After selecting a tranquil spot in Gulshan-1 Rivendell by Gotcha opened its door at the beginning of December 2022. Maliha Ahmed, the principal architect of Minus Designs, tried to create an oasis in the middle of the city, surrounded by beautiful, vibrant green. The overall creation ensures peace and calmness throughout the day where guests can take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city, enjoying their lovely signature drinks, especially; the strawberry cheese affair and mango cheese affair.
Conceptually, the spaces are designed by drawing references from the existing features of the area. “This house and its surrounding garden guided us to use green as much as possible. The other source of inspiration is the tea leaves, the key ingredient in Gotcha’s signature drinks. These leaves are harvested from a single tea plantation in Taiwan’s Mount Ali. The tea leaves are vivid green, with winding paths winding through them,” shares Ar. Maliha. “The path in our garden is attempted to resemble Mount Ali’s topographic pattern bearing in mind that when someone is sitting in our garden, sipping a cup of tea, it is befitting that the surrounding is a nod to where this tea comes from and how far it traveled to reach us here in Dhaka”, continuing.
The restaurant consists of two zones: outdoor and indoor. The outdoor is comprised of the garden, the water feature, and the shaded smoking area. The entire outdoor space was strategically crafted to be pleasurable in all seasons. The design team wanted to create areas where anyone can come with friends, and family, or even enjoy their time in solitude. Inside, there are three sitting areas and one private room for larger groups. Every space adheres to the same principle: they are open to individuals and groups from all walks of life. The indoor spaces have the same theme but vary considerably in décor. Each time you visit, there is a new ambiance to discover and a new story to piece together since there is something unique in each room.
The partners of Gotcha, Rezwan Ul Haque, Rifkat Ahmed, and Ahmed Ehsan Kabir aid in incorporating several design elements of the restaurant. For instance, Rifkat Ahmed is a huge fan of The Lord of the Rings. In this series of books by J. R. R. Tolkien, Rivendell is referred to as the city of elves, as beautiful as a dream. This inspired the architect to add an element of etherealness to the design. They further attempted to design and build every fitting, from furniture to lighting fixtures. A sense of other worldliness permeates the environment as most items are one-of-a-kind or custom-made. Correspondingly, the story behind Rivendell’s furniture, lighting, and color palette stems from the restaurant’s christening. Muted, neutral colors, shades of wood, and green are selected to keep the color palette aligned with that of the fictitious city of dreams.
Sharing an interesting feature, Architect Maliha says, “One of the interesting décor requests came from the partners. All of them are water feature enthusiasts and urged me to find a way to incorporate one in this design. This is what led to the integration of our crown jewel- the 4-step waterfall design. Despite it being time-consuming, we are all glad we did it.” The use of custom-made cladding materials and unique hexagonal pavers in the garden is noteworthy. Jaali bricks are used both indoors and outdoors to create a degree of privacy in the spaces while also allowing light and ventilation.
The vision of Minus Designs for the outdoor design harmonized closely with the requirements. Instead of a curated garden, the partners wanted the impression of a wild tropical jungle, which was perfect for this site. The water feature adds a sensory experience for the guests. The outdoor lighting design was a balancing act to provide sufficient light for eating without a glare. The plants were chosen carefully to complement the forest-like outlook.
Describing the food specialties of Rivendell by Gotcha, one of the owners, Rezwan Ul Haque shares, “An important part of our menu continues to be what we are known for—the drinks. Our fan favorites, especially the strawberry and mango cheese affair, are back on the menu, along with some new flavors like charcoal and chocolate cheese teas. The cuisine that complements these drinks are the flavors from the Mediterranean and Continental regions. Just as with the design, we are trying to approach a varied range of clientele with the food as well- so there are options of affordable meals for an office or university lunch break, but also an option to take someone special out for a really nice meal”.