A fusion of Japanese and Mexican architectural techniques characterizes this restaurant on the Mexican Pacific Ocean, designed by TAX Architects for the Escondido Hotel.
Called Kakurega Omakase, the restaurant is located at Hotel Escondido near the bustling Mexican port town of Puerto Escondido, famous for surfing. Based in Mexico City, TAX Architects created the architecture of the hotel’s restaurant to showcase a combination of Mexican and Japanese designs.
Kakurega means hiding place or refuge in Japanese and is similar to the Spanish word escondido, after which the hotel takes its name, meaning hidden.
In keeping with the thatched-roof bungalows at Hotel Escondido, designed by Mexico City architect Federico Rivera Río, TAX Architects also created the restaurant with a massive natural cladding.
Known as a palapa, this structure is a traditional building method in the Oaxaca region that involves layers of palm branches on a wooden frame.
Other contemporary projects featuring palapa include boutique hotel Monte Uzulu and Tadao Ando’s artist retreat Casa Wabi, both located nearby.
To add a Japanese touch to the design, TAX Architects opted for blackened wooden beams using the traditional Japanese shou sugi ban technique.
Thick wooden beams rise two stories to support the overhanging massive palapa roof, formed of thinner charred planks. Blackened wooden planks also form the floor.
The restaurant is on two levels and features brick walls on the ground floor made from reddish clay sourced and fired locally. The walls create private enclosures with concrete floors built lower into the ground and have plantings, a reflection pool, seating areas, and a covered area for preparing food.
Two exterior concrete stairs on opposite sides lead to the restaurant’s dining area on the first floor.
Lacking walls and windows, the open-air design allows the ocean breeze to naturally cool the space. Instead, the dining room is surrounded by thin metal balustrades that wrap around the perimeter and connect to the blackened pillars.
A long bar sits in the middle of the dining room and is a place where Japanese cuisine is prepared in the omakase tradition, which means that the chef selects a series of dishes for customers to taste.
A series of wooden bar stools with woven backs and seats complete the decor, alongside ceramic bowls and plates and woven light fixtures.
Kakurega Omakase is a collaboration between TAX Architects with local artist Bosco Sodi and photographer Luis Urrutia. The interior design was designed by Lucía Corredor and Cela Tena, founders of the Mexico City antique furniture store Década, and can accommodate 12 people.
TAX Architects, also known as Taller de Arquitectura X, was founded by Mexican architect Alberto Kalach in 1981 in Mexico City.
In addition to this restaurant, Kalach also designed a brick fireplace in artist retirement Casa Wabi in the coastal region, which accompanies a pottery pavilion designed by Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza.
The photography is by Sergio Lopez.