Feast your eyes on the extremely tasty David’s restaurant, of Melbourne. If we hadn’t seen the article below, it would’ve almost seemed as though this beautiful Australian restaurant had stepped out of the pages of the Beijing house in Elle Decoration Trends Issue 88, and into this space. Not only that, we felt even more inspired when we saw David’s delicious country Shanghai dishes that reminded us of our Eastern Fusion Food feature on p89.

Hecker Guthrie’s design for the new ‘David’s’ draws on the heritage of Old Shanghai whilst breathing new life into the warehouse building. The design plays on honesty, simplicity and homeliness and references traditional Chinese elements in a contemporary manner .

‘The brief from our client was to design a space that had a “homely, country Shanghai feel”. The client gave us quite a lot of latitude with the concept – but they were non-negotiable with the tight program for the renovation. Clever solutions had to be devised to negate lengthy delays – hence the idea of stacking antique Asian furniture almost precariously behind the bar and communal tables.’

‘There is the adage of “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” but David Zhou of David’s dismissed this advice, and at the risk of alienating his loyal customer base. He did away with the old model and outdated design and appointed our studio to inject a new life into this Art Deco warehouse space. From a hospitality perspective, David says “it’s not just a reno – but a revolution”, an opportunity to refresh the menu to reflect the bright airy space. What is encouraging from a hospitality perspective, David’s has not only maintained existing clients – but woo-ed a whole new generation of foodies who venture down the small laneway for the “Country Shanghai” menu. Interestingly enough, the space used to have a wall of wine – and when replaced with the ‘stacks’ of Oriental furniture – the client was initially worried about the reduced wine storage. What this has done in fact, is allowed the team to close doors to wine storage – which feels more appropriate for the early yum cha sitting.’

‘At David’s, we want you to feel at home in a casual environment. Our menu isn’t bound by ‘mains’ and ‘starters’; dishes come out of the kitchen as soon as they’re ready. This means you don’t have to wait with grumbling stomachs and your food is as fresh as it can possibly be. We’re here to serve you, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help yourself to water or a little more sauce.’

‘David’s brings people together through food in an informal but tranquil atmosphere. We believe there is beauty in simplicity. Our aim is to introduce you to another culture through unfussy food bursting with tastes of the real Shanghai. Whether you have an hour to kill and feel like dropping in or a special occasion worth celebrating, you are always welcome at David’s.’


Available in Thisispaper Guide

Words: Courtesy of David’s Restaurant / Hecker Guthrie

Design: Hecker Guthrie

Photography: Shannon McGrath

Stylist: Simone Haag