INSIDER The latest news & reviews MARKET FORCES CRABBY CURE Cracking good times await at the Lorne Hotel when Dandelion chef Geoff Lindsay’s Crab Club takes over. Nightly from Boxing Day to January 6, feast on crab cakes and wok-fried crab with chilli, pl
IT’S been a long time coming, but Paul Wilson says this Thursday the builders will finally hand over the keys to his Prahran market restaurant.
But those delays have allowed Wilson to hone the vision for his flagship urban eatery and bar, that was to be named Wilson & Merchant but will go by Wilson & Market when it opens in the new year. “It’s been the hardest year of my life,” the chef says of the project that was due to open in April but was postponed due to permit issues over the Commercial Rd entry.
“It allows us to open the venue in stages,” Wilson says. First up in late January, a hole-in-the-wall coffee kiosk where single origin St Ali coffee will be served alongside a single origin chocolate cake. The cake is designed in conjunction with chocolatier Tad Lombardo (who is also at the market). Rotisserie and woodfired sandwiches and Mediterranean market salads will come with table service from mid-february, while the dining room and street-side atrium will follow in mid-march.
“I’m trying to refresh the idea of a brasserie,” he says. “To create a modern Australian brassiere, that’s my aim.”
To that end, Wilson has tapped Transition Farm on the Mornington Peninsula to grow biodynamic crops that will be used on the menu. “I’ve been blown away with the quality of what they are growing,” the delicious. Produce Awards judge says.
A crustacean bar frames the kitchen (“we want to be Melbourne’s best seafood restaurant”), while head chef David Marshall will be in charge of the woodfire oven. Virginia Selleck (Rockpool, Bellota, Prince Wine Store) will look after the Australian-leaning wine list.
And while the new restaurant will only have elements of the Latin American flavours Wilson is an expert on, Mexican remains close to his heart. His cookbook, Taqueria, just released, showcases this love, giving readers a crash course in Latin American cooking. “I definitely want to do a Latin restaurant. Once all this is done, I’d love to do that next.”