All aboard Yiu’s Ark of Gastronomy

One of the latest offerings from in-demand restaurant designer Kevin Yiu is an immersive Chiu Chow restaurant in Yuen Long with a whimsical nautical theme that references one of the city’s most celebrated designers, Chi Wing Lo.

Yiu says he was amazed by Lo’s seminal work, Ark of World Poetry, essentially a floating library, and thought why not apply the idea to the world of gastronomy.

Client Maxim had asked for a fun, family-friendly concept and the site in Yoho Mall leant itself to the concept of a culinary boat with a mix of banquet halls, intimate cabins, and open areas. The result is Be My Goose, a light-hearted take on Lo’s Ark, redolent with sea-faring elements.

Diners get an early taste of this with a rustic anchor in the entrance area, and a visualised boat integrated with the digital reservation system. Soaring timber archways conjure up images of an Ark’s framework. The lighting in the timber-lined cabins (pictured above) resemble portholes.

Wave-like rippling wall patterns and a mixed pebble runner further enhance the theme. The showpiece unquestionably is a stunning metal artwork in the form of a fish, swimming high above the diners’tables.

A playful hint to the restaurant’s name come in the form of two paintings, by Dutch artist Anita de Harde, hung on opposite walls. A stylized Asian woman (shown above) gazes wistfully across the room at the other portrait of a man.

Like many of Yiu’s restaurants, such as Que in Citygate or Kappou Mu in H-Zentre, this one is also based in a shopping mall, often thought to be an unlikely setting for a signature restaurant. But the chief designer of Minus Workshop says it makes good commercial sense. “Obviously it’s important that the food is yummy but if you create another world for people to experience, then they’ll come back time and time again.”

Yiu (pictured above) says about 70% of his work is in the F&B sector, which has been through a challenging phase in Hong Kong over the past few years. He most recently completed a café called the Alchemist in Causeway Bay and hopes to unveil more projects soon. Judging by the creativity and quality of Yiu’s work, that seems more than likely.