We began at its infancy, from the shaping of its concept, to personally hand crafting a series of ink covered calligraphy walls, bespoke cabinetry and relics that line the walls.
Sitting in the heart of Britomart, its patrons must negotiate a bustling sunlit laneway, a corbelled doorway, meander through a narrow stairwell to the restaurant entrance that reveals itself under a faint but warm flicker of candlelight.
The restaurant was conceived as an unlit theatre stage; a subterranean room in a 140-year-old heritage building, with the occasional shaft of daylight penetrating its darkness. Layers of rich historic texture retreat and allow the dining performance to take centre stage.
The gnarled antique beams, the chipped and beaten floor, the splintered golden plaster, the faded calligraphy on the walls – all humbly united in the shadows of the space. Tables and chairs form below pools of warm glowing light, celebrating the joys of dining in a den like space, whilst illuminating the patrons faces and handmade bowls of bang bang noodles below.
The room is nicely proportioned, almost square in its form. Its centrepiece is a black-tiled kitchen that lines an entire side of the darkly lit space. Here, chefs perform their daily rituals as a spectacle of sorts, encircled by whirls of steam and smoke, and orbited by the diners they are cooking for.
Photographers Sam Hartnett and Anna Kidman
Cheshire Team James Ting and Fraser Horton in collaboration with Dajiang Tai and Nat Cheshire