AUTHENTIC ORIENTAL CHINESE RESTAURANT
Area: 2,500 square feet
Location: #2, LSC, Sector B, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi – 110070, India
Designed and built by Architect Sanjiv Malhan, OFIA (Office For International Architecture)
Client: Sarvesh Kumar and Nafisul Quamar Jilani
Opened: January 2017
Located in the popular area of Vasant Kunj, ‘The Silk Route’ is an authentic Chinese restaurantfor food connoisseurs to experience a wholesome culinary journey with authentic Chinese flavours. Designed with a contemporary twist,the restaurant symbolises the Asian sensibilities of design and epicurean delight drawn from the cultural interaction of the ancient network of the Sino-India trade route – the Silk Route that dates back to 200 BC. For centuries the Silk Route has been significant for the exchange of ideas, trade and traditions.
Luxuriously spread across 2,500 sq. ft., this 90-seater restaurant is built on two levels – ground and lower ground floor. The ground floor has a casual, lounge-style seating with comfortable plush sofas and mirrored tables. There is also a bar. The lower ground floor represents a more formal dining space with a bar and a designated section for a live performance. There are two private dining areas, one on each floor. What is central to the design theme of the restaurant is a contemporary take on perceived oriental design.
OFIA has worked on the interior design, architectural planning and furniture design for ‘The Silk Route’ and developed an ambience that perfectly blends with the culinary essence of authentic Chinese flavours. The concept story was designed by Sanjiv Malhan, which was then hand-painted on the staircase wall by artist, Tara Isha. This mural which depicts the Great Wall of China and traders making their long journeys along the Silk Route, measures 40ft in width and 12ft in height.
The colour palette is muted with a classic mix of beige and grey tiles and walls, with splashes of red across the canvas to highlight the vibrance of Chinese culture.To enhance its formal feel, the lower ground floor has table covers and is dimly lit. There is a mix of furniture ranging from sofas to chairs adorned with hand-woven cane embellishments.
In addition, elements like jalis or screens with Asian patterns have been custom designed for the restaurant. At the entrance, a custom-made jali has been hung, just like in traditional Chinese homes. The Asian patterns of these jalis are also displayed on partitions, wall panels and custom-made wallpaper for a sense of consistency. The red quilted upholstered sofas and cushions sewn with elegant silk fabrics exude a sense of the mystic oriental culture.
All these combined create an authentic Chinese experience. Interestingly, the space is divided into fours and eights, keeping with the Chinese auspicious numbers that symbolise prosperity and good fortune. Hence, the basement bar is divided into eight panels with an ancient Chinese proverb written on each one of them, like,“The one who carries the rose, his hands are left with its flavour.”
Traditional Red colouredChinese lamps add a festive feel to the lower ground floor. A quirky addition is red-painted birdcages with lights inside them. The ground floor has an intriguing rope pattern on the ceiling, a long, red couch with a Chinese feel, an elaborate Buddha statue and a pair of Pixue – Chinese lions at the entrance to welcome guests. To add to the interest of visitors, there is a museum wall with a collection of interesting articles.
The lower ground floor has a ceiling artistically created with bamboo assembled in a pattern and hand-tied, transporting visitors straight to China. There is an end wall withBuddha composed of leaves – custom designed by Taraand etched on acrylic with back lighting to complement the entire setting.Beautiful portraits of Chinese Queens adorn the wall of the lower ground floor and make for interesting viewing, while enjoying a meal.
The space represents the simplicity, lightness and functionality of Asian interiors, and yet there is a sense of luxury combined with elegance and grandeur. Just like the food, the restaurant, in spite of being contemporary, has a strong Asian influence.