


23 April 2018
​Daikin air conditioning is helping an upmarket American steakhouse chain to make its mark in central London.

The 360-seat Smith & Wollensky restaurant in the Adelphi office building in John Adam Street is the company's first venture outside the UK, with air quality and temperature considered crucial to the customer experience. 
Work on the Grade II listed 1930s Art Deco building presented a number of challenges for Daikin installer Dave Tilbury, of Hampshire-based Maximum Air Conditioning. He said: “Everything is concealed, so we have been able to deliver a subtle climate control solution. The systems are managed with a Daikin i-Touch Manager, which we monitor remotely: that’s one thing less for the restaurant team to worry about.”

Nathan Evans, European Director for Smith & Wollensky, says alongside an excellent menu and top-class service, air quality and temperature are important contributors to the overall customer experience. They are also crucial for the Smith & Wollensky speciality, dry-aged American beef.

Evans said: “We import between 1.5 and 3.5 tonnes of USDA prime beef every month. It comes from Nebraska, where the cattle are reared to the highest standards – without exposure to hormones or antibiotics. We dry-age the beef for 28 days under strict conditions of temperature, ventilation and hygiene. Ahead of peak periods we can have beef worth up to £100,000 in the room.”

Temperatures in the restaurant’s ground and lower-ground floors are controlled by a 56hp bank of five Daikin VRV III heat recovery condensing units, mounted in a well-ventilated sub-basement two floors further down. Their output serves 19 FXSQ-type ducted fan coil units concealed in ceiling voids in public areas and four FXAQ wall-mounted fan coil units in service areas.

Also in the sub-basement plant area are two ZEAS condensing units, totalling 15hp, and a ZEAS booster unit, which supply the restaurant’s refrigeration requirements – including a steady 5oC in the all-important meat ageing room.

Smith & Wollensky butchers its beef on site – making it London’s only steakhouse  to do this with dry aged USDA prime meat. It also offers British and Irish cuts, premium seafood and other locally sourced ingredients.

The ZEAS units also serve the refrigerator room (5C) and the wine and beer cellars (12C). With the booster unit, they hold the freezer room at -20C.

The restaurant is ventilated by seven VAM heat reclaim ventilation units with capacity to bring up to 13,000m3 of tempered fresh air into the premises every hour. The VAM units’ heat reclaim facility helps to minimise indoor-outdoor temperature differentials, avoiding excessive loads on the VRV units.

CO2 sensors continuously monitor the airflow to ensure that the VAM units operate as economically as possible, delivering only the volumes of fresh air required to maintain indoor air quality.

A separate inverter controlled condensing unit is connected to a DX coil in the air handling unit that ventilates the kitchen, which is also on the lower ground floor.

The kitchen has markedly different ‘hot’ and ‘cold’ ends. The hot end is where steaks are grilled. They are cooked on a vast range capable of holding 150 at a time ­– a necessary facility when steak is on the menu for large private dining occasions.

Cooking at the cold end of the kitchen – where the non-steak menu choices are prepared – is entirely on induction hobs to minimise energy costs and heat wastage.

Energy efficiency is a prime ingredient of all the Daikin solutions installed at Smith & Wollensky. The ZEAS units, for example, claim a better refrigeration capacity to power consumption ratio than industry standard systems – and COPs of up to 3.0. Their inverter control boosts efficiency and minimises CO2 emissions.

ZEAS units provide an adaptable and controllable solution for all kinds of environment with fluctuating loads. Their small footprint and low sound levels offer installation flexibility – allowing larger capacities in small spaces.

Daikin VRV IV heat recovery systems are available from 8hp to 54hp with nominal heating/cooling outputs from 22.4kW to 151.2kW. As three-pipe systems they can simultaneously deliver heating and cooling to different areas ­– increasing the overall efficiency of the VRV system by allowing waste heat to be used to warm cool areas or for domestic hot water production.

FXSQ concealed ceiling units are available in 11 capacities, from (nominal) cooling 1.7kW and heating 1.9kW to 16kW cooling and 18kW heating.
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