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Mama’s Buoi in Surry Hills was a labour of love to bring to life the founder Bao Huong’s mother’s authentic home cooked meals. Apart from the obvious play on words, a Buoi is a small grapefruit, native to South Asia, and grown in backyards of Vietnamese immigrants in Melbourne. The interior has a warm contemporary rawness with an essence of Vietnam without being too literal. The feature wall has a handwritten mural (which translates as, “do you love mama?) over an aged plaster finish which envelopes all other walls.

The exterior awning fabric is used again on the interior, draped over the central seating area and wrapped in festoon lights. The open kitchen is framed by overhead shelving (with all Asian dry goods pushed to the front and lit) and an aged breeze block and tile inlay. The back bar is broken up timber display boxes each with their own encaustic patterned tile infil and a black steel wine rack, all edge lit.

Feature lights made from recycled bike wheels and fabric wrapped, lantern shaped wire frames are by Studio Ham. The strong visual graphics (all by ‘The Creative Method’) continues into the Neon external signage, photo album menus and abstract family pictures in frames hung on the wall. Further sites at Crows Nest and Darlinghurst are following with each to have their own variations on the concept.

Photography: Andrew Worssam
Design by Giant Design / Lead Designer: Trish Lopez, Interior Designer: Anna Tang, Director: Ed Kenny, Graphic Design: The Creative Method

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