Nothing suits a homestyle menu more than serving it in a space that feels intimate, familiar and approachable. That is exactly what Bangkok-born chef Tang Phoonchai was hoping for while planning his new Vancouver restaurant Kin Kao, where he will be serving up a menu that draws from recipes he loved while growing up in Thailand.
To achieve this atmosphere, Phoonchai tapped David and Susan Scott of Vancouver-based Scott & Scott Architects, who are quickly bubbling up on the scene as the people to go to for approachable, yet tasteful and carefully considered design.
Known for their award-winning Alpine Lodge Cabin and equally enticing build-out and design done for sausage and beer restaurant Bestie, the Scotts truly have a knack for understanding and translating the environments they’re building for, with an intuitive use of space and material. For Kin Kao, which is located in a nondescript strip mall at the edge of an active manufacturing zone in Vancouver, this meant using materials that were both economic and readily available.
With only 25 seats, Scott & Scott worked with Kin Kao’s small space by creating a re-configurable dining area that can accommodate individual seating arrangements and communal, family-style dining. Expecting wear and tear from lunch crowds from its commercial and manufacturing neighbors, Kin Kao went with soaped beech—an easily refinished material that ages well—for its chairs, tables and bar top. The restaurant also utilizes the location’s ample sunlight, supplemented by two linear pendant fixtures made specifically for the space at the architects’ studio.The service area walls are finished with a galvanized panel that will act as a magnetic board for hanging daily fresh sheets—a chic industrial complement to restaurant’s painted blue floor and Douglas fir plywood bar.
Overall, Scott & Scott’s design successfully pays tribute to the simplicity of Phoonchai’s street and homestyle dishes, which will be prepared with locally sourced ingredients and served alongside local craft brews and customary Thai beverages. Mixing traditional fare with a bold, modern aesthetic, Kin Kao will be a welcome addition to Vancouver’s ever-growing food scene.
Opening for dinner today, 3 February, Kin Kao will be expand into lunch and take out in the coming weeks. Visit Scott & Scott Architects for a closer look at past projects, and Kin Kao for further culinary news.