Say goodbye to your adopted loungeroom. Merricote, Melbourne’s most down-to-earth fine diner, is closing for good. The Northcote restaurant will serve its last guests on June 17.
“It feels like the right time,” says Bronwyn Kabboord, who runs the business with her husband, Rob. “We celebrated six years in March and when we opened we always said it would be a stepping stone.”
And therein lies the real question – a stepping-stone to what?
The Kabboords don’t even know. They just want to do something more ambitious. For now, their only plans are to take a long break before thinking about their next move. They’ll be missed, even short-term. In our eyes, Merricote is one of the best restaurants in Melbourne. Since opening in 2011, it’s amassed a loyal clientele with its genuine service and sharp European menu influenced by Rob’s Dutch heritage. The post-meal cheese trolley hasn’t hurt, either.
Bronwyn guesses the follow-up restaurant will be broadly similar, but “maybe double the size” with a stronger focus on beer. (Merricote has always been heavily involved with Good Beer Week). “We’re not sure what’s going to happen, what doors might open,” she says.
Head chef Matt Binney has been with Merricote for the past three years, and they hope to retain him. Rob will continue cooking at Quay, Sydney’s best restaurant, and guiding Binney from a distance.