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Upcycled Asian Eateries

August 20, 2014

What's old is new again as über-cool restaurants take over repurposed spaces across Asia. By Diana Hubbell.

Published on Aug 20, 2014


Taking the concept of sustainable dining to the next level, restaurateurs are transforming aging buildings into trendy spots to grab a bite. Instead of paving over the past, they're incorporating the original character of these places while filling them with new life. One of the most buzzed about is superstar chef Ian Kittichai's latest Bangkok project, Namsaah Bottling Trust (401 Silom Soi 7; +66 2 636 6622; Once a soda company's office and later a bank headquarters, the scorching-hot pink villa is now home to craft cocktails and amped up local favorites. Think: duck confit noodle salad and kra pow burgers.

Namsaah Bottling Trust

Converted shophouses are all the rage in Singapore, but at Moosehead Kitchen (110 Telok Ayer St.; you'll find more than your average refurb. This sliver of a space, run by father and son team Glen and Daniel Ballis, is decorated with murals by local graffiti artist Samantha Lo, and the food—jazzed up tapas like pistachio tarts with yuzu crème fraiche—is served atop upcycled, mismatched furnishings made from cast iron sewing machines and old wardrobes.

Tapas at Moosehead

Over in Kuala Lumpur, La Vie en Rose (39 Jln. Raja Chulan; +60 3 2078 3883; brings un peu Parisian grandeur to a renovated 1950's bungalow on Ceylon Hill. The original owners probably never dined on foie gras crème brûlée, but present-day Malaysians are swooning over the stuff.

In Beijing's upand-coming Dashilan neighborhood, an old electronics factory was turned into Spoonful of Sugar (59 Tieshu Xiejie, Xicheng Dist.; +86 10 6308 3971), a cutesy café, with organic coffee, art for sale, custom-made tables, and a cheekily monikered menu. Order an Irish Lover for a whiskey-spiked caffeine jolt, or the salmon and cream cheese Jew Yorker sandwich. You'll go for the eco sensibilities and vintage cool, but stay for the food.


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