Nestled in the heart of Hong Kong, Louise is the latest in a string of stylish new establishments that have cemented local architect André Fu’s reputation as a design innovator. A beautiful, two-storey colonial house in a leafy corner of the former Police Married Quarters (PMQ) has been transformed under the creative eye of Fu and his studio AFSO and Yenn Wong, CEO of the JIA Group.
With two different menus on offer, two distinct personalities have been conceived for each floor, with a chic casual vibe for the ground floor ‘Parlour’ with an inviting yet cosy ivory space in the ‘Dining Room’, where one can enjoy long convivial conversations over heartwarming food.
Named after an imaginary woman, Louise, the restaurant is based on the home of this eccentric French expatriate lady who finds herself in Hong Kong, entertaining guests with style and panache. Designing the restaurant as though it has grown organically over time, capturing layers of meaning, memories, and Louise’s passionate personality, was the driving force behind this project. With thoughtful attention to detail and a collection of antiquities and art, Fu captures the personality of Louise – this timelessly elegant lady – creating a maison for this new restaurant.
As you approach the house, you are greeted by rich green succulents – cacti, palms and lush trees which decorate Louise’s subtropical garden. Through the metal-screened foyer, a nod to Hong Kong’s heritage-styled windows, you enter Louise’s home through a veil of velvet curtains. Entering the Parlour, original Thonet chairs, authentic rattan furniture and bespoke triangular banquets are set to soft antique lighting and green hues creating an immediate sense of inclusiveness. Exuding chic comfort and a true emulation of Louise’s eclectic personality, the lower floor aims to capture her worldly travels, passion for collectable objects d’art and love for entertaining. The beautifully beveled marble bar which extends through the length of the room, is complimented by an array of pleated pedants in gloss salmon orange that is at once kitsch yet conducive to this tropical salon. Creating the ideal setting for a relaxed drink among friends, the bar offers a sense of quiet luxury with a vibrant atmosphere.
Moving through the room, antique wall sconces lead the way into ‘The Drawing Room’, which repurposes seamlessly into a private room for special events, decorated with scenes of a tropical paradise along the expanse of the room’s main wall. Creating the ideal atmosphere for all-day dining, the space is lit by a large picture window that looks out onto Louise’s garden and at night offers the setting for more intimate dining.
Tucked behind the curtains, an invitation up the carpeted staircase leads you past a powerful artwork by acclaimed German artist Markus Lüpertz. A connector to mark a bold transformation in atmosphere from the Parlour to Dining Room upstairs, the staircase creates an intimately residential feel as one enters Louise’s ‘Dining Room’ to a flood of natural light and a view over the beautiful trees which line her property.
Upon entering Louise’s warm and elegant dining room, one is greeted by mango yellow velvets, dusty pink and pale olive velvet curtain and agate consoles, all juxtaposing against each other to express Louise’s persona. Light streams in through the large French windows by day and the glow of lamps by night, allows the room to offer a comfortable and relaxed environment to enjoy a welcome dining experience. With custom parquet flooring used for its vintage charm and mirrored paneling across the walls, the room opens out onto a beautiful terrace where diners may also sit outside and enjoy the complete dining experience.
Lining the walls, white and taupe banquette seating and mango-yellow sofas are complimented by textures of wood and rattan from the accompanying chairs. The bold Iranian onyx console top and dramatic lamps on the cabinets decorate Louise’s favourite room, which also offers a direct view into her open kitchen. The room’s high-ceilings are a delicate matrix of moldings specially designed to carry the room’s acoustics and a quality sound system by KEF ensuring that the room is always lively and buzzing.
With a passion for art and creative objects, Louise’s home features a curated selection of fine artworks, predominantly from the 1950s and 60s. Reflecting her personal taste, internationally renowned painters Markus Lüpertz and Gustav Klimt will feature in the restaurant, alongside Chinese painters also influenced by the European School such as Luis Chan, Zhang Daqian, Guan Liang and Xu Beihong. The restaurant also features photographs by landscape photographer William Garnett.
Breathing new life into an existing heritage property, the design approach for Louise was one which remained sensitive and respectful of the building’s innate history. Determined to protect its original integrity, the exterior façade of the structure remains intact, while the interiors intend to transport diners back in time, to the ever-hospitable home of Louise.
Returning to his roots and memories of his childhood, chef Julien Royer recreates a number of classics with a fresh approach. Through a culinary philosophy that champions exceptionally sourced ingredients, diners can expect honest cooking and traditional French cuisine, reimagined, on the restaurant’s à la carte menu. In the Parlour, open for all-day dining, guests can enjoy specialty charcuterie and artisan cheeses, light plates including some signature dishes from the upstairs a la carte menu and a selection of French pastries and dessert – served indoors as well in the garden terrace. The wine list is a culmination of expertly selected French classics as well as a selection from boutique wineries in lesser-known French regions and from other wine countries.