The former Montpellier Public House site in Randwick has a fresh lease on life with new venture The Cookhouse opening its doors on Friday April 19.

“Mostly it’s gone very well,” says owner Ross Godfrey of opening in the distinctive historic building.

Previous tenant chef Matt Kemp saw the venue through its metamorphosis from fine diner Restaurant Balzac to the more relaxed Montpellier in early 2012, but despite the changes Montpellier closed later in the year. Godfrey and his business partners, who include Michael Carter and David Milton, have further relaxed the venue, playing on the beautiful sandstone interiors for a funky, semi industrial look.

“I don’t really want to compare it [to Montpellier],” smiles Godfrey, who is known for bringing us Oscillate Wildly in Newtown. “We went for the feel we wanted. Food focused, gastro-pub style with a cocktail element.”

With a bar and informal eating on the ground floor and dining up on level one, chef Shane McCready is turning out house-cured ocean trout, confit chicken sandwiches, char-grilled kangaroo loin and fish and chips.

Having had stints as a private house, the Star & Garter pub, a butcher and a school, the beautiful building was certainly ready for its next incarnation.

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“When we walked into the venue it was empty except for a few bits of furniture,” says Godfrey, “and we all just looked at each other and went ‘yep’.”

The name is a play on the statue of Captain James Cook on the corner and they’re open until midnight most nights.

The Cookhouse
141 Belmore Road, Randwick

Tues to Thurs 4pm–midnight
Fri & Sat noon–midnight
Sun noon–10pm