After the sudden closure of her restaurant Hero at ACMI last month, Karen Martini has already found a new gig. The celebrity chef and cookbook writer is joining the Johnny’s Green Room team as culinary director as it prepares to reopen in December.

The rooftop bar above the King & Godfree cafe, deli and grocer closed this July for renovations. Dion Hall designed the revamped space adding, among other things, a semi-retractable roof to help make the open-air venue a year-round destination.

Martini tells Broadsheet she’s developed a “relaxed menu of convivial eating and drinking”, offering “a refreshed, exciting take on Mediterranean flavours – and, of course, pizza and cicchetti [small plates]”.

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Two items the chef is particularly excited about are the calamari fritte spiedini (fried calamari served on skewers) with Italian tartare sauce, and a Neapolitan soft-serve made in collaboration with Pidapipo.

For the drinks list, the team has enlisted Matt Bax of Bar Americano fame. He says his menu will be “a refinement of the most-loved drinks from Johnny’s Green Room 1.0” but with plenty of new, and “very Italian” twists.

Cocktails are designed to reflect the attitude of the venue – “the kind of place where you want to stay all day,” Bax says. They include a Limoncello Margarita with house-made mescal-based limoncello, and a Sgroppino (lemon sorbet, vodka and prosecco) – two “practical and delicious [drinks] for the thumping hot afternoons that are just around the corner”.

Johnny’s Green Room reopens in mid-December.