Yagiz is designed to be both familiar and intriguing, whether you’re having a casual drink after work or impressing a date with a fine-dining experience. For the owners and staff, it is both flexible and pragmatic, with the ability to easily shift from brunch, lunch to dinner service.
Behind a charming heritage facade, we were faced with a blank, empty space that had been designated for hospitality as part of a new apartment building in South Yarra. Along with chef Murat Ovaz, the developers created a concept for a Turkish restaurant and bar that accommodated both day and evening service.
We decided that it should be the food not the fit-out that brought the Turkish flavour to the restaurant. A warm and hospitable material palette of concrete, timber, steel and brass brings character and authenticity to this newly constructed environment. Drawing on the existing structural blockwork, we continued it as a masonry layer that is then broken to expose the walls and windows behind. The jagged-edged blockwork simultaneously adds depth, frames the pass to create a dramatic focal point, and creates a ‘garden bed’ for planting that acts as a green filter between the tables and the street.
The restaurant is configured around a long central brass table with timber banquette seating, while individual black steel tables for couples and small groups line the walls. This arrangement can be shifted according to the time of day or the size of groups. While the plan is open and flexible, it was also important that the dining experience was personal and intimate, so the lighting is kept low to create a sense that each group of diners exists within their own ‘bubble’. A custom-made Archier Capital pendant was made to the dimensions of the long central table, complimented by hanging spotlights over the smaller tables.
In the more casual front bar, instead of the dramatic industrial concrete blockwork of the restaurant, we uncovered the original red brick walls to continue the theme of exposed masonry, with high stools and tables enabling the space can be used for both brunch service in the day and for drinks and nibbles in the evening.