design: Design Clarity
mechanical consultants: Datum 101
lighting: Ambience, Lightly, Custom lighting
stools: Villa Inde
tiles: Calibre Concepts
Michelin star restaurant Din Tai Fung continues to delight the palates of Sydney-siders with their latest Sydney restaurant at Central Park.
Award-winning Australian design team, Design Clarity worked closely with Din Tai Fung Management to offer the idea of a simplified street market/cityscape design scheme. The inspiring space features a theatrical ‘display kitchen’ evocative of a ‘vendors cart’ showcasing the scientific precision and culinary skills that create the edible artwork of each dumpling.
Deconstructed steamer baskets at the entrance have been cleverly transformed into hanging planters welcoming patrons, inspired by the external vertical garden designed by French Botanist, Patrick Blanc.
Up front there’s some bold instagrammable supergraphic branding for international DTF fans to post about and an authentic hawker street bike cart. Inside rows of playful domino-like tabletops sit under street neon signage visible from Broadway street-level below.
Graffiti-esque twisted Chinese proverbs (man with one chopstick go hungry) wrap exposed brick columns while reclaimed objects help project an unassuming vibe. The dining space transforms into a back lane feel reminiscent of the tourist experience discovering an unexpected food haven beyond the main strip of a foreign city.
Din Tai Fung has attracted high praise since it was listed as one of the New York Times top 10 restaurants in the world in 1993. Since then, the accolades have kept coming with Michelin star status awarded and most recently being voted Good Food’s number one dumpling destination in Sydney.
With five universities within walking distance, this design targets a younger demographic open to new experiences like the infamous soupy Xiao Long Bao – what American born Chinese chef Ken Hom calls “the best dumplings in the world.”
The ambience is casual, quirky, dynamic and lively. Unique features of the venue include an open dim sim kitchen with herringbone tile pattern, stenciled graphic on brick walls and columns, large red street neon signage, hanging steamer basket planters and sprayed recycled bicycle wheel feature.
Extensive exhaust requirements and coreholing for services across two kitchens impacted the project delivery timeline.
The ‘show kitchen’ or open dim sum kitchen in the centre of the space forms the basis for the spatial planning. This must always be the central focus and really is the point of difference for Din Tai Fung – watching the many dumpling chefs as they create the specialty Xioa Long Boa with surgical precision.
Adaptive reuse of old bicycle wheels, a street delivery cart and steamer baskets adds the additional layer of character, linking the space back to the brand heritage. And the tiling in various forms was specified for durability and ease of cleaning, but used in dynamic ways to be a feature rather than simply utilitarian.
Red is the traditional brand colour and was maintained, but played up against vibrant turquoise to sell to a younger customer crowd. The black backdrop gives the right moody ambience, steering away from any bright white clinical starkness and the blackness lets the vivid colours pop.
The natural light from the full height wall of glass overlooking Broadway gives the space a completely different feel from daytime to night – when the feature lighting really makes the colours come alive.
There’s another two new Din Tai Fung sites coming soon in Australia with new unique concepts by Design Clarity.