Six months ago, Davis unveiled a new concept for the diner, trading its European marketplace-inspired menu for a more contemporary Berlin focus, with tasty takes on classic fare such as duck currywurst; pork schnitzel with kohlrabi; flammkuchen, a woodfired flatbread of German-Alsatian origins; and käsespätzle, pasta-like wheat dumplings covered in gooey Gruyere.
Davis’s vision for Messer was to tell the story of Germanic food through dishes that are familiar, but with a more grown-up flair.
“I really thought that there was more than one story to tell about Europe, and German food at this level was something Melbourne hadn’t really seen much of,” he tells Broadsheet. “We’re really happy with what we produced, and so were our customers. But we just couldn’t make it work [financially].”
Now Davis centres his attention back on Copper Pot, which opened in mid-2015 and serves broader European cuisine, such as steak tartare with horseradish mayonnaise and potato crisps, calamari and squid-ink croquettes, and ricotta gnudi dumplings (which are similar to gnocchi).
“Some of the dishes that became classics at Messer originated at Copper Pot,” Davis says, adding that he hopes fans of Messer will find something to love about its sister venue.
While we farewell Messer for now, Davis isn’t ruling out a return in the future. “We’ve still got the lease and we have a couple of options for the site, so we’ll see what happens,” he says. “Watch this space.”