The Story of…Caché Bistro & Lounge

12Dec11

Yaletown in British Columbia is a neighbourhood well-known for the young, hip and luxurious boutiques, specialty stores, businesses and apartment residence. And of course, the abundance of food places of all sorts: family-oriented restaurants, pubs & breweries, lounges, coffee places etc., and of many ethnic varieties: West coast, Thai, French, Italian…The food scene in Yaletown is as rich, diverse and authentic as the potpourri of cultures that make Vancouver unique.

Over at a hushed corner of Yaletown at Drake and Hamilton Street, drastic changes takes place unnoticed, like young shoots sprouting out of the Spring soil (in spite of the cold, rainy November Vancouver winter outside). If you look closer, you will find three people at the core of this unstoppable ball of energy that keeps the activities going at 1269 Hamilton Street — Chef Alex Mok and his wife Zoë, and their investor/friend Kinson Lai.

Alex previously served at the Quilchena Golf and Country Club, and has apprenticed with the former chef to the King of Belgium. Together with his wife Zoë, Alex has been cooking at his Vancouver apartment, serving patrons in an “underground supper club” — an exclusive, private, intimate dinner party of few with custom menus designed by Alex.  Influenced greatly by French cuisine, Alex’s cooking focuses on the “holistic food experience”, a multi-dimensional food sensation. His innovative and user-centered menu creations have won the praises of many.

Yet, in the midst of their success as “underground supper club” hosts, Alex and Zoë have always yearned to bring their food offerings out of their apartment and into mainstream. The moment comes when an opportunity arises in the heart of Yaletown.

The Name: Caché

The name of the restaurant, Caché, means hidden or hide in French. It is appropriate in many ways: firstly, it reminisces the good old days of the underground supper club where exclusive private dinner parties were celebrated; secondly, it signifies the new era when the “hidden” is revealed and shared with the public; thirdly, it relates to the location of the restaurant, which is a quiet, seclusive escape from the hustle and bustle of Yaletown; lastly, it pays tribute to Chef Alex’s style of French cuisine cooking.

The Concept

Moodboard for Caché

Moodboard for Caché

In spite of the tight project timeline, we take time to research and explore. In this case, we focus on the name of the restaurant since it provides a very rich content for us to work on. At the end, it boils down to three options:

  1. Precious, protect, valuable, safekeeping. E.g., a pearl in an oyster.
  2. History and discovery. E.g., maps and compasses.
  3. A place for safekeeping. E.g., a safe or a jewelry case.

The graphic solution shall highlight:

  1. Casual & Approachable: There is no need to dress up. Just come for a good time.
  2. Sophisticated: To reflect Chef Alex’s detail-oriented cooking style
  3. French-influenced: It is Chef Alex’s signature style

Rough 1

Rough1

Rough 1

After discussing with the client, we decide with Concept 1, which is interpreted as a locket with paper silhouette portrait cut-outs. The rationale is that in the old times, paper silhouette portrait cut-out of a persona’s dearest (often a lover) was kept in a golden locket and worn close to the heart, to remind them of the love they shared. Caché has its patrons close to its heart. It is the place where loved ones gather to create fond memories.

Although pleased with the concept, the client fears the imagery is too mature for its target audience, who are young, hip Yaletown locals. With this in mind, the logo evolves and becomes…

Caché Bistro & Lounge Logo

Cache Logos

Final Logos

Thanks to Zoë’s suggestions, we “modernize” the boy and the girl and bring them into the 21st century. The oval shape doubles as a locket and a dish, depending on what’s inside. We keep it simple by using one colour, black, as the main theme colour. Other colours such as rich burgundy red and bronze-gold inspired by the interior decor of the restaurant are introduced in the brunch menu to bring warmth and vibrancy.

Identity applications

Cache_app1

Cache_app2

Cache Brunch Menu

Cache_signs1

Cache_signs2

Caché Bistro and Lounge
1269 Hamilton Street
Vancouver, B.C.
Tel: 604.558.1269
www.cachebistro.com

© All Rights Reserved. Gillian Lo. Caché Bristo & Lounge. 2011.

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