If there’s something we can be sure of, it’s that Melbourne’s culinary scene is a rich, classy and ultra-tasty one. But our aim as Design Hunters™ is always to eat in design, so we thought we’d touch base with the good people from HASSELL who are behind the design of MoPho Noodle bar in South Yarra and find out how they went about creating this great new space.
How has the food been expressed in the design?
MoPho Noodle was designed to respond to Executive Chef Benjamin Cooper’s pan-Asian culinary style. It has elements of a hawker’s bazaar, with its exposed dry store and an array of shelves, hangers and pendant lights dappled throughout.
The dry store lined walls are screened by a collection of custom patterned bamboo panels, referencing the various regional influences of Cooper’s food. The stitched fabric ceiling, hung loosely, evokes a canopy, depicting abstract images of cheeky Shanghai models from the 1950s.
Like Cooper’s food, MoPho Noodle is a balance of bold complexities, adhering to a philosophy that creates a powerful dining experience.
What was the hardest part of designing this restaurant?
One challenge was treating the kitchen as an open, interactive feature without it being over-exposed and purely about function. We also put a lot of thought into maintaining the casual aesthetic without it looking untidy.
What’s it like to dine here?
Located in Yarra Lane, MoPho exudes a strong yet warm street presence, with the excitement of an open kitchen enticing you inside.
The open kitchen and revealing dry store provide an honesty which translates to the food. The dark bamboo and soft fabric ceiling creates dynamic, graphic elements and are lit in a subtle, subdued way to provide comfort and intimacy.
The furniture is simple and restrained; timber stools and tables with woven bar stools and chairs.
How does MoPho fit in the surrounding dining scene and Melbourne’s restaurant design as a whole?
South Yarra is a re-emerging culinary precinct. MoPho Noodle was created to allow Cooper to bring his experiences in Asian fine dining to the streets. The restaurant responds to the need for honest, well-priced pan-Asian food that appeals to people as an impromptu go-to, a local staple.
What’s your favourite place to eat in design in Melbourne? Why not tell us in the comments below, and if we decide to feature it we’ll shoot a 1-year subscription to Habitus magazine your way!