The corner Gertrude Street plot once home to the Broadsheet Restaurant has been become a shiny new block of apartments. The development is almost complete, and the team behind Seddon’s Copper Pot has been working to transform one of the street-level mixed-use shells into their new restaurant, Messer.
At Copper Pot, co-owner and executive chef Ashley Davis cooks pan-European regional dishes with thoughtfully sourced local produce – traditional escargot becomes butter-drenched Tasmanian sea snails, and thinly shaved jamon is raised and cured in Daylesford (rather than Spain) by pig farmer and butcher Tammi Jonas.
For Messer (German for “knife”), Davis is taking cues from the European marketplace, seeking to capture the excitement that comes with shopping for fresh shellfish and shrimp at a seafood market in Croatia, or gathering mushrooms at La Boqueria in Barcelona, and letting those ingredients inform the day’s dinner.
“It’s that sense of how they live, how they eat and that feeling of being completely driven by the produce that informs how we want to cook here,” Davis says.
The resulting menu aims to be approachable and malleable to the day's catch, so to speak – hero vegetables and ethically sourced seafood and meats (there’s a rotisserie, smoking barbeque and plancha involved) at lunch, while the more-extensive dinner menu is where the chefs have a little fun.
The recent closing of South Melbourne’s Smalls Bar is this crew’s gain, with Wiremu Andrews shaping the wine list at Messer, before applying his touch to Copper Pot’s libations too. Copper Pot co-owner and head chef Sascha Rust will soon lead the kitchen at Messer (his replacement is yet to be chosen) and will be joined by Gemma Calleja as sous, who comes via Quay and Bentley in Sydney and Lune Croissanterie in Melbourne.
Messer is scheduled to open this month at 1/166 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy.