Pabu Grill and Sake
190 Smith St, Collingwood
(03) 9419 6141 or pabu.com.au
Collingwood’s Smith Street dining strip is now home to Pabu Grill & Sake, a Japanese Izakaya with a menu rivalled only by its architectural merit. The space features an impressive interplay of architecture and artwork, courtesy of Architects EAT and Two One Elephant.
It took nine months to transform what was once an old shop lot into Pabu Grill & Sake. Limited by a heritage overlay and shop front façade, Architects EAT employed contrasting materials to turn the 200sqm space into an all-day dining venue. Their success lies in the use of contemporary Japanalia décor that subtly references traditional times. A house-shaped, recycled timber partition wall with a wide window enables food to flow freely from kitchen to floor staff, while raw bricks contrast against steel finishes and add a touch of Collingwood grunge.
“The most enjoyable aspect is creating ‘a gastronomical theatre’ for the customers,” says Architects EAT director Eid Goh. “It is all about showcasing the process of creating the food and drink – our job as the architect is to ensure that the design of the space enhances this communication between staff and the customers.”
Hiroyasu Tsuri of Two One Elephant is responsible for the Japanese mural spread across the wall opposite the kitchen, where elegant cranes and silhouetted plants painted in natural, subdued hues sweep across a mountainscape. Pabu owner Khoa Nguyen is especially fond of the floating abacus on the ceiling, made from soft timber with orange highlights. Other decorative features include framed vintage Japanese posters, vibrant traditional pottery and a collection of designer light fittings – from green and yellow pendants to tubular globes.
Customers sitting at the elongated bar can watch their food being prepared in the kitchen while sipping on sake selected by sake master Toshi Maeda.
“My passion is to inspire, engage and bring guests together as they graze through our menu learning the delights and significance of sake in Japanese dining culture,” says Nguyen.