Julieanne Blum was the head chef at Cam Miller’s Abbotsford Convent wine bar and cafe Cam’s Kiosk for six years. After passing the torch to Cody Hoy, she’s getting ready to open Julie, a new 80-seat restaurant around the corner from the wine bar in the former Lentil as Anything space.
“Julie will be a little bit more of your dining and restaurant experience, whereas Cam’s will just stay that really fun homely wine bar feel,” Blum tells Broadsheet.
After working with limited equipment for years – “we can only mostly create steam there [at Cam’s Kiosk]” – yet still serving some of Melbourne’s best elegant unfussy food like pasta with chilli pork sausage and fennel, and Sicilian baked eggs, Blum will now have a full kitchen to play with at Julie, which is also owned by Miller. This includes access to a deep fryer and a combi-oven. “I’m gonna be able to char food, cook fish to-order and steaks, all that kind of stuff that I haven’t been able to do before.”
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The frequently changing menu will include dishes like roast chicken, pasta with octopus ragu and bronze fennel and grilled ox heart with borlotti beans, artichokes and salsa verde. “Without it being comfort food, I want to make food that’s comfortable and approachable to people,” says Blum.
The convent’s head gardener has started building the Julie team an edible garden, so the menu will also feature salad leaves, herbs, specialty garnishes, tomatoes in summer and other leafy greens fresh from the convent.
The drinks list will focus on wines curated by Claudelle Savannah and Anna Clifford (also of Cam’s Kiosk) will be running the floor and looking after up to 50 indoor diners and 30 guests dining at the outdoor tables. “We want you to come in and relax, like you would relax at a friend’s house,” says Blum.
You can enjoy all this in the heritage room, which features tall ceilings, butter-yellow tiles, mint-green painted walls and speckled peachy-orange floors.
As for the naming the restaurant after the chef, that was Miller’s idea. “I originally vetoed it, and then we started throwing out other names and we just couldn’t find one that reflected what it is that we’re selling,” Blum says. “It’s quite difficult to find a name for a hospitality venue it turns out.”
Broadsheet Access will be hosting an Editor's Preview on Thursday 7th September where members will be the first to experience the new venue.
1 St Heliers Street, Abbotsford
Julie is due to open this September
Fri & Sat midday-10pm
Sun set menu lunch midday-5pm