One of the most anticipated Melbourne restaurant openings of the year, Honcho, is no longer going ahead.
The collaboration between chef Adam Liston and Adi Halim of the Halim Group was to be a 60-seat Japanese-Chinese-Korean grill restaurant at 18 Punch Lane. A four-month Honcho Noodle pop-up ran over winter in the lead-up to the permanent restaurant’s opening.
Liston confirms he’s left the project after a series of construction and permit delays and objections from nearby residents.
Originally slated to open in September of this year, the project was pushed back to early 2017 when Liston decided to pull out altogether.
“The fact we’d been delayed from September to November to January, it seemed logical it would continue to delay. I didn’t know how long for,” Liston tells Broadsheet.
Liston cites the building’s design, potential noise, waste management and deliveries as some of the main issues for local residents.
He says residents’ objection to the restaurant’s liquor license was the last straw for him.
“That put the nail in the coffin for me. If we we’re going to lose that fight we would have to spend a considerable amount of money going to fight it in court.”
Liston says he’s surprised by the challenges he and his partners met trying to build the city restaurant. Particularly, he says, on a site that already has two popular restaurants on either side: Rosa’s Kitchen and Longrain.
“I didn’t think residential complaints would have been too much of an issue,” he says. “If you choose to live in the city, you choose to live in a busy, vibrant culture.”
Although Liston is out of the project the Halim Group released a statement on September 23 confirming it will work on a new concept for the site, to be announced soon.
There’s been a mutual agreement between Liston and the group that neither will pursue the Honcho brand.
Liston says he’s not certain what his next move is, but hopes to do another restaurant.
This article was updated on October 3, 2016.