Compiled by Udita Chaturvedi
Photography: Upasana Jain & Kayzad Shroff; courtesy ShroffLeon
Want to savour French or Spanish cuisine and soak in bistro-esque ambience without travelling to Europe? Chez Vous and Poco Loco are the places for you.
Architects Maria Leon and Kayzad Shroff of ShroffLeon reinterpret classical European fare for Mumbai diners in two distinct - Spanish and French contemporary fine dine experiences that are characteristically high on aesthetics in limited floor spaces.
Working on recreating an authentic traditional French bistro, the ShroffLeon design team uses an iconic French Art Nouveau motif in the upbeat Chez Vous with 1400 sq. ft. spread across two levels. Housed in an art deco building, the chesterfield motif applied as a surface treatment, is transcribed as a pattern, making way for its re-use in the fabric wall, the bar face, the molding on the ceiling, as well as graphic imprints for multiple uses across various scales.
The colour green is its next determinant. The interiors are in white, black and green and each area is demarcated by a subtle calibration of a combination of level changes, material distinctions and lighting variations accentuating the scale, textures and moods of the café.
His other theme interior, Poco Loco, is the Spanish reinterpretation of a tapas bar, where 800 sq. ft of space has been opened up to a cover of 70 diners in a linear layout with a wooden backdrop, exposed brick wall and warm pendant lights. With wood as the primary identifiable element of the Spanish genre, we experience wood everywhere - furniture, shelves, wine stand and wall fittings…
A highlight is the skylight element within the single-storey extension to the building above, allowing for a naturally lit glowing ambience. At night time, the skylight is artificially lit from above, allowing for the same setting.
While dark interiors add a cozy and upscale feel to Chez Vous, subtle wall colour along with simple paintings and wall decoration give Poco Loco a casual and cool aura.
Both the Spanish and the French eateries have several characteristics in common: a long serving bar, linear arrangement of ceiling lights, an envelope of intimacy and exclusivity… above all the two theme-strung eat-outs strike a balance between a traditional bistro-esque atmosphere and a posh South Mumbai hangout destination.