Behind a metal roller door in downtown Hobart hides an oasis for food lovers that’s putting local flora and fauna first, as Belinda Aucott reports.
Well-known for his love of organic and seasonal Tasmanian produce, and his training with local (Tetsuya Wakuda) and international (Noma) greats, the restaurant is the product of a strong partnership between Burgess, his wine guru partner Katrina Birchmeier, and seasoned professional Kirk Richardson.
Combining their extensive joint experience, the trio have transformed a rare warehouse space in Hobart’s CBD into an open, light-filled venue that is custom-designed for communal eating and drinking.
“There were a couple of things we really liked about this space – it has got a big saw-tooth skylight that allows the chefs to work under natural light,” says Kirk, who lead the design and fit-out of the restaurant, with a helping hand from local practice Paul Johnston Architects.
“The space really reflects the seasons – it is going to be a lot darker at 5 o’clock on a winter’s day than it is the same time in summer – but when cooking with only seasonal produce, it was nice that the space could reflect that also.”
And with a menu that is solely driven by what can be sourced at the time, it is no surprise that the furniture and crockery was also hand picked and specifically designed for the restaurant.
“The stools were made in Sydney by a friend of Luke’s who is a furniture designer – Dieu Tan – and the tables were made by a local designer Evan Hancock,” Kirk says.
Using a moody grey palate, they also enlisted the expertise of Kirk’s ceramicist father, Ben Richardson, using local clays and glazes to create the perfect backdrop for Luke’s food
“I know there is a lot of media here at the moment, surrounding the opening of MONA, and it is great that they are saying that now you can have as sophisticated a weekend in Hobart as you can in Sydney or Melbourne,” Kirk says.
“There is a still a long way for Hobart dining to go, but it is definitely moving forward.”