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FORGET the Joneses. It’s all about keeping up with The Smiths in 2017.
After hosting one helluva New Year’s Eve party, the Prahran pub will shut for renovations, which will double its size by adding an all-weather atrium under a German-designed, retractable glass roof. Owners Scott Borg and Michael Lambie plan to demolish a wall through to the building next door (an old-school cabinetmaker, of which the retro facade will be retained) to add a courtyard bar with room for 300 and a modern fish and chips shop, Smith and Chips, with its own High St entrance.
There’ll be a menu makeover, too, with executive chef Brad Simpson axing much of the pub’s Asian skew for a return to its gastro-pub and mod-oz roots.
“We’ll keep elements of the Asian focus – things like the kingfish sashimi are The Smith – but we do want to bring back a more casual approach with steaks, charcuterie and terrines,” Simpson says. “We want to be the point of difference and that place that people are missing.” Borg says the time is right for the venue’s evolution, especially given the recent influx of Asian nosheries in the area vying for tastebuds.
“We found after we opened five years ago, a lot of other businesses saw the benefit of coming into Prahran, and over time, the market has changed so we want to rejuvenate and take it up a notch,” Borg says.
“The opportunity came up to purchase the building next door so we are changing the game. Good luck to them trying to keep up with us.”
Simpson comes on as business partner in Smith and Chips, which will serve classic and healthier fish and chips alongside fresh oysters, soft-shell crab and vibrant salads, teamed with cocktails from the new central bar. Takeaway and delivery will also be available.
The last day of trade will be a New Year’s Eve party with six courses and dessert, DJS and dancing to 3am, with The Smith 2.0 due for completion by May under architects March Studio (Gazi, Lucy Liu, Jimmy Grants).