The George on Collins
After 12 years in the iconic George building, Simon Jones and Greg Kahan knew The Long Room was due for a rebrand. The George on Collins was the result – a refined all-day venue that emphasises the heritage space without sacrificing its implicit modernity.
Interior design firm Hecker Guthrie (Ugly Duckling,East, Foxes Den) was brought on for the refurbishment and fit-out. Co-founder Hamish Guthrie worked on one version of the space back in the ’90s, when the building was a brasserie, so he understood the balancing act required while working on the Georges building.
The new George occupies the basement, which meant it needed a different colour and lighting approach than aboveground projects. The walls and ceilings were painted a crisp, bright white, punctuated by textured curtains that draw attention towards the softly lit booths. The main dining area is divided by an imposing granite bar, where diners can perch with a drink or dinner.
There’s also privacy if you want it. The George’s front rooms, booths, lounge area, and drinking and dining sections are all cleverly zoned in naturalistic ways.
In 2019, chef Khanh Ong was brought on to reimagine the menu. Alongside head chef Quim Hernandez, he’s designed a menu heavily inspired by the flavours of southern Vietnam. There’s spicy kingfish ceviche, juicy and translucent dumplings and fiery grilled spatchcock. The banh tieu is a subtly sweet hollow doughnut topped with sesame, best ordered alongside the shaking beef. Grilled prawns brushed with kaffir lime, lemongrass, coriander and garlic butter are a highlight.
The cocktail list has also been given a stir. That’s particularly reflected in the Hot in Ha Noi, which features a gin infused with lemongrass and chilli. One Night in Saigon is a more refreshing counterpart: it’s loaded with coconut and guava.