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Chef Joe Grbac Opens Saxe

Chef Joe Grbac’s first solo-business venture, Saxe at 211 Queen Street, has opened with much anticipation. Grbac, who headed up The Press Club and was co-owner and executive chef of Collingwood’s Saint Crispin has been keen to get the doors open of his 70-seater and bring his menu of contemporary Australian dishes to the law and corporate precincts of the CBD. It's another exciting launch for 2017 by a heralded chef.

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There are no half measures. Saxe (short for Queen Street's namesake Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen) offers two-levels of city dining.

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The dining room upstairs brings a structured menu - with dishes such asasparagus and parmesan custard with white miso and kangaroo tartare with rosella and Mastic.

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Downstairs, on street-level, the bar and dining area is more casual, while retaining the quality Grbac is renowned for. Think scrambled duck egg, spanner crab, roasted cauliflower and the bar snack known as Snack, Crackle, Pop (fried and popped pork crackle) that Grbac made popular at Saint Crispin.

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At the core of both menus is seasonality, provenance and value. Grbac is not bound by rules except to focus on the best produce he can get his hands on. At home, he is a passionate gardener, keeps his own chickens and he is intent on bringing the same freshness and quality that he does for his family, to the menu at Saxe.

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This element of care extends to the dining rooms. Grbac has employed the skills of designer Samantha Eades who has created an environment of comfort, warmth and style using light timbers, American oak and mirrors, accented with regal blue, a nod to the royal namesake.

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Floor manager Joe Commerford comes to Saxe from Vue du Monde and the wine program designed by Marc Esteve Matteau, whom Grbac worked with at Press Club will feature a list of boutique winemakers from Europe and Australia. Check out The World Loves Melbourne for more info following our planned visit to Saxe.

Images Jana Langhorst.