Posts in Dining
Dining with the Stars

Opulence and glamour are on the menu at rooftop restaurant Nineteen at The Star


Up on the nineteenth floor of Gold Coast hotel The Star sits a brand new restaurant and bar showcasing refined contemporary luxury and encapsulating elements of its stunning surroundings. Nineteen at The Star, which tops The Star’s luxury suite hotel The Darling, was designed by Melbourne-based design practice Mim Design, who drew inspiration from the surrounding landscape.

The stunning skyline is a key focus of the fine dining restaurant, which boasts views of the South Pacific Ocean, is backdropped by the lush Hinterlands and opens up onto an infinity pool. Sophistication and tasteful restraint characterise the space, with opulent materials and touches such as marble, emerald green upholstery, stone, mirrored walls, brass panelling paired with custom-made lighting, furniture and carpets.

A ribbon staircase leads guests to the private dining area and VIP lounge on the mezzanine level, where deep mulberry and cognac hues evoke a moody intimacy. One of the main challenges the design team faced was defining the relationship between the club space and the fine dining zone, so they visually and acoustically concealed the club space using a wall clad in 6-millimetre-thick glass and custom crystallised wallpaper.

A refined and tranquil colour palette reflects the surrounding nature – forest greens evoke the Tamborine and Springbrook mountains, pumice whites and teal blues mirror the ocean horizon and brass evokes the city’s night time skyline. The lobby beautifully reflects the sunset’s changing light, while inside a matte black open kitchen allows uninterrupted views of the horizon. Here, the atmosphere of elegant luxury is topped only by the unforgettable vistas.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Sean Fennessy

A Slice of Hawaii in Tangerang

Just west of Jakarta, poke and matcha bar HONU’s third location brings a beach house atmosphere to the city


Located in the Indonesian city of Tangerang, part of the Greater Jakarta metropolitan, poke and matcha bar HONU is the brainchild of furniture designer Sashia Rosari, who designed all three outlets (the first two are in the Jakarta neighbourhoods of Kemang and Menteng) in collaboration with Rafael Miranti Architects (RMA), founded by husband-and-wife team Rafael Arsono and Margareta Miranti.

In Hawaiian culture, the green sea turtle that HONU is named after symbolises good luck, endurance and longevity, so naturally the colour green is a key design element of the restaurant and its branding, from the facade to interior accents, materials and pops of foliage. ‘HONU’s ethos is about creating a wholesome, accessible dining experience with genuine passion and care. Everything we create has to have a soul. The way we design each outlet is always driven by these core values,’ Rosari says.

Despite its small size (at only 100 square metres), the restaurant offers various internal spaces. ‘The general approach was to create a space within a space, to create different experiences in the relatively small area,’ Arsono explains. ‘The back dining area, with bar seating and communal dining, is elevated and covered in green tile, separating it from the entrance area. In doing this, we wanted to make a cozy and chilled vibe that resembles the back terrace of a beach house.’

The interiors and furniture were selected or designed to enhance this beach house feel. ‘Furniture found in coastal or island regions often features natural materials and nature-inspired shapes, so for HONU Southwest we wanted to use more rattan weaving and teak than in the other HONU outlets, where we mainly used American oak for the furniture. We deliberately designed the banquet seating to have loose back cushions and a lower frame to create a more laid-back feel. We upholstered some of the furniture with textural fabric that reminds us of stone pebbles and sand to further enhance that “beach house” vibe,’ Sashia shares. Custom and ready-made furniture is paired with green tiling, exposed MDF and a patterned ceiling, while outside the restaurant’s signature green covers the facade, and timber planks and a fabric canopy create evoke a back terrace aesthetic. Here at HONU, guests can get a taste of Hawaii and say aloha to a slice of beach life.

Text / Babette Radclyffe-Thomas
Images / Sefval Mogalana

Staff Only

This speakeasy-style bar in Taipei is a clandestine affair, and offers much more than just a good cocktail


Tucked away amongst the industrial buildings on Shuiyuan road in one of Taipei’s last remaining military villages is a bare white door topped by a small sign. ‘Staff Only’, it declares. To the uninitiated, this appears to be nothing more than a discreet staff entrance (in fact, it was once the back entrance to a soy sauce factory, the building’s original tenant for more than half a century). But if you’re in the know, then you’ve been let in on the city’s newest little secret. With a tap of your membership card, the word ‘club’ appears in soft white light and the lock slides open. Welcome to Staff Only Club.

This members-only club was founded by a team of young creatives ­­— all making names for themselves within Taiwan’s design, art and culinary scenes — who wanted to bring together the city’s like-minded set in a curated and design-led space that offered something different from the city’s existing after-dark establishments.

The designers from ECRU Design Studio, also behind a number of Taipei’s best-looking spots, looked to the understated glamour of the 1950 and 60s Art Deco clubhouses. From the street-level entrance, a narrow and dimly lit staircase leads up to a sensuous mise en scène: glass windows on one side of the bar rise up to meet the gable ceiling, while on the other, gold-framed windows overlook plush green velvet seating against dusty-pink walls. Folding glass doors line the wall facing the bar, their textural qualities and amber accents reminiscent of the vessels, bottles and liquids just opposite, behind the terrazzo bar. This terrazzo also features underfoot, and was handmade by the team using the traditional grindstone technique, which is gradually becoming obsolete in Taiwan. Throughout, lush materials like velvet, corduroy and baroque textiles combine with copper accents and objects (all from Tainan’s The Undercurrent Objects), glass and eucalyptus wood panelling, which clads the original vaulted ceiling.

Head bartender Connor Lin understands, though, that a bar is only as good as the libations on offer. He’s conceived a cocktail menu to complement the interior, and the knowledgeable and convivial bartenders lend a sense of familiarity that enhances the club’s ‘exclusive’ appeal. The menus themselves also add to the charm: they’re customised vintage pull-out books (hunted down specifically for this purpose), and listed on their pages are concoctions influenced by Asian flavours, classics with a twist and a selection of sophisticated bar food from chef Theo Hsiao, who’s previous post was at Taipei’s Michelin-starred Mume.

When all of these elements combine, the result is an atmosphere where it’s hard to answer ‘One more?’ with anything other than ‘Yes, please.’

Text / Simone Schultz
Images / Kuomin Lee