Located over three floors in the bustling Hong Kong district of Wanchai, The Optimist features interior design by Rocío Martínez Amoedo
The first project for the designer in Hong Kong, The Optimist is an asador-inspired restaurant with Barcelona style influences, perfectly complementing the skills of the Spanish-born Amoedo. With 13 years of international experience to her name, the designer says of the project, “When Manuel and Christian approached me with their proposal I didn't hesitate for a second, their passion and drive was magnetic and I could visualise their concept almost immediately.”
The street level bar on Hennessy Road welcomes guests with large windows and high ceilings, rare features in a city as built-up as Hong Kong. Amoedo has used trellis design above the bar, a lush canopy of hanging plants and peacock green tiles to create the illusion of an outdoor garden pavilion – a nod to 50´s Elsie de Wolfe interior garden remembrances. Detailing includes brass lamps, gold railings and studded brown leather upholstery, evoking a rich, European ambience.
Moving up the stairs, visitors pass by a selection of lithographs and vintage pictures that have been curated by Aleix Gordo Hostau, a graphic artist from Barcelona. Each of these alludes to the character behind the name of the restaurant whose story is narrated in the leather-bound menu.
Upon arrival at the first floor dining room, teal coloured walls and gold framed illustrations of exotic birds and creatures, an ode to Tony Duquette’s interiors of whimsical fantasy, greet diners. Darker shades, latticework, metallic light fixtures and wood dividers foster a more formal yet intimate atmosphere than in the bar. A colour palette of blues is offset with the warm-toned orange of the leather upholstery and oak furniture.
The second floor is the grill floor, where diners can sample the Spanish asador dining experience. Here, the designer has used patterned tiles and hanging kitchen utensils to harness childhood memories of the spirit of an authentic Spanish kitchen. The orange hues emitted from hanging lamps and the inclusion of warm-toned upholstery help to create a warm and inviting atmosphere. And, hidden at the back of the space is a private dining area with a round table that seats eight, appropriately named La Salita – The Living Room.