Celebrated Indian restaurant concept Ushna, located in Madinat Jumeirah Dubai and The Souk Qaryat Al Beri in Abu Dhabi, has been redesigned with a stylish new look and feel, infusing colonial heritage and charm into this popular dining destination.

Opened in November 2019 and January 2020 respectively, award-winning London and Dubai-based design firm H2R Design were enlisted to conceptualise the restaurant concept’s new aesthetic. Taking its cue from classical Indian gastronomy and its history, the space has undergone a contemporary reinvention and reflects the passion, warmth and vigour that is synonymous with Indian cuisine.

The same design palette has been used across both venues, but the most discerning of guests will notice the subtle differences between the two, which is translated through unique design attributes. Bold colours and rich fabrics have been used throughout to reflect the vibrancy of the cuisine as evidenced by the use of blue and green jewel-toned hues and contrasted by earthier, natural colours.

Meanwhile, banquettes outfitted in a mixture of fabrics from deep red and mustard yellow to turquoise and emerald green with orange accents creates an element of warmth.

Intricate details have been woven throughout including paisley-patterned debossing across the bar and chairs embellished with vintage patterns and embroidery, outlining the beauty of Indian artistry.

Similarly, art depicting ancient spiritual traditions has been used throughout, becoming part of the architectural structure, whilst symbolic imagery adorns the walls, creating colourful portals into the world of Ushna.

As the home to some of the world’s most beautiful geometric patterns, H2R Design wanted to emphasise this key feature of Indian design across the venue, incorporating mosaic-style flooring around the restaurant’s focal points. Contrasting with the bold colour scheme, various types of wood, including walnut, timber and teak, creates a balance of materials and textures.

“To uplift the overall experience, we used traditional timbers and panelling influenced by the colonial era, harmonised with the flavours of the Indian culture, through bold colours and patterns,” explains the Co-founders of H2R Design, Hasan and Husain Roomi. “We’ve also taken into consideration the exotic opulence found in Indian interiors such as layers of texture to provide a captivating atmosphere across both of the restaurants.”

Diners can choose from a varied selection of authentic Indian dishes including traditional tandoor plates, roti breads and biryani, as well as a number of curries and vegetarian alternatives. Specialities include charcoal-grilled chicken tikkas with stuffed chillies and crisp fried shrimps with garlic, chilli flakes and rice flour.