Visual Feast

04 november 2013 / interior / words adele chong

As restaurants vie to one-up each other where food, drink and service are concerned, it is oftentimes the setting that makes or breaks a dining experience. Here are a few inviting new interiors that promise nothing less than a toothsome time.




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While a tightly curated experience is a virtue whether one is indulging in molecular dining or a cup of Joe, as is the case with the delightfully named Gaga cafe, there are times when the occasion simply calls for a little bit of everything. New to Futian, Shenzen, Gaga bodes well for those who enjoy their favorite brew in a more eclectic setting.Working with tight space constraints, Chinese designers Coordination Asia have succeeded in creating an environment that effortlessly blurs the lines between varied seating arrangements. Rustic surfaces, an earthy palette and a custom-made ceiling rendered in a sunburst pattern tie it all together, resulting in a place that is as much about mirth-filled gatherings as cozy tête-à-têtes.






For Vietnamese studio 07 Beach, an open-ended client is apparently both a boon and a drawback. Tasked with devising “cool” interiors for Ramen Bar Suzuki, a popular Japanese restaurant serving up Tonkotsu Ramen as its house specialty, the real challenge for the designers lay in establishing their own idea of an upscale noodle bar that was both modern and traditional in feel. Featuring an approach that marries contemporary forms with humor, the finished design skillfully combines raw and polished materials such as raw wood floors and delicate tile work. The noodle references are aplenty, seen in rotundwraparound booths that lusciously recall the flat white variety, undulating steel partitions and a more literal allusion – a large feature wall of a ramen dishpainstakingly rendered in colorful mosaics.





Hong Kong may be a reliable foodie haven but there are times when even the best culinary delights in the land won’t give you a break from the hustle and bustle of the city. Heeding this, Shelter Lounge, a newly opened gem in the more secluded back streets of Sheung Wan, was fashioned as an oasis of calm for burnt-out city dwellers. Designed by local interiors talent Kelly Chow, the bistro-cum-lounge features simple light-filled spaces that take a visual cue from Scandinavian design. Distributed over two-levels, the first floor, graced with an enticing glass frontage, boasts a sprawling dining area where patrons are served fresh locally sourced fare. Dark woods, muted shades of green and yellow and modernist-inspired furniture lend a slightly vintage feel. A communal table for six made from a zitan wood log takes center stage here. The candle-lit upper level bumps this vibe up a notch, created as an intimate refuge with every modern comfort there is.








An undying affection for New York prompted graphic designers-cum-restaurateurs Emil Halim and Steven Tjhang to bring a little piece of the Big Apple to Singapore’s happening Coleman Street in the form of the much-anticipated East 8. Invested with the duo’s creative prowess, the space – a tapas-style bar – builds on the rugged mannerisms of the iconic city. Poised against the backdrop of industrial surfaces – a framework of steel, weathered oak wood and exposed brick walls give the place its raw underworld charm – spaces allude to settings that come across as “classically” New York, bringing the gist of a factory-style loft, as well as the ambience of the High Line into the mix.  The replica of a ceiling-bound steel bridge sums up the experience, giving rise to visions of motoring over the Brooklyn Bridge as you knock back – what else – a Manhattan.






If there is anything that Jakarta’s new hot spot Potato Head Garage is not, it’s understated. Newly opened by local entrepreneurs PTT, the multifaceted set-up, housed in a former stadium, is something between a very upscale steakhouse and a happening venue for live bands. This unlikely combination is emphasized by its extravagant interiors; laid out in the manner of a decadent Victorian ballroom, complete with velvet curtains that span the length of the soaring ceilings and jeweled chandeliers imported from Russia, the vintage feel of the décor is offset by modern white sofas clustered throughout the main dining area. A larger than life picture window is undoubtedly the space’s crowning glory, boasting views of the leafy landscape outside.

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