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Hong Kong


Gerald Li





BILBAO: A Symphony of Basque Elegance in the Heart of Hong Kong

In the bustling heart of Hong Kong's Tsim Sha Tsui district, nestled within the luxurious confines of the 5 Star Royal Garden Hotel, one finds 'Bilbao'. This restaurant is not just a culinary destination; it's a journey, a narrative of Basque's rich culinary heritage, translated into a sophisticated casual fine-dining experience.

Named after the city renowned for the iconic Guggenheim Museum, Bilbao, with its industrial past and cultural renaissance, serves as the muse for this establishment. The city's transformation from an industrial hub to a cultural capital resonates deeply within the walls of this restaurant. The design ethos is a tribute to Bilbao's raw spirit, an ode to its gritty past, and a nod to its vibrant present.

The ambiance within is intimate, with a dimly lit atmosphere that emphasizes natural tones. The palette is a dance of slightly burnt hues, with charcoals and greys taking center stage. The materials chosen speak the language of authenticity and comfort. Douglas Fir hardwood, left slightly rough to the touch, lays the foundation. This wood, reminiscent of the hickory used in the Basque asador, infuses the space with a sense of warmth and earthiness. The bucket seats, upholstered in warm charcoal fabrics, beckon guests to sink in, offering ultimate comfort. Ingeniously, their backs are leveled to the height of the tables, ensuring unobstructed views of the dazzling Hong Kong skyline, creating an expansive sense of space.

The clientele, sophisticated Hong Kong restaurateurs and the hotel's owner, a scion of an influential Hong Kong high society lineage, sought an interior design that would mirror their refined tastes while paying homage to the Basque culinary tradition. Their vision was brought to life with architectural solutions that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing.

A central abstract geometric tree branch light sculpture, suspended gracefully from the ceiling, becomes the pièce de résistance of the space. Casting its light upwards, it illuminates a copper ceiling nook, bathing the dining room in a subtle, warm glow. This lighting feature, reminiscent of the fire central to the Basque asador, adds a touch of drama and emphasizes the restaurant's core culinary philosophy.

The essence of Bilbao's culinary offerings is deeply rooted in the Basque asador tradition. An open fire grill, fueled by hickory wood, is the heart of the kitchen. Each dish, kissed by the flames, carries with it the rich, smoky aroma and flavors of hickory, creating a sensory experience that lingers.

The walls of Bilbao are adorned with art that pays homage to the Basque culture. The restaurant's hard finishes, emphasizing wood and burnt charcoal grey materials, coupled with copper accents, reflect the essence of fire, creating a harmonious blend of interior design and culinary artistry.

In essence, Bilbao is more than just a restaurant; it's a testament to the transformative power of design, where the past and present coalesce, creating a space that is both timeless and contemporary.

Lukasz Kos
Andrei Zerebecky

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