Cantonese pub

Merivale’s first Melbourne location on Flinders Lane will have a rooftop bar and Chinese restaurant

While many details about Merivale’s first location in Melbourne are yet to be confirmed, there are a few things we can reveal: the chef and the kind of food that will be served at his signature restaurant. These responses are Jowett Yu and Contemporary Chinese.

Last year, the Sydney-based hospitality giant bought Tomasetti House, the seven-storey brick and bluestone building at 277 Flinders Lane in the CBD, with the aim of making it a place to offer many food and drink options.

The venue is a long way off – it looks like it will open in 2023 – but it will eventually have a downstairs Chinese restaurant run by one of Merivale’s stars, executive chef Jowett Yu. a rooftop bar and potentially a basement, though Yu says it’s all up in the air. “We’re still in discussion and asking the architect to work on the plans, so we’re in that process now,” Yu said. Large format. “Nothing is really concrete, but we know that there will be a Chinese restaurant. It’s a big project. »

Yu has worked in some of Sydney’s most influential and award-winning restaurants including Tetsuya’s and Marque. Marque closed in 2016, but some of today’s most exciting chefs have passed through Mark Best’s kitchen, including Pasi Petanen (Cafe Paci) and Dan Hong, who runs Merivale’s no-rules Asian restaurant Ms. G’s and Cantonese restaurant Mr Wong. Yu says working in these kitchens taught her not to object to borrowing conventions and flavors from different cultures.

“I was born in Taiwan, grew up in Canada, then came to Australia in 2005 on a working holiday visa after finishing school. I was about 22 or 23 years old. I started working at Tetsuya, then I went to Marque, then to Lotus and Merivale to Ms G’s and Mr Wong [where he was executive chef]where of course was Dan Hong…

“There were a lot of motivated young chefs in those places. Tetsuya’s was a French restaurant but with a Japanese influence and flavor, and I thought that was a unique way to approach what a French restaurant is. If I had an idea at Marque, Mark Best would say, ‘Why don’t you do it?’ »

Yu left Merivale to move to Hong Kong, and for seven years ran the much-requested restaurant Ho Lee Fook. He was recently drawn to Australia after receiving a call from Merivale’s catering manager, Frank Roberts, who told him about the Melbourne project.

When asked if he’s nervous about taking on Merivale’s first business in Melbourne, Yu seems pretty relaxed. “Yeah, I’m excited. It’s a bit unfamiliar, but sometimes you have to jump in and see what hits,” he says.

Merivale is a powerhouse of Sydney’s dining scene, operating over 80 venues including acclaimed restaurants Totti’s, Mimi’s and Fred’s, as well as a number of bars and neighborhoods such as Coogee Pavilion and Ivy. Last year CEO Justin Hemmes said in a statement that he was excited to enter the Melbourne market.

“Melbourne is a very special city, with a unique energy and an inimitable soul. Its local hospitality industry is one of the best in the world, brimming with creative culinary talent and supported by a community of passionate diners. We are honored to open our first location in Melbourne and look forward to working alongside so many big names in the local industry.

Hemmes hopes it will be more successful than Merivale’s aborted home delivery service in Melbourne. Scheduled to launch during the city’s second lockdown, it was put on hold following backlash from the struggling local hospitality industry.

“Choosing Merivale this time for its first foray into Australia’s hospitality capital is tone-deaf at best and opportunistic at worst,” said Black Pearl chief executive Matt Linklater. Large format at the time. “Now more than ever, it’s time to support the locals, otherwise…the whole rich tapestry of Melbourne hospitality will be well and truly lost.”

In May last year, Merivale also bought the iconic Great Ocean Road pub, the Lorne Hotel. Hemmes has also bought a number of other sites outside of Sydney, including a couple in the coastal town of Narooma, New South Wales.