Every now and again a restaurant appears on the scene which proves how simplicity and keeping natural materials in mind can be key to creating a homely, comfortable space in which to enjoy good food and drink. Tavernetta, a new restaurant in Odessa, Ukraine, has been designed by Studio Belenko with a comforting appreciation for raw materials and a focus on the practice of preparing and enjoying good Italian cuisine. The result is an endearingly calm space with a lot of raw and yet understated personality.
Walking up to the restaurant you're welcomed by sturdy planters, simple foliage, a quirky dresser (yes, outside) and a cluster of outdoor seating under a striking wooden veranda - perfect for people watching on a sunny afternoon. Both the wall to ceiling doors and windows have been masterfully crafted and although it's tempting to sit and relax outside, you can't help but be tempted inside by the quality of the design and workmanship. Once inside, the first thing that strikes you about Tavernetta is the ample use of wood that has been made. The furniture, fixtures and countertops showcase the beautiful rough pattern of the Siberian pine, making the space feel light and homely, sawed using a tape saw to give it a jagged edge adding to the overall rustic feel of the restaurant. The traditional stucco walls add a contrasting texture and a sense of warmth that really comes into play when the lights dim as the evening progresses. This place is definitely low-key and low-tech; a space in which to relax with good company and good food.
Tavernetta makes you almost feel like you're entered somebody's home, a space that's loved but not overpowering in the slightest. Once settled (it doesn't take long in this place) what initially seems a severely simple design starts to unravel around you as you start to notice little quirks that add extra elements of personality to the space. Traditional cooking utensils hang on the walls like practical pieces of art. A uniform collection of different coloured retro mixers have been lined up on the simple wood panelling, and colanders are displayed on a neighboring wall to add character. Retro light fittings juxtapose the modern with the predominantly traditional flavour of the place. Tarvenetta has been designed with a lot of thought and attention to detail. Collections of items have been arranged to compliment the symmetry that although not a feature, is still central to the design as it allows the space to flow. Displays of items such as the retro cookery equipment and utensils add interest and splashes of colour but never look cluttered in the light airy atmospheric space. The longer you spend in Tavernetta, the more you come to realise the clever subtleties of Studio Belenko's design.
Tavernetta looks like an established restaurant that's evolved with time. It is a special addition to Odessa and a joy to spend time in. The use of quality materials and the sympathetic design will definitely ensure that this is a restaurant improves with age.