South Yarra’s refined Toorak Road pop-up Omnia Bistro & Bar has announced an opening date for its permanent home in the Capitol Grand development on Chapel Street.
The pop-up opened in June and served as a test kitchen for Scottish-born head chef Stephen Nairn (Matilda, Vue de Monde, New York’s Eleven Madison Park), who will take what he’s learned to the permanent restaurant.
“The big thing I learned was that a lot of guests were getting satisfaction from coming in and eating familiar flavour profiles with well-sourced products,” says the chef, who has experience serving degustation-style tasting menus at Michelin-starred restaurants, but at Omnia is finding satisfaction in elegant simplicity.
What that translates to at the permanent spot is clever updates to classic dishes. For example, Nairn has taken a lobster and leek terrine and subbed in mussels. It’s served hot with a delicate stock. A simple pine mushroom tartlet served at the pop-up has been updated for spring with custard, smoked quail egg and herbs. His new purpose-built kitchen also means Nairn can serve bigger, more labour-intensive dishes to share.
“The pop-up was fantastic but … we weren’t going to build a whole new kitchen for it – we did our best with the tools we had,” says Nairn. “[Now] there’s the opportunity to do communal courses. There was no way we could de-bone any poultry.”
Brisket and lamb ribs, as well as breakfast items, will come from the downstairs smoker, and there’s a woodfired Josper grill in the kitchen. Some dishes will even be served tableside on bespoke trolleys.
The space has been designed by Architects EAT and Curious by Design. It has floor-to-ceiling windows, leather banquettes, kitchen-bar dining and bronze sculptures from Melbourne artist David Bromley.
Omnia Bistro & Bar will open on November 29 at Capitol Grand, 625 Chapel Street, South Yarra.