When Josh Kellett bought the Newtown branch of Luxe from the brand’s originator, Jonathan Harvey, in August of last year, he saw an opportunity to expand its service into the night.
Kellett renovated the space in early April, adding leather benches, a communal table and balcony seating. “We wanted to freshen it up. It’s more of an intimate, comfortable experience now,” he says.
Dining at Luxe by night definitely has a cosy feel compared to the fresh, bright-eyed vibe the daytime cafe is known for. “We spent a lot of time working out the lighting so it looked like a restaurant rather than a cafe,” says Kellett. “We halved the fridge cabinet that was used to store cakes and replaced it with a bar.”
In terms of the menu, Kellet saw high quality, homemade fresh pasta as a way to differentiate the venue. Head chef Cameron Coons ran the kitchen at the Marlborough Hotel and Miss Peaches next door – he used to come into Luxe for his coffee.
“The menu will change every two weeks,” says Kellett. “I would say it’s Italian themed, not strictly Italian.” To start, there’s a choice of two share plates – a generous charcuterie board with prosciutto and truffled salami or Nduja, (a spicy Southern Italian pork spread), served with goat’s cheese and roasted black olives. The boards are available from mid-afternoon to dinnertime for $50 with a bottle of wine (all of which are Australian).
Mains could include duck and porcini ravioli with burnt butter and crispy sage, or a winter-friendly ceramic dish of eggplant parmigiana with stringy melted cheese.
There’s a roast special every Sunday, too. The meat, provided by Feather and Bone, changes every week. So far there’s been pork shoulder, rib roast and chicken.
Engaging locals is a priority for Kellett. “Tell us that you work or live in Newtown and we’ll give you 20 per cent off,” he says. “We’re also trying to do some work with the hospital with the same deal, allowing people that are there to get out and have a quality, wholesome meal.”
Weds to Sun 3pm–10pm