Adnan Mutlu has worked in hospitality for over 20 years, graduating from a fine School of Food and Hospitality in Stuttgart. He worked in Spain, Germany and Turkey before setting up a number of restaurants in Auckland such as La Vista, St Heliers and the Bodrum in Newmarket.
His latest venture, the refurbishment and rebranding of the old Joy Bong restaurant has been an endeavour with a very clear intent. Joy Bong was a successful Thai restaurant and bar was part of a multi cultural tapestry of restaurants, bars and cafes, sewn along Auckland’s Karangahape Road.
With ‘Monarchy’, Adnan had a vision of elegance and sophistication without losing the customary Thai flavours and friendly demeanour. The new name ‘Monarchy’ was selected in reverent reference to the King of Thailand, so the intent was to imbue the interior of the old Joy Bong with regal elegance while playing on the Eastern philosophical idea of defining balance between opposites. Regal claw high-back seats are juxtaposed with a casual velvet ottoman, while the sophisticated candle lights are offset by the fun his-and-hers seats.
In pursuing this ambition, tones of rich red were chosen for the painted walls, papered ceilings and upholstery for the bench seat and ottomans for texture and luxury. Geometric wallpaper panels in the walls carry the eye to the ceiling between timber beams.
New large steel lighting tray ‘chandeliers’ have more than 30 candles enclosing small lights on each fitting. They create continuity between the spaces and add either grandeur or intimacy, depending on the level of light reflecting up onto the wallpapered ceiling. The wallpaper and gold leaf scotia add the shimmer of velvet, repeated on upholstered stools and bench seats.
The new leather booth seats start as enclosed circles and unroll like red carpet. Deep red and mandarin velvet upholstery is supported by tones of Resene Pohutukawa red painted walls, which draw you down toward the open fire and bar. The timber lantern structure of the overhead bar wine racks adds another layer of fretwork similar to the screens and louvers connected to the world outside.
White upholstery on the bar and maître d’ counter also gives a sense of regal comfort. An old stone room with a trapdoor is completely transformed from a damp and dingy hollow to a visual and functional feature. By replacing the trapdoor with a tight spiral stair and inserting a new glass floor panel, it creates a view from the restaurant above. This is an invitation only area where racks full of wine and soft light create a tempting, cavelike image for patrons. The walls to the spiral stairs are finished with wine boxes laid in an interlocking brick pattern.
Architectural Specifier: Malcolm Taylor, Xsite Architects
Building Contractor: Complete Construction Ltd
Client: Adnan Mutlu
Painting Contractor: North-South Painters & Decorators
Photographer: Simon Devitt
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