Faye is one of those tip-of-the-iceberg restaurants where beneath the fairly nondescript surface is a whole lot of hard graft and creativity.
The eatery has a 12-seat timber bar with an open kitchen at one end and room for 60 more diners throughout the rest of the space. Hanging wine shelves are set against rainforest-green walls, and that’s about it in terms of décor.
Apart from the plumbing and electrical work, Faye’s three owners fitted out the restaurant themselves. Chefs Marcus Dimabuyo and Daniel Naylor, both formerly of Canberra fine diner Aubergine, and front-of-house manager Rhen Dodd (also winemaker at Ephemera Wines, a Yarra Valley producer) even made their own coffee cups.
The food follows a similar DIY drive. Dimabuyo always has a sourdough starter on the go and bakes multiple loaves each day. The team makes its own cultured butter, ricotta and pasta. Expect handrolled rye garganelli (a cylindrical pasta) with smoky Corner Inlet baby octopus and tripe ragu; butterflied yellow-eye mullet with bitter grilled cos and stinging nettle; and a plate of sticky caramelised eggplant with black garlic and fermented mushrooms.
If you’ve never eaten chicken heart before, do it here, where it arrives on a skewer with fermented cherries. This is food worth stepping out of your comfort zone for.
Dodd looks after the vinyl selection, which favours funk and soul tunes, and a wine list which is largely Italian with a few French, Austrian, Victorian and South Australian drops.