After purchasing The Point at Albert Park in 2014, restaurant group ChengCheng will permanently close the fine-dining restaurant on Sunday. In its place, Hidden Jade, the contemporary Sichuan venue that runs downstairs, will operate a function room.
“The company decided to move in a new direction, where we have the old business pattern, which is one restaurant with multiple function spaces,” says Locky Wang, Hidden Jade restaurant manager and ChengCheng executive secretary. “The owner’s idea is to utilise the legacy left from The Point to combine with the Chinese culture. That’s why, after all those years of trying new staff and services, this might be the time to move onto the next direction.”
A coterie of exceptional Melbourne chefs have manned The Point’s kitchen during its 21-year tenure, including Ian Curley, Justin Wise and Scott Pickett. Former Vue de Monde group executive chef Andy Harmer finished his stint in December last year, while the recently appointed Italian chef Francesco Castellana, will now move on following the announcement, as will restaurant manager Owen Gibbons.
While some staff, mainly from the functions team, will be integrated into Hidden Jade, others have been given redundancies.
To compensate for the closure of The Point, ChengCheng intends to integrate some Euro-style dishes into its Chinese menu, and continue offering a Western menu for functions.
“There are definitely going to be some changes to Hidden Jade’s a la carte menu since we have some of the function team from The Point,” says Wang. “We’ll try to get some of the Western fusion-style foods into Hidden Jade’s menu, so it’s the best combination of Western and Eastern.”
While future plans for Hidden Jade remain unclear, Wang believes that some aspects of The Point will ultimately make their way into the newly amalgamated venue. “Hidden Jade intends to have some of the legacy of The Point,” he says. “Everyone feels sorry about this thing happening, because it’s a 21-year asset, and it’s left so many things to the community.”
The final service at The Point Albert Park is this Sunday May 13.
The Point Albert Park, 1/10 Aquatic Dr, Albert Park.