Knocking on Wood
The phrase “dining experience” is one that has taken a permanent place in modern lexicon. Eating out is not about the food…well, it’s not just about the food. The atmosphere is as important and can ruin what was otherwise a well-prepared meal.
Vida Lloyd-Richardson was mindful of this from the beginning when she and her brother and business partner, David Lloyd, decided to rebuild a restaurant on the site of the old Roy’s Place (now Roy’s Bayside Grill). The duo, joined by Vida’s husband, and the design force behind the restaurant, Clyde Richardson, eventually set their sights to Asia.
“The idea was to build something that would fit in with the natural settings. We decided on an Asian-Caribbean fusion in terms of design, as well as the food,” she said. The trio set off on two trips to the Far East, firstly to the Philippines, then ultimately to Bali where all the furnishings were sourced. The resulting design belies the beachfront location by creating a sophisticated, uptown feel.
“We wanted to create a natural, homey feel, but one that was still international. I think we’re getting there.”
An Asian-inspired design meant that the use of natural materials, particularly wood, was a central part of the aesthetic. “Asian architecture uses lots of wood, and it makes you feel very comfortable.” Vida explained.
Greenheart, from Guyana, was chosen as the primary building material due to its extreme toughness. In fact, the restaurant is almost entirely made of wood: dark hardwood floors, dark wood chairs and tables. The countertop at the bar area, designed by Clyde, is of polished, stained Greenheart.
Asian culture was also the inspiration behind da’Vida’s logo which incorporates a mandala. In Hinduism and Buddhism, mandalas are a sacred symbol used for self-expression, spiritual transformation, and personal growth. “Our spiritual understanding of it is interwoven energies,” Vida explains.
The name da’Vida was chosen to honour their parents who, incidentally, are also named David and Vida. It had been their vision to build a restaurant on the property 20 years prior.
Lest we forget, there is food! This is a restaurant after all. da’Vida’s menu is fairly extensive. The Asian-Caribbean concept is integral to the menu with choices such as Thai Beef Salad and Pan Seared Snapper.
Vida explains that they wanted to reinvent the beach shack. “We wanted to create a natural, homey feel, but one that was still international. I think we’re getting there.”