Lee Ho Fook: Redefining Chinese cuisine and design

In the heart of Melbourne’s vibrant Flinders Lane, an old-world charm meets contemporary innovation at Lee Ho Fook, a Chinese restaurant that transcends clichés to create a unique dining experience.

Housed in a historic 2-storey brick warehouse dating back to the early 1900s, the restaurant’s design seamlessly blends Chinese cultural references with modern aesthetics, captivating both food enthusiasts and design aficionados alike.


The challenge of space planning in a limited 100sqm per floor was met with ingenious design solutions. Embracing the building’s original character, including its street art, the interior contrasts old and new by integrating contemporary elements with the existing fabric. Linear brass angles adorn key joinery, symbolizing happiness in Chinese culture through its nod to gold.

Cantilevered banquette seating not only adds a sense of lightness but also maximizes space efficiency, crucial in the compact setting. A timber and glass partition screen, reminiscent of traditional Chinese room dividers, serves both aesthetic and practical purposes, creating a subtle division without obstructing the flow of the space.

The restoration process exposed the warehouse’s robust timber trusses and raw brickwork, with the timber ceiling and floor retained and integrated into the design. A carefully curated material palette of American Oak, brass, terrazzo, and brick tiles, complemented by leather and custom-designed carpets, enhances the space’s warmth and elegance.

What sets Lee Ho Fook apart is its culinary philosophy: a re-imagination of old-world Chinese cuisine with a contemporary twist. Each dish tells a story, showcasing a fusion of traditional techniques and innovative flavours, much like the design ethos of the restaurant itself.

Lee Ho Fook isn’t just a place to dine; it’s an immersive journey where heritage meets modernity, where every detail, from the menu to the design, reflects a harmonious blend of the past and the present, inviting guests to savour not just the food but also the rich tapestry of culture and creativity.

Images by Brooke Holm via ArchDaily

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