Housed in a Georgian townhouse, the three-storey restaurant is imagined as the private residence of Empress MiMi – keeper of China’s most revered culinary secrets.
Spanning three floors and six rooms, the restaurant is where old-fashioned Oriental glamour meets modern eclecticism.
The design was inspired by Beijing’s Forbidden Palace, ancient folklore tales and the extravagant era of 1920s Shanghai. Filled with trinkets, antiques and memorabilia from founder Samyukta Nair’s personal collection and her travels around the world, each room tells a story in line with the ethos of MiMi Mei Fair.
The first level leads to “The Hall”, a room inspired by Beijing’s Forbidden Palace, imagined through the lens of a Wong Kar Wai film. A series of sapele wood screened halls flank a custom marble mosaic floor with a fish scale pattern. Each salon houses upholstered cabins in vibrant red leather for 2 to 4 people, wrapped in wood and teal panels, offset by aged brass and mirrored wall lights. Custom chinoiserie cabinets with Belvedere marble counters, paired with antique vases, highlight the woodwork in the heart of the room and frame the view of the Drawing Room.
“The Library”, a room covered in emerald green and black hand-painted silk wallpaper, in the manner of an English country house, inspired by late 19th century Chinese decorative styles, awaits you on the second level. Rich green leather and deep-pile velvet banquettes frame the room, which is centred around a St Denis Green marble fireplace and green lacquered library shelves where a rare collection of MiMi’s favourite books can be found.
On descending downstairs you will be led to the atmospheric verre eglomise mirror-panelled Moon Bar, inspired by the tale of the Jade Rabbit of the Moon, who mixes the Elixir of Life with his pestle and mortar.
The kitchen is led by Executive Chef Peter Ho, a Singaporean Chinese, who brings to MiMi Mei Fair years of experience gained at Singapore’s Michelin-starred Lei Garden, My Humble House in Beijing and HKK and Hakkasan in London. Combining traditional cooking techniques with his diverse roots, Peter’s menu reflects authentic and innovative Chinese dishes inspired by Empress MiMi’s travels through Hong Kong, Singapore and the provinces of mainland China, particularly Guangdong, Sichuan, Fujian and Hunan.
Photo credits: James McDonald
Design: Flabed Studio
MiMi Mei Fair
55 Curzon St, London W1J 8PG, England
Phone: +44 20 3989 7777
Minami Toronto is the latest project from Aburi Restaurants Canada, a restaurant group with multiple high-end casual locations famed for their ‘flame-seared’ Aburi style sushi. Minami Toronto, in the heart of the Entertainment District, introduces a drinks-focused venue that features Japanese-inspired cocktails, an expansive selection of sake, along with sophisticated sushi plates, bento boxes and bowls. The 4,600 s.f. interior includes a lounge bar that easily transitions from day to night.
Entering through the vestibule to the Lounge Bar, guests encounter a mural on translucent glass by Japanese artist Hideki Kimura. Kimura’s dynamic art style is fresh and evocative, regularly featuring whimsical imagery of frogs, koi and lotus flowers, and is a fascinating combination of his background in Japan’s early rock music scene and his reverence for Japanese culture.
The Lounge Bar is an intimate space that plays with sensuous materials, vibrant colours and dramatic lighting. A custom-designed installation by Moss and Lam Studio, incorporating 90 hanging pieces of diaphanous red and orange painted sheer fabric softly billows from the ceiling. Adding a sense of intimacy, movement and glow like flickering flames, the installation casts warmth over the wood tables, leather seating and the glass gantry bar with its sparkling brass detailing.
The Dining Room’s royal blue leather banquettes are lined with an arching backlit glazed screen that wraps diners in a breathtaking glow. Custom-designed orb lighting dance over seaweed green benches and chairs. Plants gently cascade from the service station, and Kimura’s schools of carp swim to meet Japanese maple leaves and stylistic cherry blossom branches. Warm cedar draws attention to the open kitchen, that treats diners to views of the sushi being made.
Photo credits: Derek Shapton.
Photo editing: Marco Beolchi
Architects and description: Design Agency
225 King St W Suite 100, Toronto, ON M5V 3M2, Canada
Phone: +1 416-519-9182
Sushiko, with more than 55 restaurants open since 2009, aims every day to consolidate its position as a leader in the sector of oriental ethnic catering and to confirm itself as the first and largest Italian chain of “all-you-can-eat” Japanese restaurants.
But the project is even more ambitious: Sushiko wants to broaden its horizons outside Italy by bringing its quality “all-you-can-eat” sushi throughout Europe, starting with Spain.
