Fire festival inspires Sino-Japanese fine dining in Hong Kong

Georgina Johnston
05 Feb 2020

Kei Cuisine, Lwk + Partners's successful marriage of Japanese and Chinese cultures, creating an elegant ambience for the luxury Cantonese restaurant

Out of their client’s passion for Japanese culture, the team took inspiration from the Yoshida Fire Festival, a ritual that has taken place annually at the base of Mount Fuji for more than 400 years.

The entrance features a refined, innovative show kitchen with an eye catching grill counter that resembles the iconic tapering form of Mount Fuji, a landscape always in sight during the festival. The real flame grill counter is specifically tailored to showcase the cooking of Kei Cuisine’s signature dish Roasted Suckling Pig, a Cantonese classic.

This not only serves to display the chef’s professional skills, but also draws the attention of passersby and promotes interaction with visiting patrons. Guests are then guided down a moody corridor enriched with split-faced stone walls recalling the texture of Japanese shrine, an important element of the Yoshida festival. The passage terminates at a modern, interior interpretation of torii gates, which form a symmetrical view across the main area.

The dining area offers two distinct but connected experiences, leading guests from an enthusiastic and delightful main dining area to three private dining rooms with serenity. The visitor’s attention would be captured by a lantern shaped chandelier above an exclusive banquette seating area with plush seating. The area is surrounded by wall details reinterpreting the pattern, materiality and vibrancy of Fuji-Yoshida and a giant red velvet wall at the end invokes the spectacular scene of the festival.

The private rooms and main hall are divided by translucent partitions with patterns adapted from the chef’s ink painting. To maximise the use of space, private rooms can be opened up during the day and revert to private use in the evening, or can be joined together to form one large banquet area as required. All furniture, carpet, decorative lighting and even the feature ceramic tile in the show kitchen are tailored to match the design concept.

Kei Cuisine is also well known for selling fish maws, so it is designed also to function as a showroom for their star product. Lwk +Partners reinvented the Japanese ema rack out of the side wall, where brightly lit niches act as showcases of fish maws. Niches are highlighted by uplights and wall grazing, with a high level of colour rendering to give a raw, natural touch.

Kei Cuisine celebrates the craftsmanship and finesse of Japanese design. Elements of the Yoshida festival permeates every detail from the grand entrance to the fire-red velvet wall, washrooms and small things like wall sconces, all serving to immerse guests in the sacred festival for an elevated dining experience.

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