Messina Creative Department
As the Messina chain has bloomed, the small space at 243 Victoria Street – next door to the original Darlinghurst store – has served a few purposes. Originally, it was a cake-testing lab. Then a soft-serve bar. Now it’s come full circle.
In this lab, chef Remi Talbot serves seven courses to eight people at a time. There are two hour-long sittings each day. Talbot worked along side Messina head chef Donato Toce and Messina founder Nick Palumbo to create the menu.
The dishes are experimental, and designed to challenge the palate and will change with the seasons. Pear and elderflower sorbet might be served with burrata. Or roasted chocolate sorbet with aged balsamic. Each course is matched with a non-alcoholic drink, such as wattle cola with lemongrass and vanilla vinegar.
Talbot worked for Messina in their early days before travelling overseas to work in restaurant kitchens in Japan, France, and Denmark. “He is using savoury skills from kitchens around the world to create these new dishes,” says Bishop. “There are lots of techniques which people wont have seen at Messina before. It’s more like a full meal experience.”
The degustation is more finessed than the overflowing, cartoon-like aesthetic Messina is known for championing, but a sense of fun is paramount.