Situated in one of Melbourne’s most popular shopping precincts, Middle South East on Chapel Street is Biasol's interpretation of an all-day eatery with unparalleled style.
The restaurant merges contemporary Australian dining with Middle Eastern hospitality, expressed through its culinary offering and a richly layered design. With Biasol's team behind interiors as well as branding, they developed the venue name as a reference to its cultural provenance and its location at South Yarra’s recently rebranded 670 Chapel Street centre.
The spatial plan facilitates an effortless transition between breakfast, lunch and dinner service, and encourages fluid connectivity. Biasol established different areas for diverse dining needs – the main bar divides the casual dining area from an intimately configured grazing section, while access to the adjoining centre hosts pre-made menu items and takeaway orders. By opening up the kitchen to the space, the dynamic energy of the Middle South East hospitality team is key to the experience.
Upon entry from the street, visitors are presented with an array of seating options tailored to suit any occasion. Bar seating and dedicated coffee and juice stations were intentionally positioned at a low height to encourage easy interaction between staff and customers, while existing bulk heads were removed to enable an unobstructed openness throughout. Middle South East’s various zones are distinguished by detail – with inky blue tiles and brass shelving, a simple water station becomes a high impact convergence point. Curved forms defining the bar, water station and custom furniture relate subtly to the venue’s undulant exterior, conveying an organic sense of movement.
In crafting the restaurant’s materiality and colour palette, Biasol turned to the evocative earthiness of Middle Eastern architecture. Exuding a deep warmth, Middle South East is imbued with light and dark shades of terracotta, tones which extend to hand-made tiles on the main bar in a tactile natural finish accented with gloss. Aged brass fixtures add understated richness, along with custom-designed pendant and wall light fittings. The space is visually united by Terrazzo stone on tables and bench tops, flecked with hues present in the design.
Working closely with the owner to capitalise on Middle South East’s enviable street frontage, Biasol explored various ways of projecting the restaurant’s conviviality outward. They created a custom-built coffee and takeaway cart to further activate the restaurant’s presence at street level. Together with a series of inviting booths outside, these elements place people at the fore, acting as a highly visible endorsement of a welcoming venue.
Comfortable and vibrant, Middle South East is designed to celebrate a cultural tradition of generous hospitality, through a modern Australian lens.