Scott Pickett’s on a roll. After launching his flagship fine-diner, ESP, and retooling Estelle last year, he recently announced his rotisserie chicken and deli project at the Queen Vic Market. It was only a matter of time before the Saint Crispin chef started sniffing around southside.
Now he’s the new owner of a yet-to-be-named 100-seat restaurant and bar on the ground floor of a boutique hotel development, just next door to the long-running Botanical. Pickett was lured to Domain Road by local developer The Tallow Group, which will operate the 12-room boutique hotel upstairs.
Drawing inspiration from his time at high-end steakhouse The Point and popular grill restaurants such as Firedoor in Sydney and Singapore’s Burnt Ends, Pickett will be concentrating on wood and meat.
“In effect, it’s going to be fire and flames,” says Pickett. “It’ll be a place where you can go and have a great cut of beef, or roast duck for two, or slow-cooked lamb, or smoked fish, once a week. It’s not a special-occasion restaurant.”
The unnamed restaurant will open for lunch and dinner seven days a week, serving breakfast Friday, Saturday and Sunday. There are also plans for a bar and private function room downstairs, and extensive dry-ageing and cellaring displays throughout the venue.
Projects of Imagination are handling interior design, and will work with Carr Design’s plan for the new building. And Pickett’s sparing no expense on the fit-out: “It’ll look $3 million, that’s for sure.”
The new restaurant will also cater for guests, making welcome hampers and delivering room service and continental breakfasts. “They want us to really integrate with the hotel itself,” says Pickett. “We’ve made a long term deal with the Tallow Group to stay there long-term.”
The move marks a new direction for the chef, who admits he’s moving away from fiddly dishes. “As you get older, you probably start doing the simple things well. I’ve seen lots of chefs go through these phases and it’s never one I thought I’d get to myself,” he says. “My style isn’t as contrived as it was five years ago. It’s a lot more relaxed.”
With the completion of this project in September 2017, Pickett swears his expansion plans are through. “That’s it after that. I hope,” he says.
Scott Pickett’s new restaurant will open in late 2017 at 157-159 Domain Road, South Yarra.