Melbourne’s Chinatown district has more than enough eateries designed to reflect the origin of their cuisine in stereotypical style – red and gold, lanterns and dragon motifs abound – so the owners of Ruyi dumpling and wine bar asked interiors people Hecker Guthrie to take a less well-worn path for their new business that would stand out from the crowd of competitors.
Stand out it does, although not by the use of a garish colour palette or outlandish design gimmickry. Instead, Ruyi (meaning “as you wish”) is remarkable for its understatement. Owner Sheng Fang, who with wife Qian Qian has until now been behind the scenes supplying Melbourne restaurants from their Old Town Noodlery, was born in China but raised in Japan; the latter country provides as much influence on the look of the restaurant as the former. Ceramics in natural colours sit atop pale wooden tables, with muted textiles and plain concrete also making for a calm interior. Accents of colour again lean towards the subtle, with olive table legs, dusty red pendant lights and sparing touches of brass among the examples.