What is currently known as Green Park runs along the Capital City Bike Trail on the border of Carlton North and Brunswick East. Co-owner and chef Jesse Gerner (Bomba, Anada) took on ownership (along with his business partners) of the space three years ago when St Ali North closed – Gerner had been involved in that business too. In its place he created an all-day eatery and coffee roaster with a focus on minimising waste. For a gold coin donation, locals can stop in to pick up bags of compost made from the restaurant’s kitchen scraps.
After three years Gerner feels it’s time for a change. Green Park will close this weekend with its final service on Sunday August 13. In September the venue will reopen as Park Street.
“It’s a very busy cafe and the place needs a good scrub up,” he says. “But more romantically is that being there now for a few years I think there is a chance for us to look at what is working really well there and … what our clientele are really after.”
Part of the rebranding involves a refurbishment, including an expansion of the kitchen from its current position behind the bar.
“I’ve been really wanting to open that kitchen up into the dining room for quite a while,” he says. “I like open kitchens – the chef can see and feel the floor, people can come up and interact with the chef.”
Although not confirmed, he envisages lining the new kitchen pass with big bowls of salad during lunch service, allowing diners to chat to the chefs as they make their selection.
The evening menu will centre on handmade pasta with five or six on offer each night.
“I really want to have a crack at some great simple pastas,” Gerner says. “It could just be tagliatelle with some eggplant. Or saffron angel hair, with a little bit of tomato, spanner crab and chilli oil. Duck lasagne.”
The refit is being handled by Gerner’s wife, Vanessa, who will brighten the space with white walls, lighting by Christopher Booth and framed prints by Aaron Kinnane.
Despite the changes, Green Park’s commitment to sustainable practices won’t be forgotten –composting isn’t going anywhere. And neither is the coffee program.
Park Street’s owners include Gerner and his Bomba and Samuel Pepys partners Kelly O’Loghlen and Shane Barrett, together with chefs Andrew Fisk and Russell Hall. Hall is currently head chef at Anada and will run the Park Street kitchen.
For Melbourne’s latest, subscribe to the Broadsheet newsletter.