Consistently ranked on the list of The World’s 50 Best Asian Restaurants, Burnt Ends, a barbecue restaurant from Australian chef Dave Pynt, relocated from Chinatown to Dempsey, Singapore. Pynt selected Emma Maxwell to design the new location. She’s a fellow Aussie, designer, and friend, but what really sold him was her pitch: “Fire, skulls and AC/DC!”

For Maxwell, the challenge was to make sure the Dempsey location, a former colonial military barracks, had all the features that made the Chinatown restaurant memorable and intimate but in a much larger space.

Maxwell solved the challenge with a design that references the foundational components of barbecue: flames, wood and metal. “The ovens are the heart of the entire restaurant, a constant primordial burning fire of 1000 degrees F,” says Maxwell. “Everything, from the food to the interior design, comes from them.”

The restaurant encompasses a main dining area, a large private dining room, a massive open kitchen and an adjacent bakery.

In the dining room, a long slab of Indonesian suar wood forms the table framing the open kitchen. The floors are lined with teak planks rescued from an old bridge in Indonesia. The square pillars of the old barracks are sheathed in beaten copper panels, their surfaces mottled with random grid-like patterns imprinted from the pallets in which they were stored and transported. Extra-wide teak-framed dining chairs are designed to be comfortable to accommodate lingering diners. 

The tasting room and bar pay homage to old museums with reproduction 19th-century scientific cabinets and glass-topped display cases filled with old locks, compasses, anatomy charts and more. The bar further manifests the idea of a cabinet of curiosities as built-ins reach almost to the ceiling and brim with curated, eclectic collections of jars, seashells, antique bottles and more. 

Images courtesy of Emma Maxwell Design