ADRIFT Kaya has been born of a longstanding love affair between Chef David Myers and the awe-inspiring city of Tokyo. Izakaya dining sits at the heart of Japanese food culture, typically atmospheric local taverns serving drinks with a mix of the most delicious small plates of sashimi, sushi and teppanyaki. Already established in LA, Tokyo, Singapore and Hong Kong, Michelin starred Myers, AKA the Gypsy Chef, now brings his modern take on the tradition to JW Marriott Hotels at Aerocity, New Delhi.
Timothy Oulton Studio were engaged to re-interpret the concept for a new restaurant within the existing hotel precinct. The space has been designed to take diners on a journey of discovery, reminiscent of the laneways and traditional food alleys that are a quintessential part of Japanese towns and cities and very much the natural habitat of Izakaya.
Guests approach from the hotel courtyard to arrive at the front door of the restaurant surrounded by leafy foliage and an outdoor lounge and dining area. Plush Portico upholstered sofas, solid Trembesi timber low tables and recycled cast aluminium Alica dining settings create a sense of energy and inviting ambience.
Inside, the discovery unfolds in a series of open yet connected spaces. Indigo stained timber floors with a sinuous wave of dyed bamboo beads hangs above the greeting point, comprising a vintage lectern and stone threshold inlaid with the ADRIFT Kaya logo. A wall of glass printed with a Blade Runner-esque Tokyo nightscape is divided by bull nosed burnt timber posts, together making an atmospheric backdrop to the arrival moment.
The buzzing heart of the space, the bar is open on three sides and combines reclaimed raw timber beams, honed chisel cut granite tops and a central polished stainless steel column of illuminated glass ware, crowned by a floating canopy of burnt driftwood. Utapi bar chairs and timber drum stools surround the glowing ice-carving station on the lowest bench.
Here and throughout the restaurant, combinations of organic hard materials, stone, wood, and metal are contrasted by softer accents of leather and fabric upholstered furniture that all recall the exquisite detailing of Japanese craftsmanship in metal, stone and textiles.
The seven metre long chisel cut granite sushi bar creates the perfect chefs table to front the large open kitchen, a close up experience of all the skill and delicacy involved in the making of this wonderful cuisine. A string of glowing calcite stone pendants, bamboo and metal screens are suspended above the honed counter and a line of deeply grained leather gym benches. On the side wall, luminous images of Siamese fighting fish school in inky black acrylic.
The main dining area takes key inspirations from Japanese tavernas where the experience is all about sharing the best quality food with authentic hospitality. Sumptuous leather banquettes sit below wall niches papered with bespoke artworks. Stained timber tables, that easily adjust for couples or larger groups, are teamed with oak framed Carlton chairs in leather and natural sheep skin all set under clusters of hand-blown iridescent glass lighting.
Larger round and square sharing tables in chisel cut honed granite top cast recycled aluminium bases and use chair groupings in mixed leathers and timbers, some with natural Yeti fur backs. Black timber panels inspired by traditional shoji screens, hang between the banquette zones, providing additional layers of intimacy.
The penultimate ADRIFT Kaya dining experience, the Torri Room is a private dining room for ten behind the printed glass Tokyo Geisha and burnt timber pivot doors, common in the temples and taverns of the Japanese archipelago. A Neutron chandelier hovers above a stained timber raw edge table and Lannister chairs in rich Safari buffalo leather, all backdropped by thirty framed Geisha prints in vintage pastel hues.
Accessed by a private elevator, the existing bathroom finishes have been enhanced with burnt wood framed mirrors, chisel cut stone benches & hand beaten metal basins.