An Inside Look at Middle South East Restaurant in Melbourne

Middle South East is a restaurant, bar and cafe located on the corner of Malcolm Street and the iconic Chapel Street in Melbourne. The vision, which design studio Biasol helped to accomplish, was to create an all-day eatery with unparalleled style and menu merging contemporary Australian dining with Middle Eastern hospitality.

“With our team behind interiors as well as branding, we developed the venue name as a reference to its cultural provenance and its location at South Yarra’s recently rebranded 670 Chapel Street centre. Our spatial plan facilitates an effortless transition between breakfast, lunch and dinner service, and encourages fluid connectivity. We established different areas for diverse dining needs – the main bar divides the casual dining area from an intimately configured grazing section, while access to the adjoining centre hosts pre-made menu items and takeaway orders. By opening up the kitchen to the space, the dynamic energy of the Middle South East hospitality team is key to the experience. Upon entry from the street, visitors are presented with an array of seating options tailored to suit any occasion. Bar seating and dedicated coffee and juice stations were intentionally positioned at a low height to encourage easy interaction between staff and customers, while existing bulk heads were removed to enable an unobstructed openness throughout. Middle South East’s various zones are distinguished by detail – with inky blue tiles and brass shelving, a simple water station becomes a high impact convergence point. Curved forms defining the bar, water station and custom furniture relate subtly to the venue’s undulant exterior, conveying an organic sense of movement. In crafting the restaurant’s materiality and colour palette, we turned to the evocative earthiness of Middle Eastern architecture. Exuding a deep warmth, Middle South East is imbued with light and dark shades of terracotta, tones which extend to hand-made tiles on the main bar in a tactile natural finish accented with gloss. Aged brass fixtures add understated richness, along with custom-designed pendant and wall light fittings. The space is visually united by Terrazzo stone on tables and bench tops, flecked with hues present in the design. Working closely with the owner to capitalise on Middle South East’s enviable street frontage, we explored various ways of projecting the restaurant’s conviviality outward. We created a custom-built coffee and takeaway cart to further activate the restaurant’s presence at street level. Together with a series of inviting booths outside, these elements place people at the fore, acting as a highly visible endorsement of a welcoming venue,” said Biasol

  • Location: Melbourne, Australia
  • Date completed: 2017
  • Size: 2,450 square feet
  • Design: Biasol
  • Photos: Tom Blachford
Main bar area
Open kitchen behind bar
Dining area
Banquette seating
Water station
Outdoor seating
Colors and materials