In just under seven months, Windsor’s BKK has closed its doors.
“The product was really good, we just got the model a little bit wrong. We tried to put a high-volume restaurant in a destination spot. There’s a lot of restaurants in the area servicing that market … BKK was probably the last to the party in that regard,” says Commune Group director Simon Blacher.
“Saigon Sally was there at the beginning of the area’s transformation five and a half years ago. We closed Saigon Sally because we thought there probably wasn’t another really good year in it. Once we closed it we found it hard to get people down the street,” says Blacher.
In the place of BKK, Blacher and his team are opening casual fine diner Alter. Although it isn’t Commune’s first move away from Asia – the group also owns the Euro-centric bar Neptune Food and Wine in Windsor – it’s the first foray into modern Australian casual fine dining.
“I think a restaurant like Ramblr is a good example of somewhere that it doesn’t look like there’s a lot going on but there’s a hell of a lot of technique and skill going on,” says Blacher of the direction he hopes to take Alter in.
“Everything on the plate should be there for a purpose. No wasted moves or touches in the kitchen,” he continues. Blacher cites a deboned quail, skewered and cooked over coals, as an example. The bird is then served with a plum reduction and a spiced salt. Just three elements on the plate. Larger dishes are likely to include a whole fish baked in charcoal salt, that’s opened at the table.
Following a fresh fit-out, the space features a floor-to-ceiling monochrome illustration, a central bar and an open wine cellar.
The name Alter is something of a mission statement for Blacher who says, “With cooking you never stand still, you’re always tweaking and adjusting. You’re always making alterations and refining, I think in hospitality and restaurants it’s an ethos you need to live by. If you stop trying, you’re dead in the water.”
Alter will open in late April at 2 Duke Street, Windsor.