In certain dishes, a collection of ingredients can be transformed from clashing to balanced with the addition of a single, unifying flavour. Such is the case with Trocadero – a new restaurant located within the recently redeveloped Hamer Hall on Melbourne’s Southbank.
Reading a list of its architectural and design features, one could be forgiven for suspecting a garish or at least ill-conceived panache of concrete-finish plaster, black and white marble, gold-mirrored brass, stone columns and dark carpet, with a contemporary graffiti feature wall as the proverbial cherry-on-top.
And yet in its execution, Trocadero demonstrates how disparate elements, carefully chosen and blended, can yield a pleasing aesthetic rich with unexpected details.
Occupying an elongated and narrow site flanked by the open panorama of the Yarra river and Melbourne CBD, the restaurant capitalizes on the spectacular views with floor to ceiling windows and outdoor seating, vastly opening the space and flooding it with light during the day.
The separate cocktail bar and restaurant areas share a palette of black, white and grey but are distinguished by fragmented marble floors, buffed brass bar and timber stools in the former and dark carpet and central stone column in the latter. A mix of rectangular square timber and circular marble tables in the dining area prevents it feeling repetitive and cater for both intimate meals and larger parties, with Dark Thonet Leiter chairs lending their lightweight elegance to the space.
What gives the restaurant it’s aesthetic punch, however, is the specially commissioned artwork by Japanese graffiti artist Jun Inoue. Regarding his choice of medium Inoue comments that he was drawn to “its physicality, rebelliousness, and artistry”, and this is certainly evident in his work at Trocadero. Drawing from traditional Japanese art and calligraphy he fuses techniques and colours to create an abstract, evocative piece that simultaneously sustains the contemporary edginess of the space while introducing a softer, more whimsical dimension.
Gastronomically Trocadero serves a modern brasserie style mix of mediterranean inspired dishes, presented with just enough artistic flourish. The whole baked garfish pie and cooked caramel cream with popcorn crumble are particular favourites and have become signatures of the restaurant.