Opening Shot

An Italian-Japanese Hybrid Brings Creative Cuisine and Harmonious Design to Downtown New York

Local studio Bespoke Only's thoughtful materiality sets the stage for chef Christine Lau's inventive Itameshi-style dishes at Kimika.

The bar area.


Location: New York

Designer: Bespoke Only 

On offer: Chef Christine Lau turns out creative Japanese-Italian mashups, a popular fusion in Asia dubbed Itameshi, such as crispy rice cake lasagna and miso-drizzled fried pizzas topped with mortadella or lobster and uni. Local studio Bespoke Only spearheaded the design of the Nolita space, striking a harmonious balance between raw concrete elements, rust and muddy terracotta tones, and rich textures. In addition to outfitting the interior with pieces from their custom line following Japanese firing practices, principals Melissa Lee and Erika Chou mixed in Danish furniture and handcrafted ceramics by Brooklyn-based artist Aviva Rowley. 

Standout features: Barman Greg Kong gained a reputation for experimenting with complex flavors at the East Village’s beloved Patent Pending. He brings the same ethos to Kimika, continuing the Italian and Japanese love affair with cocktails such as the Kaga Milk Punch, a rum and kaga bocha tea concoction spiced with cardamom and star anise, and the effervescent chamomile Negroni whose twist comes in the form of shiso bitters and citrus blossom mist. Equally imaginative are Clarice Lam’s decedant desserts, including a soft-serve sundae made from the Japanese yogurt drink Yakult and dappled with roasted strawberries and crispy chicken skin streusel, and mochi flavored bomboloni, a sugar-dusted Italian filled donut. 

A look inside Kimika, designed by Bespoke Only.
The rich tones and textures of Kimika.
The Japanese gin and sake cocktail, Sakura BTL.
Pizzette fritte.
Inside the private dining room.

(Photos by Nicole Franzen)

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