The last time we checked in with Madja and Nedim Rahmanovic in May 2015 they had just bought a small warehouse space in a Brunswick side street. The former owners of Twenty & Six were planning to have their new venue open within six months. Only a week ago, it was still a construction site.
“We wanted the space to be gritty, which it turns out was a terrible idea,” says Madja, laughing. “There were no facilities or services, just four walls. The power, plumbing and gas upgrades we’ve had to do are unbelievable.”
Host finally opens on April 20 as a relaxed restaurant for dinner, drinks and weekend lunches.
It’s a narrow dining space with a line of booths on one side, and a long wooden bar on the other. The couple’s initial idea for an espresso bar at the front of the venue was scrapped, mainly due to space restrictions. Instead there will be a small courtyard space for casual drinks.
“Generally speaking, you don’t come to a restaurant to have a drink with mates,” says Nedim. “We want to break down that barrier and facilitate that.”
“We don’t want to be a restaurant where you feel obliged to spend a certain amount, or act a certain way,” adds Madja. “It’s called Host. We want people to feel comfortable to come and go, as they would in their own home.”
Along with space for spontaneous dining, Host will take reservations. A flexible menu by Florian Ribul (with experience at The Clove Club in London and most recently at the now-closed Enquire Within) can be easily shared or modified to become a half serve for solo diners. The current menu includes a short rib, and a clam-and-smoked-pork dish – although the offering will change regularly.
“It’s been a long 12 to 16 months, but we’ve ended up with a beautiful space,” says Madja.
Host opens on April 20 at 4 Saxon Street, Brunswick. It will be open for dinner from Wednesday to Sunday, as well as for lunch from Friday to Sunday.