Jhaalmukh Restaurant is housed on the rooftop of a 40 to 45-year-old building. Architect Bhuiyan ARM Tareque, the principal architect at KENDRIK architects and studio head architect at EK Architects, designed it. The owner of the building lives abroad.
"I designed the interior of the ground floor of the building. When the owner came, he saw the floor getting a new lease of life and approached me to renovate all the 10 floors of the building," said Tareque.
He added, "I covered the rooftop of the building with industrial sheets and the owner thought of running a restaurant there."
Unlike Gulshan and Banani, Motijheel does not have many facilities for a rooftop restaurant. Because of Jhaalmukh, many corporate offices can now arrange meetings or formal get-togethers outside their offices in Motijheel. It was the owner's wish for the restaurant to serve Bangla cuisines, kebab and biryani.
The architect designed the restaurant considering that look in mind. Most restaurants in the Gulshan-Banani area run till midnight but in Motijheel, the restaurants close at 7 pm. There is almost no one to enter a restaurant in Motijheel after offices have closed for the day.
As the restaurants are open for shorter hours, the owner thought of investing less on design aesthetics on a restaurant that runs for two extra hours at best after offices close.
"I thought of the materials and the restaurant's ambiance keeping that spirit in mind. I designed Jhaalmukh with the minimum intervention of materials," Tareque said.
Jhaalmukh Restaurant's ceiling was made out of industrial sheets, keeping the structural frames exposed so the space can look open. As the restaurant has a sloped roof due to the industrial sheets, the height of the restaurant seems asymmetrical and dynamic. The total space of the restaurant is 5,000 sq ft.
"We wanted to use the entire volume of the space. For this, the air conditioner is used heavily, which we have taken into consideration," he added.
The restaurant houses wooden furniture and louvers. The windows are lined with 'nets' carved out of wood so the space can be filled with indirect sun and natural light. The louvers have the zigzagged, diagonal pattern of Bangladeshi 'Shital Pati'. Tareque has used locally-sourced tiles for the floor.
The usage of foreign materials in the restaurant have been kept minimal to keep the Bangladeshi flavour intact. Food is served on and eaten with earthenware.
At least 70 to 80 people can be served at once. The restaurant has a 1,000 sq ft non-ac zone, which has a road-side view and the space is separated by a folding window, which can be opened during spring, summer and monsoon.
The rest of the 4,000 sq ft of the restaurant is air-conditioned.
"We decorated the interior with indoor plants. The outdoor terrace is also shrouded with greenery," said Tareque.
As Motijheel is a business district, office-goers have their breakfast, lunch and snacks in the restaurants and hotels in the area. Jhaalmukh Restaurant serves biryani, plain rice, Bangla-style curry, vegetables, kebab, naan roti, parata and more.
The restaurant is designed for meetings and other corporate gatherings to be hosted as it has modular and linear tables.
A group of eight to 10 people can have a closed-door meeting in a separate and dedicated air conditioned room. The ambience of the rest of the restaurant will not hamper the meetings.
The roof's steel structure is covered with black paint. This gives the restaurant a modern look instead of a traditional one. The light terracotta design of the floor gives a natural look.
The owner of the restaurant is Inam, who used photographs and Nakshikantha for the interior design, although the architect advised against it.