“We believe every project we do has to be designed like a movie set,” says Emil Humbert, cofounder of the Paris architecture firm Humbert & Poyet, which designed the new 92-seat Beefbar in Hong Kong’s Central District. “It should be a stage that transports the diner like an actor in our design.”
If that’s the case, patrons will certainly want an encore. Hong Kong is one of the biggest beef-consuming cities on the planet. The only thing rare in the steakhouse scene is the meat. Beefbar, however, has an advantage over the Canton city’s other steakhouses: With outlets in Australia, Europe, North America, and Japan, it happens to be owned by the meat exporter Giraudi Group, thus eliminating the competition for the best cuts in town like Japanese Kobe beef and Australian Black Angus. Chef Andrea Spagoni deploys them in short ribs, melt-in-your-mouth wagyu hanger steak, and a range of other dishes.
While the kitchen puts on a show for the palate, the sophisticated aesthetic quietly dazzles the eyes. Humbert & Poyet, who designed Beefbar interiors in Monaco and Mexico City, brought their signature clean lines and slabs of marble to Hong Kong. Chocolate banquettes and dimly lit pool lighting create a gently masculine ambience that invites as much as it pampers.
“We knew the location would draw a discerning international clientele who expect refinement,” says Cristophe Poyet, the firm’s other cofounder. “So we created something with noble materials that would frame the masculinity of the menu — simple but exciting dishes using high-quality ingredients.”
The design scheme is evident in the restaurant’s main and private dining rooms. The unpolished timber chevron floor, sleek lattice ceiling, and mood lighting unite the three rooms, while the white marble walls are interrupted by copper-rimmed display cases of aged beef, elevating the meat to the same levels as the precious materials used for the interiors.
But it’s the marble raw bar, where chefs whip up carpaccios and tartares in front of a see-and-be-seen crowd that Poyet says is the “master of ceremonies.” “It’s the central architectural element and real stage of the scenography,” he says. “An elegant window to the kitchen.”