Peter Roddy’s French bistro Noir in Richmond closed back in March after 13 years in business. Now Roddy, along with business and life partner Ebony Vagg, has reopened the restaurant as casual pasta bar, Pastarami.

Roddy and head chef Jonathan Phillips – who started at Noir as an apprentice and worked his way up to head chef and now Pastarami co-owner – ripped Noir apart and did most of the renovations themselves.

“Noir was very formal,” says Roddy, “a bit stuffy for a long time, and we wanted to lose the darkness and the formality, take the prices down and have a bit of fun in the space.”

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Where Noir with its black seating, black walls, black napkins and black aprons was quite literally noir, Pastarami is bright and light with butter-yellow walls, cream and biscuit chequered vinyl tiles, gleaming backlit bottles of wine, a new marble kitchen pass and a Tasmanian oak bar. There are even yellow aprons, and keeping them clean is “definitely the hardest part” of Phillips’s job, he jokes.

Roddy (who previously worked at Gordon Ramsey’s Amaryllis in Glasgow and Michel Roux Jr’s Le Gavroche in London) also owns Pier Street and recently opened Arlo Wine Bar, both in Portarlington.

“Noir was a passion project, and I threw 10 years at it morning and night, and then the other businesses needed my attention,” Roddy says. “Noir became less and less of a love thing, and I was due for a change.”

The plan is to shake off the more upmarket feel of the original restaurant. “Essentially, it’s two chefs owning a wine bar, having as much of a laugh as we can,” Roddy says.

Six different pastas are made in-house daily. Some of the dishes have come from Noir, like the garlic prawns with chilli, tomato and prawn bisque served on spaghetti; and the confit duck with smoked cinnamon and mushroom on casarecce. But new pastas include a beetroot and ricotta raviolo that resembles a purple flower, and a pink peppercorn cacio e pepe mafaldine inspired by the celebrity favourite dish chef Missy Robbins made famous at her Brooklyn restaurant Lilia.

There are smashable local wines by the glass as well as cocktails including a Paloma, an Amaro Spritz and a Tim Tam Mocha Martini.

All pastas are $26 or less (although the team does recommend sharing three between two people). “We want to get wine in people’s hands as quickly as we possibly can. They can have a bowl of pasta and get out with change from $40,” says Roddy.

On top of pasta, there are smaller antipasto-style plates and an indulgent dish of hand-cut roast potatoes, coated in a gremolata with shaved Wagyu pastrami. And there’s freshly churned ice-cream and sorbet for dessert. The chefs also serve loaded focaccia sandwiches, including a pastrami number and a mortadella one, through the front window at lunchtime.

Pastarami
175 Swan Street, Richmond
03 94283585

Hours
Tues to Sun midday–late

pastarami.com.au