The striking art deco corner block that once was Brewristas cafe, and before that, Rococo Flowers, has emerged from the pandemic as an opulent eatery focusing on the finer things in life – namely, truffles and caviar.
Co-owners Kevin Ly, formerly of Brewristas, and Christian Lee have tapped the venue’s floral past to guide its future, installing dramatic floral installations and drop pendant lights with dried flowers encased in resin. Musk-pink stools are tucked beneath onyx stone tables, and there are abstract murals on the walls.
“Some people have responded to the pandemic with a scarcity mindset,” Ly tells Broadsheet. “We’ve gone in the opposite direction, towards abundance.”
It’s not just the interiors the duo has gone large with; it’s also what’s on the plate.
The menu, designed by former Momofuku Seiobo chef Jihwan Choi (Banksii, Bar H, Daylesford’s Lake House), sits somewhere between cafe and restaurant, and at the moment it’s an all-day breakfast and lunch affair, but with dinner on the way.
Choi wasn’t content with putting truffles inside the cheesy, gooey croque monsieur; it also comes with a generous serve of shaved truffle on top. There’s also truffle bucatini with shaved Parmigiano Reggiano and black truffle. Other items include ocean trout gravlax; king prawns served with une (sea urchin) butter, togarashi pepper and yuzu mayonnaise; and Kingfish sashimi with pomelo, nori paste and dashi.
The caviar service features Ars Italica Oscietra Caviar (30 grams $168; 50 grams $288) and Black Pearl Beluga Caviar (30 grams $228; 50 grams $338) served chilled and placed on the back of your hand with a mother of pearl teaspoon so it can come to body temperature before it’s eagerly eaten. All caviar is served with blinis, crème fraîche, egg mimosas and chives.
It’s best eaten downstairs, where Keeley Baird (Something More Design) has created a pretty but petite, dreamlike space. Many of the tables and stools were custom-made from starcilia onyx – a translucent marble sourced from Iran that has fluorescent orange tones running through it. It’s hard to believe the colours actually occur in nature, but they do.
The remaining seats are upholstered in soft velvets of pink and blue. The walls are painted a blush pink, and a floral-themed mural by artist Andrew Dennis runs the length of one wall. Hanging above it all are enormous dried amaranthus installations wound together with hessian sheets by Parisian-trained florist Amy Thai of Don De L’Amour. It’s almost unbearably pretty and impossible not to use the word “Instagrammable” within moments of descending the stairs.
Even though their new venture is much more fancy, Ly and Lee will keep serving coffee. “Darlinghurst is a real community,” says Ly. “We know all our locals really well and are excited to be able to offer the same product – but now with even more.”
Shop 2, 303A Liverpool Street, Darlinghurst
Daily 7am–3.30pm (dinner from late July).