The name Cafe Brass is appropriate for a Richmond building that was, for 150 years, a family-owned brass factory. That it’s also a brasserie is a happy accident, though.
“That brass sounded like brasserie was a coincidence,” says owner Sam Frantezkos.
Most locals know 527 Church Street as the Church Street Enoteca, which closed earlier this year. The new tenants are old hands: Frantezkos has 14 venues under his belt, starting with nightclubs in the ’80s, a stint running a casino overseas, and the popular Greville Street restaurant Fog from 2006 to 2014.
Also on board are brothers Christopher and Jeremy Sutphin, who have also logged time at Le Bon Ton and Long Horn Saloon after meeting Frantezkos at the aforementioned American casino.
While the crew might have assembled in the States, Brass is a Euro affair: croque monsieurs and Belgian waffles at breakfast; tagliatelle with Tuscan kale and steak frites for lunch; and mussels in white wine and pan-roasted blue eye with raisin vinaigrette at night.
Axil Coffee streams from the bright-orange La Marzocco all day. “In essence, I’m European, and I trained in European cuisine. My chefs are American, but their skill set is that they were classically trained,” says Frantezkos. “There’s a very 1930s Art Deco European feel.”
With the help of Richard Waples at Ilario Cortese architects, Frantezkos designed the new fit-out himself, installing hardwood floors, dark American oak for the bar and saddle-coloured leather banquettes, as well as Thonet’s new Human chairs and striking Ilanel light fixtures.
“Having done about 14 places in my long career I think I know a little bit about design,” he says. “I just wanted it to be like a really simple, clean European cafe.”
527 Church Street, Richmond
(03) 9421 6115
Mon to Fri 8am–12am
Sun 8am–11 pm