George Calombaris is opening a new Hellenic Republic at the site of the old St Katherines in Kew, Melbourne. Source: Supplied
ST KATHERINE’S, the suburban dude food haven set up by The Made Group in Melbourne’s Kew with former collaborator Shane Delia, is to close.
But the group has plans for the space: it will become the second Hellenic Republic, the George Calombaris-inspired modern taverna the group operates in Melbourne’s Brunswick. Delia and The Made Group separated amicably this year, with Delia buying out the balance of his Maha restaurant. “We know what we’re good at,” says Calombaris of Hellenic Republic Kew, “and it’s all things Greek.” The new 100-seat restaurant will close for a refit next month that will include a bespoke Greek pastry kitchen and shop as well as an events space upstairs. Is a third Hellenic likely? “We’re not ruling it out,” says the chef. Meantime, Jimmy Grant’s, the group’s gang-busting souvlaki joint, is expanding; a new site, in the Melbourne suburb of Ormond, has been confirmed. We don’t expect it to end there, either. Calombaris’s tiny, lab-like Press Club will reopen before Christmas with an armory of technology unseen in any Australian kitchen, ever.
BRISBANE: It’s not all bad news in Brisbane, where One Eleven and Ortiga announced final drinks last week (see video). Former Circa/Prince of Wales exec chef Jake Nicolson has made the move north to start work on the city’s next big riverside restaurant project, Blackbird, for the Ghanem Group. It’s due to open mid-January. “In the meantime, I will be based at 5th Element where I am busy working on relaunching the restaurant,” he says.The Southbank wine bar is one of four venues the group operates.
BAROSSA: Appellation, the restaurant at Barossa luxury resort The Louise, is the latest to respond to the changing mood at the top end of dining. It’s out with tablecloths and degustation, in with a more casual look and a rotating, 16-dish carte. “Altering a winning formula may seem counter-intuitive,” said Jim Carreker, the property’s owner. “However, we are convinced that these adaptations signal the future of contemporary regional dining in Australia”. Ryan Edwards remains head chef.
SYDNEY: Atelier (Glebe) is the latest to announce closure. The small, set-menu restaurant of chef Daren Templeman will shut for good on New Year’s Day after 10 years. In a surprisingly candid statement, Templeman said: “After much thought and reflection on the direction of the Sydney dining scene, we’ve come to realise that Restaurant Atelier no longer seems relevant in the current climate.”
MELBOURNE: Restaurateur/investor Frank Van Haandel will relaunch the less than stellar Trocadero, at Hamer Hall, as Fatto, with his group general manager Anthony Musarra back in the kitchen channelling his Italian roots. It’s probably not what Musarra was looking for at his stage of career maturity, however, Fatto, which the chef has a stake in, needs a potent bite when a total refit, after less than a year, is finished next month. The rather bland initial design will be replaced by a look penned by design darlings of the restaurant industry, Projects of Imagination.
ADELAIDE: Peel Street is shaping as the CBD’s go-to laneway for food and wine stuff. Last week, a new vodka bar – Bar Bushka (no Kate Bush songs, please) – opened, adding to the momentum of excellent small wine bar Clever Little Tailor and the wonderful new restaurant of Ben McLeod and chef Jordan Theodorus, Peel Street. Chihuahua (you guessed the theme) is next while hospitality mover/shaker Simon Kardachi (Press, Melt, Proof) is set to open a burger/hot dog cocktail bar early in the new year. We hear a Spanish tapas bar is mooted for Peel, as is something Serbian. Well done, Adelaide.