SOCIETY Restaurant in Melbourne opens for Reservations
Finally, 22 July celebrates the opening of SOCIETY, restaurateur Chris Lucas' game-changing new restaurant with creative culinary partners Chef Martin Benn and Vicki Wild. Located at the prestigious landmark 80 Collins precinct in Melbourne, SOCIETY is three years in the making. The fated 2020 opening is finally realised and marks a new dawn in Melbourne. SOCIETY marks a shift in temperature for the city as we step into a future of reconnection and possibility.
“SOCIETY captures the energy of this great city, celebrating one of the country's most significant chefs and the many talented Melbournians that have come together and created SOCIETY," explains Chris Lucas. "I am proud of the design collaboration realised by Melbourne designers Russell & George, whose unique approach married so beautifully with our thoughts of what a modern restaurant should be. It is with great pride that we can finally look at opening our exciting new dining destination and add another dimension to Melbourne's already incredible restaurant scene, which has been such a big part of my life".
Melbourne based architects Russell & George worked with the trio to create a sense of permanence and a deep connection to the city. They incorporated various aesthetics from art deco, mid-century, art nouveau and brutalism to create a new contemporary design language of luxury and timelessness. The design speaks to the very core of Melbourne itself. With two restaurants: SOCIETY Dining Room and Lillian Terrace, as well as SOCIETY Lounge and various private dining spaces, the design blurs the transition between each location, giving a slight hint of what you are about to experience. The intention is to create an enticing energy of wanting more with each area, offering a glimpse of the next space. From the chandeliers to the chairs, every element was designed by Russell & George. Art too takes a position with works by Victorian artist David Noonan.
Acclaimed Chef Martin Benn has created different menu experiences throughout SOCIETY, expressing the entirety of his award-winning culinary journey and evolution of style. SOCIETY Dining Room re-imagines a la carte dining with a menu presented in six sections allowing guests to curate their own experience. Dishes can equally be shared or enjoyed individually. The launch menu will feature savoury Bonito, ume yuzu & roast chicken jellies, also Albacore with shiso & rhubarb, or a share dish of Blackmore Wagu Beef Rib Cap served with wasabi butter, sweet onion & Japanese pickle (Martin's interpretation of Prime Rib) and sweet dishes such as Metropolis and Maple.
Martin's love of Japan is seen in the beauty of his dishes. Influenced by ikebana*, the presentation of his cuisine is as precise as his cooking, with each ingredient sourced by him heroed. Alternatively, Lillian Terrace harks back to Martin's British roots and his earlier European cooking style, with favourites such as Soy Glazed Roast Duck Leg with grilled cucumber, caviar lentils & apple or Spice Roasted Crown of Chicken with tomato, chilli, charred lime (cooked over coals). Desserts include the whimsical take of the Napoleon Mille Feuille.
The wine list is curated by Loic Avril (ex Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston Blumenthal). His cellars are on display for guests who wish to browse and enjoy before selecting. In addition, two 'by the glass' lists will be available, one curated with a selection of exciting varietals and the other a Coravin list of over 40 exquisite vintages. The Coravin list allows diners the freedom to enjoy matches of some of the world's finest wines at accessible prices. The list will also feature Dom Perignon Champagne by the glass. (at a highly competitive $55 per glass).
SOCIETY Lounge is the beating heart of the restaurant. The entire bar has been created from a single section of marble and takes pride of place. The emphasis is on the martini with a list of different styles, including The Caviar Martini, vodka infused with the umami-rich essence of caviar; it is served with a single bite created by chef Martin Benn - a caviar pretzel with smoked cream cheese. The list is designed by World Class Bartender of the Year, Orlando Marzo and introduces his selection of vintage spirits. Jarryd Bryant (ex Dinner by Heston,Termini London and Kisume) will be mixing the drinks.
The front of house team at SOCIETY is led by Area General Manager of both SOCIETY and Yakimono Anna Touhy (ex Atlantic and Stokhouse) with Danilo Mancini as GM of SOCIETY. (ex Dinner by Heston Blumenthal). Head chefs at Society Dining Room are Rhys Connell (ex Sepia) and Luke Headon (ex The Fat Duck). Lillian Terrace is helmed by Head Chef Thomas Wooks (ex Woodland House). Head Pastry Chef for the venue is Jo Ward (ex Om Nom)
12 July - Reservations for SOCIETY Dining Room open
22 July - SOCIETY Dining Room and SOCIETY Lounge will open from 5.30 pm till late, 7 nights a week. Reservations are encouraged at SOCIETY Dining Room however, SOCIETY Lounge does not take reservations.
5 August - Lillian Terrace opens for dinner, 7 nights a week
13 August - SOCIETY Dining Room opens for lunch Friday/Saturday/Sunday only. Dinner remains 7 days a week. Lillian Terrace also opens for lunch 7 days a week (for lunch and dinner).
16 August - Reservations for private spaces open.
Food images: Adrian Lander
Portraits: Kristoffer Paulsen
Interior: Tom Blachford