Photo by Ellise & Wicky
Semarang has new choice for the savvy foodie looking for a touch of urban style. Met Duck owner Anton Handoyo wanted a restaurant that was light, modern, lively and casual, while keeping an eye on cost, which underpins the success of any restaurant.
Anton turned to Semarang-based studio Twentyfour Studio, which specializes in commercial space, restaurants and stores, to conceptualize the architecture and interior design. The brief was for a compact and usable space with distinct design notes that would be budget-savvy. With 220 sqm on its ground level, Met Duck has 106 seats in two dining areas, as well as a bar and stage, and a mezzanine that seats 36.
The main dining area is perfect for brunch: it’s fronted by big windows with turquoise panels and features planters behind the bright yellow seats. Teardrop light fixtures hang from a groovy black-and-white criss-cross ceiling, while the pastel hues and large windows bathe diners in the early-morning sun. “We wanted this place to be bright and lively for breakfast, with plenty of natural light,” Simon Yusuf, the principal architect from Twentyfour Studio, says.
On the way to the second, interior dining area is a wall featuring the clever reuse of eggshell casings. Yusuf says that the idea came from a desire to recycle. While the paper versions found in supermarkets are too flimsy for use as decor, Twentyfour Studio used the casings as moulds for a mixture of concrete and water that were painted and affixed to the wall. on top of the casings are a series of copper duck footprints that show ducklings following their mother. The idea reflected the owner’s desire to set trends in Semarang: as ducklings follow their mother, so would other restaurants in Semarang follow Met Duck.
Yusuf says that Twentyfour Studio conceived the mezzanine, a private room intended for groups, events and gatherings, to take advantage of the restaurant’s 5.2-metre-high ceiling on the mall’s ground floor. Building vertically was a smart decision for the owner, gaining more seats for the restaurant while finding a use for space that would have otherwise gone to waste.
The dining room near the entrance and below the mezzanine features views of the kitchen with a behind-the-scenes look of the cooking staff, making the space lively and active for diners.
A quirky design note features a painting titled Mother of Duck, who serves as the restaurant’s hostess, created by artist Amelia Budiman (@ameliakeepdrawing).
Most of the menu is the work of Wishnu Wardhanawinata, the restaurant’s head chef. “The first time we opened we had a brunch concept. in Semarang, there was no other restaurant using the concept. People were pleased and excited and eager to learn more: Met Duck now has its loyal guests, both local and international.
Most popular is Met Duck’s eggs Benedict, offered six ways: Classic, Mexican, Duxelle, Florentine, italian and asian style. While duck confit and duck bacon appear on the menu, there’s much more. Meat lovers can enjoy a filet mignon, those looking for asian cuisine with flair can try the loco moco, and favourites such as capelini aglio olio are paired with a penne pesto pulled duck. local diners are price sensitive, so portions are big, while prices are small, Wishnu says.
While brunch is popular, the restaurant is also open late, when the vibe changes. Bands perform on the main dining room’s stage on Saturdays, while Met Duck’s bar–which smartly adds five more seats while creating a different space–serves up manual-brew coffee in the morning and beer in the evenings.