Located on Notre Dame Street in Griffintown, the heart of the Montreal culinary scene, Shay, a new restaurant designed by Ivy Studio, offers an escape from the red brick and grey stone building facades of the neighbors. This Middle Eastern tea salon and wine bar’s mineral colour palette was inspired from the setting sun over the Syrian Desert, soft dusty pink concrete floors fuse into the off white textured plaster walls. The sinuous forms of the banquettes, like carved windswept canyons curve through space, guiding you through the various rooms of the restaurant.
Working with a local artist, a hand-painted mural of faded mountains adorns the entrance paired by a hand painted plaster waiter’s station in the centre of the space. A monumental violet and robin’s egg blue marble bar commands your attention on the east side of the space crowned by a custom deep raspberry metallic light fixture that sweeps the entire 19 feet. Curved elevated navy blue embroidered banquettes offer a casual spot for sharing tea around the bar area during the day, which quickly transforms into a comfortable happy hour spot for informal gatherings in the evening.
The main dining room is elevated on a mahogany platform creating a more intimate dining experience. Generous dusty rose banquettes sweep the periphery of the space spotted by secluded enclaves for small groups. Custom built in table lamps dot the room like stars in the night, matched by falling oversized globes over the large group tables. Ripple fold beige sheer curtains line the West wall of the dining room, adding to the softness of the airy atmosphere.
Throughout the room, the exposed steel beamed ceiling is painted a deep burgundy like the setting sky and layered with over a thousand feet of sheer fabric bannisters that hang in linear strands over the tables making the entire restaurant feel as if it’s under a flapping Bedouin tent or crowded evening market.