Ryne Restaurant Evolving With Relaxed Finery
Ryne Restaurant in Fitzroy North is evolving, and is an exciting place to be with a "relaxed finery". Donovan Cooke is at the top of his game, delivering on his iconic dishes but also introducing new offerings. We were invited to experience the dinner menu and enjoyed the casual atmosphere and fine food.
Ryne offers options to the Melbourne diner, with Donovan Cooke bringing his passion and vast experience from heading up kitchens locally and globally - which reads like a chart topping list of culinary giants (Est Est Est, Luxe, Ondine, The Waterside Inn, The Savoy Hotel, Harvey's, Restaurant Marco Pierre White in London, The Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club, and at The Atlantic). What Donovan Cooke doesn't know about all things food and wine, fine technique and kitchen process, isn't worth repeating.
Come here for a full dinner experience (as well as lunch on Sundays) or for a bespoke function in their private room out the back (with its own bar). Or even graze from their bar menu with a few drinks. We noted the bar menu prices are excellent and the a la carte menu is even available at the bar. Donovan has a huge reputation in fine dining but he's not looking for a stuffy experience at Ryne - more approacheable and casual access to fine food and wine.
For locals this can be the kind of place you can visit more than once a week. It might be Wed night at the bar with workmates and Sunday lunch with friends. From July 6 to Aug 4 they are launching Happy Hour (Wed-Sat 6-8pm and Sun 3-7pm) where you can grab $6 Peroni Reds, $6 Coopers Pale Ale, $8 Gin & Tonic, $6 Mulled Wine, $8 House Wine and $10 Espresso Martinis.
Ryne also runs a Private Cellar Night from June 1 to Aug 31 where you can bring your own bottles and Donovan and the team will take care of the rest. Donovan is not after stuffy formality but for people to relax and enjoy fine food and wine. No tablecloths, just foodie passion. So you can approach Ryne in many ways at many levels.
Donovan is a "chefs chef". No shortcuts here. Each dish has its own exquisite sauce. Racks of lamb and other meats are prepped perfectly with "frenching" the bones. Processes that take time are par for the course. Donovan also has an excllent team around him with some of his kitchen staff having been on the journey with him for years.
We began our dinner with an amuse bouche and a glass of champagne.
Donovan invited me into the kitchen to observe the final stages and plating up of the pigs trotters. A magical moment in the kitchen.
Donovan also tells me he prepared a bespoke dining experience involving a large amount of quality ribs for a nearby business. Functions involving wine clubs and pigeon and partridge and fois gras are not uncommon.
Donovan Cooke has an impressive backstory and celebrated past but right now it's about new chapters. We see an evolving with Ryne and a determination for top class offerings with a relaxed feel and approachability. I don't know too many other places that cater for someone getting on the phone with a request (eg pigs trotters or truffle) and the chef accomodating in bespoke fashion like Donovan Cooke.
Please see a previous article on Ryne Restaurant.