French, English? Doesn’t matter; in Jacques Reymond’s world the word ‘retire’ doesn’t exist. His latest project, due for a springtime opening, will be L’Hôtel Gitan (Gitan is gypsy in French). The new venture will take over the former Hotel Max site on Commercial Road, and will continue in a similar vein to his other gypsy, the French/Spanish-inspired Bistro Gitan – though this time with more of a pub vibe and a stronger focus on shared cuisine and ‘a la plancha’ (grill-style) cooking.

Like Bistro Gitan before it, the new venture will be a collaboration between Jacques, his wife Kathy, and three of their four children: Edouard, Antoine and Nathalie. As for Jacques’ involvement in the kitchen, he will be on hand to design the menu and act as a consultant. According to Edouard, “L’Hôtel Gitan will be the culmination of a lifelong dream for the family.”

Inside, the fit-out will have a “welcoming European feel”, and the family has engaged Andrew Parr and Leo Terrando from SJB Interiors to design it. Meanwhile, the proposed menu is being described as “affordable French family feasting”, though overall, like all the best pubs around, L’Hôtel Gitan’s raison d’etre will be about the relaxed, comforting atmosphere and old favourites (some with a modern twist) all packaged up with really good service – something the Reymonds wrote the book on.

“We’re looking forward to the opportunity to take our successful Bistro Gitan model and translate it into a pub setting with a classic pub dish or two added to the menu,” says Edouard. The food of one of Australia’s most iconic chefs dished up in a cosy neighbourhood pub? We’d have to say oui oui to that.

L’Hôtel Gitan is due to open in September.

L’Hôtel Gitan
32 Commercial Road, Prahran