Great design is part of the mezze at this middle eastern restaurant

Great design is part of the mezze at this middle eastern restaurant

The Tabule family of restaurants is made up of 4 uniquely designed venues specializing in Middle Eastern Cuisine. We were tasked with tackling the redesign of the quartet’s flagship location in midtown Toronto. When the client approached us to redesign their midtown location, they knew they wanted something brighter, airier, and fresher. The midtown location was their first restaurant, and it was in need of an aesthetic overhaul to create a modern and sophisticated atmosphere where their delicious dishes could play a well-deserved starring role.

Designer: Jude Kamal, ARIDO

Design Firm: Sansa Interiors

Photography: Bruno Belli

Interior of the entire Tabuleh Interior with the focal point being the bar at the end

Using the design of the other three locations as a jumping off point, I worked closely with the clients to convey their vision, delivering a cohesive new design that reinvigorates the restaurant. The focal point? An impressive new bar to anchor the design and invite guests into the bustling dining room. 

Our design approach for Tabule Midtown was to create a modern and sophisticated space that is evocative of traditional Middle Eastern and Lebanese aesthetic without being too literal. To accomplish this, we opted to avoid overusing traditional Mediterranean shapes in favour of more modern interpretations of the colour palette, materials, and overall vibe of the space. 

Original Artwork with Lebanese motifs decorate the plain white walls throughout

While developing the concept for this restaurant, we really took inspiration from the food. We immediately envisioned the dishes boldly standing out on the plate, surrounded by a simple, elegant and sophisticated design. Putting the food at the forefront and creating an area where people could sit back and enjoy it, was the true driving force behind the new Tabule. 

Middle-Eastern food is all about gathering, sharing, and spending time with people you love and care about. We took this as a way to make the space work from day to night and for any occasion, any gathering and any family or couple looking for a beautiful space and tasty food.

We executed this vision by striking a fine balance between bold and vibrant elements and upscale elegance, suitable for midtown Toronto. We also took a cue from the restaurant staff, who are artsy, cool, and unique. While imagining where we could push the design, we took inspiration from their effortless style. 

Another dining area with soft green upholstered benches along the white walls with simple white tables and light wooden chairs in front of them and greenery hanging from the ceiling

Our team made the decision to start by defining a palette of colours and finishes as inspiration, which helped to give us a better sense of the interior's potential. We landed on a palette of neutral tones and natural materials, with a hint of pattern, to give the space the cohesive look that the client was after. We all fell in love with a serene combination of greens, blues, and neutral tones – with plenty of greenery mixed in - to give life and texture to the newly designed interior. 

The focus behind the restaurant’s interior revolves around sourcing local materials, items and artwork from BIPOC female run businesses in Toronto & GTA. Tabule's style is a balance between our clients' brand which is a hip Lebanese restaurant with good food, plus Sansa Interiors' interpretation of what it could be. We wanted the space to feel very bright and airy, as if you are sitting in a lovely breezy courtyard in Beirut.

A detail of the beautiful geometric pattern and oval mirrors adorn the wall behind the seating benches
Beautiful colourful artwork decorates the walls

We also learned so much about Lebanon from this project. The country has a very distinct style of vintage pop art, landscape paintings, and textile crafts that really spoke to us. Through their art, you can feel how proud Lebanese people are of their country and the colours they use are really inspiring. We incorporated Fairuz (who is a lebanese singer) into a large piece of art that’s hanging on the wall, with her music playing in the background. It gives diners a taste of culture through art, music, and the overall ambience of the space.

These thoughtful touches help the design feel more connected to its purpose, and make it feel authentic. It’s those little moments that help tie the design back to the culture, but in a fresh and exciting way.

The final result of Tabule Midtown’s redesign is a sophisticated and modern space that brings out the spirit of Lebanese food in a simple and elegant way. We couldn’t be more proud – or ready to dig in for a delicious bite!

Jude Kamal

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Jude Kamal