Modern South Asian Restaurant Décor

February 26, 2015 Leave a comment

I have always been intrigued by South Asian restaurant décor. It seems that many share the same tired traditional elements like brocade linens, religious or Mughal inspired tapestries and dark wood furniture, treating design as an afterthought. But some may surprise you with more whimsical design. These restaurants give me confidence that if they consider your visual appetite, they might also go the extra mile to win over your appetite for food. So I wanted to share some of the quirkier, more thoughtfully designed South Asian restaurants around the world. These eating establishments have a fresh, modern feel that break the stereotypes of what an Indian restaurant should look like.

Curry Up Now – San Francisco

One of Northern California’s fastest growing fast food startups, Curry Up Now serves food via its trademark food trucks and three brick and mortar locations. The brand identity and logo design, done by Design Womb, is unmistakably bold yet playful. It mimics the menu’s personality, with items like sexy fries, by grabbing your attention immediately. (Images courtesy of Curry Up Now)

Curry Up Now

Curry Up Now

Dishoom – London

Dishoom brings back Iranian style cafes that were once part and parcel of early 20th century colonial India. Zoroastrian Iranian immigrants who worked for local Parsis used the cafes as a refuge from daily life. Dishoom takes modern spaces in London (with 3 locations) and conjures up the bygone era with period touches like ceiling fans, bentwood chairs, vintage Indian toiletries, and life size pictures of champion Parsi bodybuilders. Heard overhead are the melodic tunes of yesteryear from Mohammed Rafi to Django Reinhardt. And the food includes dishes that were traditionally served back then at Iranian Cafes or in Bombay. (Images courtesy of Dishoom)

Dishoom London

Dishoom London

Rasoï – Montreal

Designed by Jean de Lessard, Rasoï is a colorful fusion of Indian motifs, modern design and the European colonial past. Looking through the lens of a flavorful Indian kitchen, the designer reimagines shapes, styles, and textures to evoke a playful spirit. Contrasting colors, floral and vegetable motifs, and henna tattoos on the ceiling all collide to create this whimsical space. Even the saturated color palette is a nod to Bollywood decadence. (Images courtesy of Rasoï)

Rasoi Montreal

Rasoi Montreal

Zumbura – London

Aamir Ahmad and Sean Galligan co-founded Zumbura. They also founded Dwell, a UK furniture retailer. So it is no surprise that they would take painstaking care to design their restaurant. The small and trendy space creates a cozy vibe that is simultaneously lively. As interior design experts, the duo understands the art of subtlety by combining a modern aesthetic with elegant South Asian flourishes. The exposed brick and carved wooden bar are brought to life with the spectacular Mughal inspired menagerie patterned ceiling and copper lanterns. Locally made clay pots are contrasted with heavy etched eastern inspired glasses. Altogether, the space is a compliment to the food as it should be. (Images courtesy of Zumbura)

Zumbara

Zumbara

Horn Please – Melbourne

If you are looking for a restaurant with a sense of humor, visit Horn Please. Conceptualized by owners Jessi and Jennifer Singh, the spot enjoys a fun and festive atmosphere full of Indian hospitality. Named after the popular slogans seen on the back of trucks and rickshaws across South Asia, the restaurant also displays Hindi proverbs and kitschy portraits on the wall. A traditional Bengali wedding portrait is brightened by watercolor paint over negatives, a popular practice in India before color photography arose. You will also find pendant lighting with neon fabric cords and hot pink stools, which pop against the restaurant’s more muted tones. (Images courtesy of Horn Please)

Horn Please Melbourne

Babuji – Melbourne

This restaurant, also owned by Jessi and Jennifer Singh, makes it onto the list for its cheeky concept built around the typical Indian government worker, or Babu Ji. Babu Ji’s are carefree diners who do not worry about time or the prospect of returning to work. They happily indulge in their meal, enjoy their company and adore being served. This dining spirit is at the heart of Babu Ji restaurant. Babu Ji looks similar to a traditional Indian coffee house with hand-painted murals and Bollywood movies projected on the walls. It is a great place to kick back and relax with good food and humor. (Images courtesy of Babu Ji)

Babu Ji Melbourne

Babu Ji Melbourne

Which South Asian restaurants do you think go above and beyond with their design concept? (Food images were intentionally left out so as not to tempt you with what you can’t have – wink!)

Other Posts You May Like