Dear Arya is the second rendition of Sto:ry™ Menu that we developed for Nén Restaurant. It’s a savory, indulging and most of all, relatable eating experience. By experiencing this 8-course tasting menu, people will be invited into memories Summer holds dear with her first daughter Arya, and taste the dishes that make those moments special.
“Arya has this insatiable curiosity about everything. She’s an adventurous eater too. Seeing her exploring her surroundings and finding joy in everything she eats makes me realize how often us adults forget about that”.
It’s a menu built out of love. It’s an experience of warm welcoming. It’s the moments that just maybe, we tend to overlook.
For each Sto:ry Menu, we design a separate set of artworks (including but not limited to: logo, posters, photos, etc) and thematic audiovisual to further elaborate the concept.
The official logo of Dear Arya is based on the Celtic motherhood symbol because of the encompassment of the relationship between the mother and the child in this ancient pattern. The main color palette is texturized copper to give a feel of ancient civilizations, the unearthed life and our roots as humans.
We also installed a digital projector to display the logo in the main dining hall, giving guests a more immersive experience.
The poster (and logo) was developed by Lucas, a good friend of ours and a talented designer residing in Canada. Lucas was very quick to understand our intention with Dear Arya and finished the job beautifully. The official poster gives a vast feeling of the universe as a metaphor for the immense love that a mother gives to her children. Don’t look too closely at the trippy patterns in the background or you may get lost in it!
Each dish served will be accompanied by a sketch note by Summer. These notes provide background information about the dishes and most importantly, the true, heart-warming stories that inspired Summer to create the experience.
Designing the actual menu that is displayed on our patrons’ dining tables is another important process that we always invest in. Our Art Director Momo had a few very cool ideas for Dear Arya that could set it apart from previous menus. Initially Momo intended to design it in the form of a letter that the parents send to their daughter; this approach would require more advanced paper material and printing technique. However, due to various constraints of the pandemic, Momo decided to keep the menu design simple yet still related to her initial idea. Hopefully when things get back to normal, we can manage to bring her best idea to life.
Dear Arya’s key piece of plating effort. It took Momo, our Art Director, nearly 2 months from designing to finding and assembling the perfect “Blue Shrimp noodles” that mimics the ubiquitous Nissin noodle cup. As this dish (“Memory with Dad”) is one of the most important and touching dishes of the whole menu, we wanted to do it justice. A bit playful, cute and loving, just like the relationship between Arya and her Daddy.
Another highlight is the plating for Dear Arya’s last dish called “Black hole”. It obviously took a lot of our brain and physical effort to turn the dessert into a 3D drawing of the universe. The mint-honey ice-cream is made from 3 carefully chosen colors and then plated on a Himalayan salt stone to enrich the dish’s taste and give it an outer space feel. Other “props” include a black sesame “black hole” on top of the ice cream, a piece of black meringue and edible silver dust.
With Dear Arya, we decided from the start that audiovisual is our key communicator. Videos are excellent in conveying ideas and feelings, they also enable us to go in-depth into a dish without the baggage of a wall of text. A one-minute video can surprise you with how much substance it can carry.
Sto:ry Menu #2 – DEAR ARYA Recap Video
The photography style for Dear Arya is a mixture of Sto:ry Photo and traditional food photography. We want the pictures to be designful with crisp details but at the same time carry the emotions and efforts of the humans behind it.