True to both its new name and its former life as an electrical transformer warehouse, the Rose Street site behind Vegie Bar has undergone a complete transformation.
Owners Laki Papadopoulos and Mark Price (Panama Dining, Vegie Bar, Rice Queen) have a better understanding than most of the Fitzroy dining scene, and are confident their latest venture will slot in nicely. As at the Vegie Bar, the menu is all vegetarian, but head chef Luke Florence has a lot of support from his bosses. “We feel the dishes are so strong and the produce so beautiful that no one will actually miss the meat,” says Papadopoulos.
The original ivy-filled courtyard inspired the refurbishment, which is designed by Breathe Architecture. Concrete planter boxes surround intimate dining spaces, with recycled timber, brass fixtures and an abundance of plants.
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Although Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and Asian-inspired like Vegie Bar, that's where the comparisons stop. Chef Luke Florence's menu at Transformer will be more sophisticated, refined and experimental its next-door sibling. Instead of burgers and wraps, you'll find dishes such as ricotta and rye gnochhi with pumpkin mousse and blueberry compote; or king oyster mushroom with confit garlic and pine-nut puree and smoked shallot. This is Vegie Bar 2.0.
The 100-seater restaurant is fully licenced and has a bar serving some unusual cocktails (your eye goes straight to the Aperol Dill Spritz) as well as cold-pressed juices, organic soft drinks, tea and coffee from local friends Storm in a Teacup and Industry Beans respectively.
99 Rose Street, Fitzroy
(03) 9419 2022
Open for dinner only this week. Full opening hours from Tues March 31.
Tues to Sun 8.30am–11pm