By Marina Correa
Photography: Nitika Bhasin; courtesy the designer
Read Time: 2 mins
South Mumbai’s epicurean delight, Lemon Leaf offers a pot-pourri of popular culture and retro elements, catering to a varied user profile…
Renowned for her penchant for everything-fusion, principal designer Shabnam Gupta of The Orange Lane creates an absorbing and intriguing décor for this 80-cover pan-Asian restaurant set within an old building in up-town Colaba.
Catering to a mix visitor-ship, cheerful décor engages with youthful professionals; warm tones of umber and beige juxtaposing homely knick-knacks appeal to the not-so-young; whilst an outdoorsy feel and relaxed vibe regale the bon vivant - making it a kaleidoscope of kitsch and culture.
Two zones are loosely culled out: an eclectic bar area spread across 1,337 sq. ft. on the ground floor and a more relaxed, comfortable seating across the 830 sq. ft first floor with pockets for couples under real or ambient skylights. Exuding a casual, chilled-out masculine vibe, turquoise mosaic tiles form the backdrop of the bar, whilst prosaic red bricks get a fun makeover with a wrap-around of multi-coloured threads.
A striking combination of indigo blue and tangerine orange within the overall warm colour palette is peppered with pop elements of a hand-painted wall art and knick-knacks such as miniature propeller planes; radios, sand dials, books etc., creating a semi-formal cosy feel, without being over-the-top.
Natural light bathes the interiors from the three open sides of the eatery, allowing a free-flow of conversation and conviviality to dominate. Moving away from the otherwise overused Asian iconography like chopsticks or bamboo shoots, Shabnam resorts to subtle functional nuances such as delicate bird lamps, installations in brass-finish pipe that act as visual dividers, pop art on faux bookshelves, in-the-eye upholstered sofa chairs juxtaposed with soft-hued tables and interesting symbols on the knobs of the otherwise muted cabinets adding a touch of drama.
An astute balancing of elements prevails: faux windows with a dash of greenery; a bloom of cherry blossoms painted on the walls; rounded doors, windows and niches lined with tangerine orange spicing up every nook and cranny of this eatery ensuring a entirely novel experience to a repeat customer, when he visits again.