top of page

Cultural Narratives in Restaurant Design: A Study of Desi Food Restaurant in Islamabad

This academic exploration delves into the architectural excellence exhibited by Khokha Khola ( desi food restaurant in Islamabad ), a prominent café and restaurant located in Bahria Town, Phase 7, Islamabad. The establishment serves as a noteworthy exemplar of architectural prowess, with a keenly curated material palette paying homage to contextual details of a bygone era. Initiated by a client deeply enmeshed in local culture, Khokha Khola represents a compelling endeavor to encapsulate this rich cultural tapestry within its physical space. This study examines the meticulous interplay of tradition and innovation in the restaurant's design, employing keywords related to trending topics in the cafe and restaurant industry.

Picture of entrance door of a restaurant
Entrance of Khokha Khola

The architecture of cafes and restaurants holds a unique place in the broader field of design and cultural expression. It is a dynamic space where culinary artistry, cultural narratives, and interior design converge. In recent years, the café and restaurant industry has witnessed a plethora of emerging trends, from mindful dining experiences to sustainable practices. Khokha Khola, situated in the heart of Bahria Town, Phase 7, Rawalpindi. , stands as a living testament to the amalgamation of these trends, making it a fascinating subject of academic inquiry.


This research employs a qualitative case study approach, focusing on Khokha Khola as a primary case. Data collection methods include site visits, interviews with the architectural team, and an extensive review of relevant literature and publications in the field of restaurant architecture.

Design Elements and Spatial Layout

Khokha Khola's architectural brilliance is evident in its material palette, which meticulously pays homage to contextual, historically-driven details. The café and restaurant industry has increasingly emphasized the use of sustainable and locally-sourced materials, aligning with global trends in eco-conscious dining establishments. In this context, Khokha Khola's choice of materials presents a nuanced exploration of this trend, marrying it with a historical narrative.

The spatial layout of Khokha Khola ingeniously choreographs a culinary ballet within confined quarters. This resonates with the trend of maximizing space efficiency, a critical consideration in contemporary cafe and restaurant design. The strategic arrangement is such that it seamlessly transitions from the kitchen to the bar, forging an interactive bridge between culinary preparation and presentation—an approach that is in line with the rising interest in open-kitchen concepts.

Picture of an interior of restaurant with wooden furniture and neon sign
Interior Seating Space

Cultural Integration and Aesthetic Choices

The incorporation of cultural elements within restaurant architecture is a growing trend, aligning with the global movement toward cultural preservation and celebration. Khokha Khola, initiated by a client deeply intertwined with local culture, serves as a case in point. It masterfully weaves tradition and innovation into its design ethos, paying homage to the rich tapestry of its locale. This practice resonates with the contemporary focus on cultural narratives in restaurant design.

The use of vintage aesthetics, including carefully curated vintage windows and doors, is an audacious ode to heritage, an increasingly prevalent theme in contemporary restaurant design. The prevalence of a resolute teal hue as a design motif is reflective of the trend towards incorporating bold, cohesive color schemes.

picture of interior of a cafe with scooter and rustic wall art
Entrance Wall

Artistic Integration and Sensory Experience

Khokha Khola integrates artistic elements, such as Urdu taglines and classic Urdu cinema and theater posters, into its interior design. This artistic integration aligns with the trend of elevating restaurant spaces into immersive art experiences. Furthermore, soft, diffused purple-pink hues envelop the space, contributing to a sensory experience—an aspect increasingly emphasized in modern restaurant design.

Outdoor Extension and Natural Integration

The transition from interior to exterior at Khokha Khola exemplifies the trend of seamlessly integrating outdoor spaces with the restaurant concept. The demarcation by a tactile threshold resonates with the growing interest in delineating these spaces artistically. The outdoor walls adorned with plastered tiles and wall creepers further amplify this trend of creating outdoor realities that extend the ambiance of the interior.

picture of interior of toilet with wall art and neon signs


In conclusion, Khokha Khola serves as a compelling case study of restaurant architecture that adeptly incorporates trending concepts and keywords within the café and restaurant industry. Its fusion of tradition and innovation, emphasis on cultural narratives, and attention to spatial efficiency, artistic integration, and sensory experiences all align with the contemporary trends shaping the culinary and architectural landscape. This case study not only sheds light on the architectural excellence of Khokha Khola but also provides valuable insights into the evolving dynamics of restaurant design in the modern era.

6 views0 comments


bottom of page