One of Melbourne’s bustiest food strips will welcome back a local icon in May 2015 as The Astor on Carlton’s Lygon Street reopens with an innovative new restaurant and bar concept.
Opening within The Astor will be The Roving Marrow dining room, which was formerly Percy’s Bar and Bistro run by four–time Carlton premiership player Peter ‘Percy’ Jones. The Roving Marrow is a significant part of the transformation by restaurateur Darran Smith and head chef Hayden McMillan and will pair produce-driven, contemporary European cuisine with interactive, yum cha style service.
With over 30 years’ experience between them, working in top restaurants around the globe, Smith and McMillan will deliver a unique dining experience that aims to break down the formality of fine dining and bring the fun back to food.
Head chef Hayden McMillan is a young gun of New Zealand’s epicurean scene, having previously worked with renowned New Zealand chefs Michael Meredith and Simon Wright and was made head chef of Auckland’s Tribeca restaurant very early in his career. Most recently returned from San Francisco where he headed up the Waiheke Island Yacht Club pop up for the America’s Cup, McMillan wants The Roving Marrow’s approach to food to come from a completely different place than what’s commonly available in upmarket restaurants.
“There are no rules that exist for what we are doing which allows us to be really expressive and dynamic with how we present our food. The menu will be thought-provoking but not pretentious and provide strong interaction between chefs, waiters and diners.”
Architect Thomas Jacobsen, the mastermind behind Sydney’s North Bondi Italian and the Beresford Hotel, has designed The Astor’s interior and focused on preserving the hotel’s original character with a modern refresh. The result is a moody atmosphere grounded in dark wood with rich finishes in brass and mirror that are hardwearing and age gracefully.
The Astor will be open for lunch and dinner service at The Roving Marrow or customers can stop by just for a drink at the front bar where an inspiring collection of wines, cocktails and ten draught beers will be on offer. Ruldoph Bertin, French expat and former Iceberg’s Dining Room and Bar Sommelier is behind the venue’s extensive wine list, matching the restaurant’s mandate – high quality and locally sourced wine, with a smattering of European influence.
Just as much thought has been infused into the cocktail list with the recruitment of award winning bartender and owner of Sydney’s The Barber Shop, Mike Enright, who has been tasked with crafting a lively selection of mixes.
Joining the wine and cocktail lists is a carefully curated tea menu which aims to honor the traditional role tea plays in yum cha service as a palate cleanser and digestive but with an unexpected twist. All tea styles will be covered, including a cold brewed kombucha iced tea, and The Astor’s exclusive house-‐blend black tea created in collaboration with tea specialist Heirs + Graces.
With an impressive fine dining pedigree earned managing Sydney’s most notable hot spots including Merivale’s Hemmesphere and sushi e, Icebergs Dining Room and the Hilton’s Glass Brasserie, Managing Director Smith is confident that the all-‐star lineup of industry talent behind the transformation of The Astor will put the hotel in a strong opening position.
“We understand that Melbourne’s dining scene is extremely competitive so we’ve worked hard to build a team of hospitality specialists that have come together to help create a considered yet inventive dining destination,” said Smith