Spices have been used for centuries to not only elevate the taste in food, but to also evoke feelings of desire, nostalgia and joy in people.
Spicy. NoSpicy Asian kitchen & bar in Ukraine shares the vibrant flavours of Asia with locals through their beautiful and modern eatery centring around the theme of Asian spice. The vision is to create an approachable dining experience with an authentic setting that captures the ever-evolving mood that spices can stimulate in an individual. Inspired by the wide spectrum for flavours in Vietnamese cuisine, local design studio YOD Design Lab came up with a visually impactful interior that pays homage to Vietnamese food culture with a contemporary twist.
The spacious 200msq restaurant boasts panoramic windows that let light in during the day. The soft, natural light works in conjunction with light fixtures from the ceiling grid to create the impression of a relaxing stay inside a Vietnamese bungalow. In the evening, the atmosphere of the restaurant shifts as artificial light sifts through the grid to form shadows on dining tables and columns, evoking a cozy yet mysterious atmosphere.
At one end of the restaurant is an installation showcasing various Asian spices. The visual display welcomes guests to walk up and observe, providing a quick crash course of their dishes’ flavour profiles before they indulge in their meal. The display also plays an integral part in reinforcing the restaurant’s spice theme by bringing the focus back to the heroes of the dish.
The most visually impactful element in the restaurant is perhaps the 600+ decorative bamboo fishing cages, specially brought in from Vietnam and canvassed across the restaurant ceiling. These cocoon shaped fishing traps are hand-weaves and are still abundantly used in Vietnam today. The unique shape is formed to adapt to the condition and behaviour of the local fish, therefore exclusive to Vietnamese culture. Utilizing the bamboo net’s quality to let light through, YOD Design Lab was able to create unconventional light filters for the artificial indoor lights.
To encourage communication and transparency between the staff and restaurant visitors, YOD Design Lab decided on a open concept approach for the kitchen led by renowned chef Yuri Priemsky. This allows visitors to observe the preparation of the dishes and freely engage with the cooks when sitting at the bar that separates the kitchen from the hall. Simple solid wood tables and oriental style chairs complements the busy ceiling without competing against it.
The cocktail bar that stretches the length of the restaurant is an integral part of the restaurant design. Much like the main kitchen layout, bar guests have a full view of their handcrafted cocktail drink being created from start to finish. The vibrant energy of the bar combined with the bustling street view in the background makes Spicy. NoSpicy a lively destination for those looking for a late night hangout in the city. Accompanied by innovative handcrafted cocktails inspired by Asian flavours, the bar is sure to be a hit amongst the late night dwellers.
Contrasting surface materials are incorporated into each section of the restaurant to evoke different feelings as you approach. Simple grey tones of cold aluminum panels in the restrooms create a cool and clean ambiance to counter the neutral warm tones of the wood panels that cover the majority of the restaurant wall. Accenting florals and greeneries can be spotted throughout, bringing life and a pop of colour into the space.
An experience at Spicy.NoSpicy will be a journey for your eyes as much as it is for your taste buds. For an unconventional dining experience that will undoubtedly engage all of your senses, we recommend a visit to this one-of-a-kind Asian kitchen & bar - if you ever find yourself in Ukraine, that is.
Design studio: YOD Design Lab
Location: Velyka Vasylkivska st., 114, Kyiv, Ukraine
Area: 200 m2
Status: completed in 2018
Photographer: Andriy Bezuglov