While stellar food and a spirited bar continue to be the heart and soul of a great resto-pub, distinctive interiors create an inspiring setting for that extra bit of magical flavour. Good restaurant design is not about a pretty place with fancy décor; it is about creating a unique identity that is novel, impactful, tasteful, detailed and memorable. We list our favourite standalone eateries that captivate our palates and stir our artistic senses.
THE BOMBAY CANTEEN
Interiors: The Busride Design Studio
Part colonial, part modern, with the right touches of quirk and a menu that is currently the talk of the town, The Bombay Canteen is the new favourite of the city that never sleeps. The beautiful stained glass wall panels with art deco etchings are the first things that you notice – graphic yet neutral at the same time. Blocks of patterned tiles create accent areas on the vibrant flooring, balanced by the minimalist polished wood furniture and grey brick walls. There is ample space to walk around – no need to unintentionally eavesdrop on the neighbouring table. Seating comes in a variety of sizes to accommodate solo time and large groups alike. Retro magazine pages are framed on the walls, the bar board lists ‘Fancy Drinks’ and servers in overalls sell mini appetisers called ‘Chintus’. Upscale but homely – you will definitely return.
Kamala Mills, Senapati Bapat Marg,
Lower Parel, Mumbai – 400013.
+91 22 49666666
THE HUNGRY MONKEY
Interiors: Project810 and Turmeric Design
‘Eat, Drink, Play’ is the tagline of the capital’s favourite hipster hub. The New York loft inspired café-pub is divided into three levels – a restaurant on the ground floor, a bar above and an al-fresco top lounge area. Wrought iron features prominently – the staircases, railings, arches and beams give out a cool industrial vibe, set against distressed brick. Radical quotes are etched, carved and set in various typefaces on the tables and walls. The T-back chairs and the hanging birdcage lamps deserve special mention, as do the hexagonal bar-shelves; all three elements have a linear synergy. Each floor has differently styled seating arrangements: tables for eating, benches near the bar and high chairs on the terrace. Numerous odds and ends, like mini table fans, steel microphones, toy robots and other quirky collectibles stress on play. Every day is the weekend.
B 6/6, 2nd Floor, DDA Market,
Safdarjung Enclave, New Delhi – 110029.
+91 11 46049801.
Interiors: Florence Tarbouriech, Morgan Rainforth and Serge Lozanza
If you are a hippie at heart, then a luxe shack is your go-to place. The Mediterranean-European fusion cuisine tastes better with some salt spray from the sea, while your toes dig into the sand. The earth is the floor for this mostly al-fresco restaurant; the seating is under vibrant fabric canopies and thatched umbrellas. The magpie sensibility is like a visual acid trip, embodying the spirits of Goan settlers from all over the globe. The mash-up of colours, textures, artworks and texts is further accented by bright curtains, crafty lanterns and an assortment of differently styled furniture, including hammocks. But it is a cleverly controlled madness, one where seemingly unrelated elements are bound together by an invisible aesthetic force. The finishing touch to this bohemian hub is a little shop that sells caftans, jewellery and handcrafted knick-knacks for your home – a takeaway from La Plage before you say goodbye.
Ashvem Beach, Mandrem,
Goa. +91 9822121712.
Architecture and interiors: Dyan Belliappa
Chairs and tables on a lush lawn and a patio – where is the design in that? Now that standalone concept restaurants have gained popularity, it is easy to forget that this serene setting is one of the pioneers that has been highly instrumental in evolving our contemporary dining scene. Integrating a premium store, an intimate performance space and a cozy restaurant into something of an urban oasis was as innovative as it got, back in the day. The store, with its luxe warehouse feel, is all about grey concrete walls, imposing pillars and corrugated surfaces – minimalist, rustic and industrially elegant. The restaurant uses the patio and lawn space outside the store; the seating is pretty basic, and the colour scheme is all about neutrals supporting the vibrant greens. Deliberately simplistic; nature does the rest.
No. 45, Bannerghatta Road,
Bengaluru – 560076.
+91 80 26593999.
THE KITCHEN @ JAIPUR MODERN
Architecture and interiors: Rooshad Shroff
A bungalow dating back to the 1940s is redesigned as an intimate cultural space that celebrates the modern Indian craftspeople. Within this quaint haven lies an artsy Italian café, where one can refuel between browsing and shopping for handcrafted textiles and goodies from the neighbouring boutiques. Beautifully reinterpreting traditional Rajasthani marble inlay techniques, the flooring, tabletops and even window panels feature a graphic pattern play in monochrome – chevron, checkerboard and other geometric forms are reminiscent of the 1960s optical art movement, Escher’s trippy artworks and prints by Louise Bourgeois. A standout feature of the restaurant is a large wall panel that is made of miniature wooden bricks, each of which is embroidered by hand; the result being a luxurious tapestry effect in colours that softly complement the stark marble patterns. Almost everything is sourced and crafted locally, utilising the skills of indigenous artisans. A great example of conscious design, part of a growing ecosystem in the country.
NH11C, Dhuleshwar Garden,
Hathroi, Jaipur – 302001.
+91 141 4113000.