Thai restaurants don't tend to lead the field in the style stakes – they’re usually a mish-mash of ‘spiritual’ gap-year chic with no coherent visual language to tie everything all together. Naamyaa Bangkok Cafe, in London’s Islington, is different.
The brainchild of Alan Yau, the founder of Wagamama and owner of Busaba, Naamyaa’s outstanding food is enhanced by a comprehensive design ethic that perfectly encapsulates the restaurant’s values. Unlike the pan-national minimalism of say, Wagamama, Naamyaa adds splashes of traditional design to a soft modernist interior – here designed by David Archer Architects. It also has some Bladerunner-style animated lighting in the window, replicating the neon-lit madness of nighttime Bangkok.
With an interior that's both stylish and welcoming, it’s unsurprising to see Naamyaa hasn’t skimped on the menu design either. Not only does the menu illustrate what your dish will actually look like, but it uses subtle Thai patterning to make it feel an integral part of the experience. The fact that the main font is Mac OS9 favourite, Chicago, illustrates perfectly Naamyaa’s attention to detail.
While Michelin-starred restaurants and monster-ego chefs are still fawned over by the culinary press, places like Naamyaa show that creating wonderful, but simple, food in a beautifully thought-out environment is the key to a great dining experience. You should go.