FeatureHeaven on a Plate

Cheerful Oriental Fusion | Shiitake

Fusion-style Asian cuisine restaurants in Dhaka come in all shapes and sizes, nowadays. To make its mark, Shiitake restaurant takes the idea of fusion and incorporates it into every aspect of the establishment with the help of Partner Architect Quazi Fahima Naz and Associate Architect Mahabubur Rahman Shafat from the firm Archdoers. From the food that embraces Japanese, Korean and Thai cuisine, to the greenery planted inside the space, to the incredibly expressive walls that bridge traditional Japanese painting and contemporary manga-style art, the art of fusion is executed flawlessly.

Located at Rangs Fortune Square, Dhanmondi 2a, Shiitake occupies a prime spot for luring in foodies. The name of the restaurant is unique and quite unknown to some. So, what does Shiitake mean? It is a mushroom that is well-loved in Japanese cuisine that has to be prepared right to maintain the authentic flavour. It is quite poetic to name a restaurant Shiitake; it implies that the dishes in the restaurant are prepared with utmost care so as to provide only the best taste to the patrons.

Both the decor and the food are designed to cater to both young patrons and those who want to visit with their families. There’s a large selection of various types of Sushi on the menu, as well as several types of dumplings. There are also crowd favourite items such as fried rice, noodles, and soup.  Right from the entrance, the restaurant gives off a cheerful vibe with all the thoughtfully placed pops of colour and lights. The use of all-natural plants across the airy and naturally bright space also doesn’t hurt and instantly places the visitor in a relaxed state of mind. The space was originally small and the architects explained that they didn’t want to introduce any elements that would close off the space any further. In fact, they kept the decor to a minimum while also making it casual, cheerful, and unique.

Team Archdoers

“It was a conscious choice not to lower the height of the ceiling,” Architect Mahabubur Rahman says while explaining their decision to use suspended lights to brighten up the restaurant. The strategic placement of the lights also enhances the beauty of the wall arts and the subtle design details.

Instead of making it ostensibly oriental, there are small indicators that make it unmistakable oriental. “Bamboo represents traditional Japanese landscape,” Architect Quazi Fahima Naz says. Bamboo and some easy-to-maintain indoor plants are spread evenly throughout the establishment. This way, the patrons can enjoy a touch of greenery no matter where they are seated. The seating arrangement is also brilliant in its simplicity, sporting bright but soothing splashes of colour across the floor. However, the real MVP of this restaurant’s decor would be the wall art.

When the architects were tasked with the interior decor of Shiitake, they noticed the potential behind the large stretches of the wall right away. And in the end, the walls became the most attractive features of the establishment.

“We wanted to juxtapose both traditional and contemporary elements of Japanese culture,” the architects state. The wall closest to the entrance to Shiitake was chosen to bear the mark of traditional Japanese culture. It was adorned with a pair of intertwining Koi fish, cherry blossoms, and mountains– all very common scenes in Japanese art. Further in, another wall has been covered in stunning manga-style artwork. Manga is a Japanese-style comic that is now internationally popular and has a large fanbase in Bangladesh.

Last but not the least, there’s also a smaller wall covered in soft pastel colours and botanical sketches. Visitors can choose their favourite wall to perch next to. If you love the sophisticated vibe of Japanese traditional art, you can pick the wall closest to the entrance. If you’re here with a toddler or a teenager, or if you’re a manga enthusiast yourself, you can pick the middle wall. If you just want a relaxed, delicious meal, you can pick the last wall. There’s something for everyone!

Show More

K N Deya

Formally a graduate of Agriculture, professionally a journalist, passionately a writer-slash-painter, and endlessly, endlessly in pursuit of all things beautiful.

Related Articles