Known for its daily offerings, Toronto brunch institution Lady Marmalade and its devoted following can now enjoy their meals inside a space that looks as good as its food tastes. Their newly renovated space, designed by Omar Gandhi Architect in collaboration with SvN, is located on an up-and-coming stretch of Broadview Avenue just north of Dundas Street in the east end of the city.
A long, narrow, dark building was transformed into a bright, warm space that’s an excellent exploration of scale, proportion, materiality, and light. The front exterior holds on to the original brick façade, while a large new storefront window allows for a glimpse inside for passersby. Cedar cladding accents the aging brick, and will develop its own patina over time to complement it.
A small entryway opens into a light-filled three-story space at the front of the dining room, while exposed beams throughout are a nod to the restaurants past lives.. The first and second levels provide seating, and include a double-height private dining area at the rear of the building. New windows at both the front and back of the space, as well as skylights, provide plenty of illumination even on overcast days when played against the Baltic birch interior finish that’s consistent throughout.
Services and circulation are situated along on side, while the kitchen is located in the rear of the building on the first floor with the same openness as their previous location. A small addition in the back allows for some extra space for both the kitchen and dining areas. Plenty of wall-mounted plants and warm brass accents finish off the warm interior palette.
The Baltic birch interior finish of the dining room establishes a consistent backdrop to the natural sunlight as it charts its path through the restaurant over the course of a day. The Baltic birch folds out from the wall to create banquette seating on both levels. It is extruded to form the coffee bars, and opened up to create light slots for the suspended light fixtures. The wood material palette is consistent throughout the dining area, from the finishes of the interior doors to the wood window frames and jamb extensions. The carefully curated wall-mounted plants animate the space and provide acoustic relief for the busy weekend brunch crowds. The warm brass accents of the light fixtures add to the warmth of the interior material palette.