FeatureHeaven on a Plate

Reflections in Red

Rich, dark ambience, play of light and shadow, lush floors and luminous lighting- the Red Chamber offers a glimpse of authentic Chinese food and atmosphere- smack dab in the heart of Banani.

To any family in Dhaka, going to a Chinese restaurant is reminiscent of time spent with family. Whether to celebrate some occasion or just to unwind after a stressful work week, Chinese restaurants are always the go-to choice for a family outing. To spend a lively lunch or dinner with family while enjoying authentic chinese food, Red Chamber is a fine choice.

The name of Red Chamber itself evokes a compelling visual in the mind’s eye. A large, imposing room dominated by the colour red, the heady scent of incense and the ubiquitous Chinese motif of a Dragon- that’s the scene that imagination brings forth. In reality, the Red Chamber presents quite a similar view. The name was adopted from the famous Chinese book by Gao E called ‘Dream of the Red Chamber’, explained Rafia Mariam and Shaker Ibne Amin, the couple who jointly owns the restaurant with family members. They wanted it to bear the aesthetics of post world war westernize China.   

The restaurant’s decor starts from its entrance. Unlike the modern practice of transparent glass doors, the owners opted for a pair of heavy, red stained wooden doors embellished with metal. From here, the atmosphere builds and keeps building. The indoors do not disappoint. Keeping up with the opening theme, the inside of the restaurant is decked in rich, saturated tones. 

“We wanted the interior to have a dark and elegant colour palette, mostly black, gold and reds,” explained the owner. 

Red Chamber occupies a very beautiful space in terms of nature. There are lots of natural light as well as some green views. The lights are carefully planned to keep the restaurant looking equally mesmerizing day and night.

Total space of the Red Chamber is 3500 square feet, explained Rafia Maria Ahmad, the architect behind the restaurant’s glamour who grew up in a family full of architects and had a passion for it since childhood. It wasn’t easy making this space look like a classic Chinese grand ball room, as the owner desired. So the architect went with an open layout. 

Full of wood paneling, customized furniture, Chinese screens and chandelier, and the use of mirrors make the space look a lot bigger than it actually is.  Thanks to the partition, up to 100 people can be seated indoors, and because of the use of mirrors, they do not feel claustrophobic despite the dark colour scheme.

The seating arrangements were planned keeping large groups in mind. And the furniture also hold a surprising twist.”The furniture including lamps and lanterns are not only customized, but also actually made by us. We took a hands-on approach to it,” the owner stated. Just like the layout of the restaurant was planned from the scratch by the owner and his family, they also contributed to the decor. 

Red Chamber’s carefully curated menu is arguably just as – if not more – impressive as the decor. The owner decided to have a variety of Chinese cuisine. They have three chefs- each dedicated to a different type of food. One of them specializes in spicy Schezwan dishes, one is a dab hand at Hong-kong and Cantonese food such as noodles, and the other one is entirely dedicated to different types of dim-sums. This diversity is why the food at Red Chamber is anything but bland.  

Inaugurated without much fanfare in November, 2018, Red Chamber has gone through three menu extensions so far, explained the owner. All their effort has undoubtedly made the place a success, and the customer base has been very supportive and appreciative of their efforts, he said.

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