This Sheung Wan eatery reflects the warm vibes of a southern-European summer, resulting in a relaxed and welcoming space. Rik Glauert reports.
Bayta is the latest venture from the people behind French bistro La Cabane. Serving up Mediterranean cuisine on Hollywood Road, the restaurant was designed by Elsa Jean de Dieu and the interiors are good enough to eat.
Bayta means ‘her house’ or ‘small house’ in ancient Arabic and Hebrew and it’s a concept that comes through in both the design and the food at this relaxed neighbourhood restaurant. Jean de Dieu says she is glad to see the “varied elements binding the space to give a very homey and peaceful feeling.”
The designer took inspiration from all over the Med to create this feeling. “There are 23 countries around the Mediterranean sea, the challenging part was to find a common atmosphere without taking the side of one of them,” says Jean de Dieu.
Jean de Dieu chose to evoke a Mediterranean garden by using natural materials and creating a palette that cleverly contrasts cool fresh greenery with warmer earth tones. A mix of burnt sienna, ochre and olive wood echoes the sights and scents of the Mediterranean coastline.
In the bar area, a wall of vivid teal tiles evoke the ocean and is offset by a bold copper bar and cabinets. This combination is brought into the main dining space with copper touches and fabrics that mirror the teal tiles.
Other shades of deep green, celadon, blue grey, and hints of indigo blue in the restaurant’s seating area are complemented by custom-made cushions in camel leather, copper and light pink.
Jean de Dieu’s team has had fun with the lighting, which they sourced from across the globe. Over-sized glass orbs hang above the bar, while spherical copper lampshades hang from the walls, dangling over dining tables. The lighting continues Bayta’s natural garden feel: the glass orbs look like water bubbles, while the copper mixes with green hues to give the appearance of flora.
As with many projects in Hong Kong, where space is in high demand, another challenge for Jean de Dieu and her team was how to fit an uncluttered dining area and a kitchen big enough to whip up a wealth of Mediterranean dishes into just 600 square feet. “I overcame the challenge by playing with colours and lights, thus enlarging the walls virtually,” says the designer, who worked with light and dark tones and the way light enters the space to keep it fresh, airy and welcoming.