Mayla Concept: Elevating Kingston’s Dining Scene.
The birth of a new tradition. Jeff Keary.
Every now and then there comes along a game changing event or concept that creates a new market by establishing its own values and traditions. Think of artificial intelligence, three dimensional printing or smart phones, examples of what we would now call ‘disruptive technologies,’ but with Mayla Concept we are not talking about a new high tech device or development, we are talking about a novel and distinctive style of restaurant. Mayla Concept is a new restaurant offering fine dining with the ambition of providing a game changing guest experience divorced from stuffy formality.
With a very positive mindset, the team behind that familiar Kingston landmark, Tango Nuevo, formulated ideas leading to the birth of Mayla Concept in the downtime imposed by COVID during the winter of 2021. The new establishment opened its doors to the public the following August. Located at 343 King Street East, the building formerly known to Kingston’s populace as The Public House, has been completely transformed inside and out. Now the carefully curated interior and exterior are dressed in a resplendent 18th century red brick finish that complements the historic street scene whilst inside exuding warmth and intimacy.
Being aware of owner Gokhan Cifci’s Turkish lineage, I researched the significance of Mayla. I congratulated myself on discovering a potential meaning, ‘Gift from the Heavens,’ only to be advised by Gokhan that it is actually was a conflation of his childrens’ names Mavi and Ayla.
“We think of it as a concept because it is an ongoing project which will eventually offer different styles of dining in different parts of the building. Currently the project is only thirty percent finished and not expected to be fully completed until summer 2023,” advises Gokhan, “the next phase of our plan is underway and that will deliver a rooftop patio with a retractable roof, so it should be able to be enjoyed in all weathers and most if not all of the year round. As the building develops the concept of what Mayla is will also develop. It’s flexible.”
Mayla’s design was very important to Gokhan, the interior combines vintage and modern elements to create an intimate, boutique ambience that is both homey yet elegant. Neither stuffy or formal, yet clearly upscale, earthy brown and green tones combine with varnished wood to furnish a congenial atmosphere for just twenty-four guests.
“We chose the symbols for earth, fire and water as elements of our logo’s design as they also provide the theme for our menu which features plant-based dishes, (earth), grilled meats, (fire), and fish and seafood, (water),” enthuses executive chef, Andrew Smyth.
The Mayla team and owners have been on the Kingston restaurant scene since 2013 with Tango Nuevo and felt the time had come for a new challenge. The team wanted the opportunity to demonstrate their full capabilities. “We also want to add something new to our city’s already great dining options. We came up with a new concept for dining in Kingston,” says Gokhan. He continues, “Our executive chef, Andrew Smyth, and our sous chef, Hediye Cifci, love experimenting with fusion dining and are constantly coming up with new recipes and unusual flavour combinations. Both have worked at Tango since it opened, and were eager to showcase their creativity in the new venture. Andrew particularly appreciates French cuisine and flavours while Hediye brings a Mediterranean and Middle Eastern influence to the table. The resulting fusion of flavours is unique and delicious.”
Mayla’s serving staff are very knowledgeable, passionate about presentation and most importantly, want to make guests feel comfortable and welcome. “They will take the time to explain each dish, making a shared experience of the meal and several of the dishes will be finished at the table, providing a uniquely personal experience,” advises Gokhan.
Mayla’s goal is to create a refined but relaxed fine dining restaurant experience with dishes that are flavourful and new, with highly attractive presentation in a warm dining room that feels snug and welcoming.
Currently the Mayla Concept is open from Thursday to Sunday evenings, and in summer it is expected to increase to five nights a week. Take the opportunity to experience Mayla Concept and you will enjoy not classic fine dining, but a restaurant creating a new style…its own style. Witness the birth of a new tradition and experience a world of flavours presented as art.