A sniff after its first birthday, Jason M Jones and Philippa Sibley of Prix Fixe have announced it will close. In its place will be Entrecote City, a second arm of Jones and Adam North’s South Yarra steakhouse, Entrecote.
Speaking to Broadsheet yesterday, Jones has said he and Sibley have parted amicably and that Prix Fixe was only ever intended to run for 12 months.
“It’s the simple fact that Philippa and I have parted ways and I didn’t want to continue it without her,” he says.
“She is off for a well-deserved break and some creative R and R, and I’m sure she’ll be back with something else soon.”
Prix Fixe made waves in Melbourne last year with its ticketing system that required all customers to pre-book and pre-pay, a concept made popular in the US.
“[The system] completely worked for us,” Jones says. “For a restaurant that makes most of its money on a Friday and Saturday night, you can totally eliminate no shows.”
Prix Fixe also went against the grain by changing its theme every month. In 2014 diners were treated to “A Midsummer Night’s Dream”, “La Dolce Vita” and “An Ode to Autumn”. “An Ode to Autumn was definitely one of my favourites,” says Jones.
“We had people stand up and recite John Keats poems, and if they did it they got a free glass of champagne.”
But the ever-changing “inspirations” ended up feeling like, “Opening 12 restaurants in one year,” says Jones.
On first visiting Prix Fixe in February last year, Broadsheet reported that despite the restaurant’s unorthodox concept and theatrical elements, the exquisite food was genuinely the star.
Arguably, the food will be even closer to the spotlight at Entrecote City, slated to open in May.
“It will be pretty similar to what we’re doing at Entrecote [in South Yarra],” says Jones of the no-frills Parisian steakhouse that serves Hopkins River Beef and not much else.
“Steak frites from 12pm to 12am, seven days, with a window serving coffee and beautiful French pastries from 7am.”
Despite the success of the Prix Fixe ticketing system, Jones says it’s not likely to be applied to the Entrecote model. “Entrecote is a walk-in, it’s very approachable.”
When pressed about whether Melbourne is ready for another Entrecote, particularly seeing as South Yarra opened just two months ago, Jones is confident. “The model works – people know what they’re paying and they know what they’re getting.
“Paris has seven Entrecotes, I think Melbourne can handle five. It’s just about where you put them.”
Prix Fixe is taking bookings until its final dinner sitting on March 28. The theme will be “Alice in her Wonderland”.