Old Street Kobiteh (HK, PRC)
A Kopitiam dining experience that recalls the old Malaysian streetscape .
Old Street Kobiteh is a recently completed restaurant in Hong Kong that references a traditional kopitiam (coffee house) while taking on elements inspired from the contemporary Malaysian streetscape. The kopitiam is an unique Malaysian institution originating from the 1920s. Its name reflects the country’s multi-ethnic society: kopi is the Malay term for coffee, and tiam is the Hokkien word for shop. Kopitiam serve dishes from different ethnicities so that people from different backgrounds can all dine together under the same roof. This communal aspect is the main inspiration for the open concept at Old Street Kobiteh which is centered around a 37 foot long dining table.
The central table is comprised of 30 modular units, each showcasing a different tile pattern from the Malaysian vernacular streetscape. Together they form a colorful mosaic display that recalls the hustle and bustle of the vibrant Malaysian urban center. Particular inspiration comes from the night market, where streets are filled with hawkers preparing dishes in front of the customers, generating plenty of sounds & aromas to create an exciting dining experience. Custom details include light fixtures inspired by old street lamps along with neon signs which contribute to the overall ambience of a night market. At Old Street Kobiteh, an open kitchen is placed opposite the communal table, with a continuous upper ledge showcasing hand drawn menus, vintage plates and an assortment of the restaurants food offerings. The strategic placement allows the chef to engage with the diners by performing periodical acts such as Teh Terik pulled tea ceremony.
On one level, the design of Old Street Kobiteh showcases how the spirit of the Malaysian streetscape could be translated architecturally into a Kopitiam restaurant within a conventional mall setting. On another level, it showcases a holistic approach to restaurant design, seamlessly integrating the design of the restaurant’s interior, furniture, lighting fixtures, graphics, staff uniforms, while incorporating found vintage objects. By crafting an aesthetic from the mood and lighting of a space right down to its detailed components, the end result is a visually striking yet highly functional family style contemporary restaurant.