Interior designer Alessandro Munge and chef David Hawksworth team up to create Nightingale, their second stunning restaurant collaboration in Vancouver.
The nightingale has inspired artists and storytellers for centuries, its melodic song praised in music and literature. Now the bird serves as touchstone for a different kind of artistic venture: the new Nightingale, Vancouver’s latest culinary coup and the second collaboration between Toronto-based design firm Studio Munge and chef-owner David Hawksworth (best known for his eponymous fine-dining restaurant in Hotel Georgia).
Inspired in part by Aesop’s fable about a nightingale in the clutches of a hawk (moral: “A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush”) as well as by Hawksworth’s name, the seasonal menu and refined interiors ask diners to “celebrate the here and now,” says the chef. The space is elegant without being stuffy; its laid-back atmosphere captures the spirit of contemporary dining.
"The space brings out people’s sense of curiosity, we wanted to make it intimate and exciting, so that every time you come back, it will feel like the first time."
Faced with the dilemma of how to entice guests upstairs in the two-story restaurant, Studio Munge made theater out of the open kitchen and pizza oven, giving a few two-tops a front-row view. Coffered ceilings and antique cut-glass globes on custom brass light fixtures give the space an intimate, almost residential feel.
Downstairs, the airy space, with a visually commanding bar along one wall, supports a lively lunch and dinner scene amid black-and-white tiled columns. Fanciful gilded picture frames, convex round mirrors, and a flock of bird sculptures rise to the ceiling. “The space brings out people’s sense of curiosity,” says interior designer Alessandro Munge. “We wanted to make it intimate and exciting, so that every time you come back, it will feel like the first time.”
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