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With the arrival of Hunan Slurp, it’s time to say goodbye to your persistent fad of traditional Chinese eateries. At least, if you live in New York City. It’s in the East Village where painter-turned-restaurateur Wang Chao has opened a dining establishment that ticks all our boxes. Hailing from Hengyang, an obscure metropolis in China‘s Hunan province, Chao’s new hospitality format fully hinges on the culinary legacy of this region. Interestingly, the traditional flavours of Hunan are served in a sleek modern setting by New Practice Studio, a collective of architects, interior designers and other creatives based in both Shanghai and New York.

Occupying a 280 sqm. (3,014 sq.ft.) ground floor unit, the interior design fully adapts to its rectangular shape, defining the restaurant as a place to look into and look out from. As such, a continuous volume is carved out from the storefront into the interior, establishing direct dialogue between the street and the restaurant. The front section of Hunan Slurp features a seemingly inserted cage-like structure of slatted wood that lays bare the building’s original brick walls. Briefly interrupted by a section of white plastered walls, the slatted wood cage continues to the far end where white plastered walls re-emerge.

Furnishings comprise a large communal tables in wood with stools and smaller marble tables paired with benches and chairs in the back of the restaurant. Here, large windows allow diners to steel peeks of the staff’s food preparations. As said, Hunan Slurp serves delicacies from the eponymous Chinese province, but the focus is on simple street-style food and the dishes that Chao enjoyed at his grandmother’s home. The menu is elaborate, listing an array of tasty small bites, noodle variations, and dishes with meat, fish or just vegetables.

Designed by New Practice Studio
Photography by Montse Zamorano

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