The rollout of Paul Wilson’s multipurpose Prahran Market eatery, Wilson & Market, felt like a marathon. It began with the opening of a tiny takeaway section, Mr Wilson’s Tuckshop, in March last year, and was followed by a daytime cafe and bar. Then in June, a brasserie – and the venue’s showpiece – finally opened.
It was a big deal for this part of the south, and for Prahran Market in particular: a brand-name chef taking up residence at one of the city’s most iconic food locations, with a slick and sophisticated new diner.
Now, roughly a year later, Wilson is leaving his namesake restaurant. It’s unclear why, but a spokesperson confirmed that for legal reasons Wilson could not comment on the departure.
The restaurant and daytime cafe will continue to trade as normal. A staff member who answered the phone at the eatery on Tuesday said: “It’s business as usual”.
British-born Wilson moved to Melbourne from the UK in the late ’90s and carved out an acclaimed career at Radii and the Botanical in Melbourne, and Icebergs in Sydney. He originally moved to Australia to oversee the Georges brasserie on Collins Street.
His Prahran Market project revolved around seasonal and locally sourced ingredients, from ethically reared chicken, to fruit and vegetables from a biodynamic farm on the Mornington Peninsula. A good portion of the menu Wilson developed was vegan or vegetarian.
“Why can’t vegetables be cooked like meat?” he asked in May last year. “Cauliflower is the new steak.”