Along with economic growth, its primary objective is to ensure the development and success of its partners and the premises in which it operates, demonstrating its professionalism, integrity and passion.
Sushiko entered the Spanish market with the recent opening of the first restaurant in Barcelona at the SOM Multiespai shopping centre, and the plan is to open five more by the end of 2021, with the aim of covering the whole of Spain in the next five years, equalling the number of restaurants in Italy.
Sushiko arrived in Barcelona with the well-established formula: a large, strategically located restaurant, an “all-you-can-eat” menu offering quality sushi, and great customer focus, to offer a unique taste experience every time.
The innovative design speaks to a young audience, that see sushi as an international dish to be enjoyed in a colourful and informal setting. Here, traditional Japanese lanterns mingle with the neon signs of Tokyo, and ancient stories of samurai and geishas combine with the metropolitan language of street art and manga. Service is at the table, with a la carte and Infinity formula menu options.
Contract: Servar Global Projects
SOM Multiespai, Avinguda de Rio de Janeiro, 42, 08016 Barcelona, Spain
Phone: +34 934191407
The design for CO-OP Ramen evolved from the productive dissonance of the new and the old, the highly crafted and happenstance.
The space, constructed of simple and un-refined materials, prominently concrete masonry units and plywood, exudes a richness through the carefully composed textures of the space.
The view of the restaurant from the exterior storefront windows is filtered through a continuous length of steel beaded curtain, which reflects and softens the light, and defers the full experience of the space until one enters. Embracing the Japanese notion of wabi sabi, which celebrates the asymmetries and imperfections in rough and natural objects, it was created a “cave” containing booths from simple construction quality plywood, elevated by careful joinery and edge detailing, highlighted by concealed light fixtures.
Passing through the compressed articulated space of the Cave, the guest is released in to a spacious communal seating area, spatially connected by under a deeply coffered plywood ceiling.
Light travels through the depth of the plywood, causing light and shadow to become caught up in the recesses and in-between.
Surrounded by carefully laid concrete block walls softened by a 12 ft tall living green wall, guests can watch the chefs at work in the open kitchen, creating refined versions of simple food, itself a celebration of the same spirit of wabi-sabi.
Credit Pics @ Timothy Hursley
Architect and description: Marlon Blackwell Architects
801 SE 8th St, Bentonville, AR 72712, USA
Phone: +1 479-250-0474
Being one of the most cosmopolitan cities on the planet, Sydney has its fair share of ramen eateries, but none flaunt a colour-infused setting as Wagaya does.
The restaurant is occupies a 70 sqm. unit on the ground floor of Lidcombe Centre, a shopping mall situated just a stone’s throw away from the Sydney Olympic Park.
The interior design is inspired by Japan‘s hugely popular hanami or cherry blossom season, and adds a uplifting dynamic.
The arched blue doorway with matching service counter takes cues from Aizome or Japanese indigo dye, and offers a striking contrast with the abundance of pink indoors.
Wagaya‘s tunnel-like arched space aims to reflect a pathway underneath cherry trees in full bloom, and lighting that purposely creates a speckled pattern on the ceiling adds to the illusion.
One side is lined by an elongated bench and tables and chairs, while opposite a bar-desk with stools is situated.
The flooring, made from thermoset resin, is in a contrasting blue shade, and ties in with the Hiragana neon lettering on the wall.
The menu at Wagaya features a number of ramen dishes, each with different toppings, and additional bites such as gyoza, all paired with a selection of soft drinks.
Credit Pics @ Andrew Worssam + Jayden Huang
Architect: Span Design
92 Parramatta Rd, Lidcombe NSW 2141, Australia
Located at the famed Opera Terrace atop the historic Grade II-listed Market Building, this striking space is a vibrant addition to the area.
Crowned by an Eric Parry-designed glass roof, the restaurant runs along the entire east side of the market making for beautiful rooftop views across the piazza.
Bold in design, Sushisamba Covent Garden offers a host of inviting dining and drinking experiences: from the bar with its ‘living ceiling’, the exposed kitchen and high energy sushi bar, to the terrace overlooking The Piazza below,and the private dining room with its own entrance and terrace.
Sushisamba offers an inventive culinary culmination of three countries: Japan, Brazil and Peru. From Japanese tempura and sushi, to Brazilian churrasco and moqueca, to Peruvian anticuchos and seviches, the culinary creativity is limitless with something for every palate.
35 The Market, Covent Garden, London WC2E 8RF, Regno Unito
Telefono: +44 20 3053 0000
Credit Pics @ Ming Tang Evans
Architects: Too Many Agencies