Little Banchan & Meju

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Little Banchan & Meju

  • client Chef Hooni Kim
  • location Queens, New York
  • status Completed 2022
  • photographer Jason Varney
  • area 3,750 sq ft

Little Banchan Shop offers a variety of prepared “banchan”—the collective name for small side dishes served alongside Korean food—in addition to soups, stews, marinated meat to cook at home, and a selection of made-to-order dishes. Crème focused on creating a casual and light-filled space, opting for an inviting glass storefront on the main street. Inside, plywood millwork enhances the shop’s colorful packages of banchan, a neon sign highlights the chef’s counter, and geometric displays and decorative spiral lighting hang from the ceiling.

Through a door in the back of the shop, a pastel hallway leads to Meju, the private tasting room led by Michelin Chef and owner Hooni Kim. The Crème team took inspiration from the meju fermentation process, essential to producing the jangs, sauces, and pastes that serve as the foundational flavor in Korean cuisine. This process is reflected in the layers of chandelier rings and rods, as well as the rustic wall tiles and round shelves. Enhancing the atmosphere, Crème incorporated antique brass and dark walnut throughout. Vertical trims and a circular antique mirror inspired by old castle windows open the space, allowing for guests to see Meju from various angles.

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