Restaurant Porn is a regular column of daydreams presented as a means to introduce Vancouver diners and designers to concepts, looks, and fully-formed ideas that they might draw an inkling of inspiration from. We do our best to pair the foreign rooms with local addresses so as to let everyone in on the fantasy.
(via) A common conversation/lament among Vancouver restaurant industry people is how few traditional fine dining restaurants our city has been able to support since 2008’s Financial Crisis. I’ve participated in these debates countless times. Some argue we don’t suffer the arch stuffiness associated with the upper echelon very gladly. Others say it’s a matter of prohibitive expense. I reckon it’s a bit of both, a with a few other contributing factors besides. What is less theory and more fact is the generational movement making inroads toward repackaging the milieu. This has resulted in highly capable restaurants that strive to offer polished experiences enlivened by louder music (more Stone Roses than Stan Getz), more approachable service, a more pronounced bar presence, more relaxed (but no less stylish) atmospheres, and price points justifiably higher than those of more middling efforts. We’ve seen this locally on many occasions (exemplars include Chambar, L’Abattoir and Kissa Tanto, to name just a few), and I enthusiastically believe a young and predominately casual town like ours could use many more. But it’s hardly a local phenomenon, as this Scandinavian entry illustrates…
WHAT IT IS: Roster — a stylish yet playful restaurant spread out over two floors with a lounge/bar and dining area up top and an open kitchen (complete with chef’s tables) and intimate dining area below. Like the Vancouver restaurants listed above, the chefs – Kape Aihinen, Olli Kolu and Burt Kotkavuori – come from fine dining backgrounds. The concept, naming, interior design, service design, digital design and branding were all executed by the Helsinki office of Bond Studio, which also operates out of London and Abu Dhabi.
WHERE IT IS: Finland. More precisely on the corner of Pohjoisesplanadi and Unioninkatu next to the market square in the Tori quarter of the capital, Helsinki.
WHERE WE WISH IT WAS: Somewhere in the massive new residential/entertainment complex that will soon transform the area of northeast False Creek now occupied by the Dunsmuir and Georgia Viaducts.
WHY WE WISH IT WAS THERE: Because if we left developers and city committees alone to invent and engineer new neighbourhoods without any gentle guidance (such as it is) we’ll probably end up with a nexus of fast food chains, casino doucheries and social kitchen restobars. It’s OK to cross your fingers for better.
Photography courtesy Bond Agency