Chef Jake Kellie, a finalist for last year's Age Good Food Guide Young Chef of the Year award, has quit Northcote's Estelle Bistro to head the kitchen at an ambitious new restaurant and bar due to open mid-February in Pakenham.
Pakenham? Owner Casey Brent Summerville, who has been working on his dream project since August 2014, hopes the couples and young families settling in the area, one of the country's fastest-growing towns, will appreciate the Lakeside Mill's combination of breakfast, contemporary bistro dishes and locally sourced wine and beer.
Summerville has designed much of the fitout himself, using a neutral grey palette, hardwood and recycled timber and ferns for the new two-level space, which will have a dining room seating 40 to 50, along with two bars, a courtyard and a balcony.
Kellie, who won last year's Electrolux Australian Young Chef award, is working on a flexible list that includes charcuterie, snacks such as buttermilk-fried chicken with fennel pollen and hefty shared dishes (tomahawk steak with cafe de Paris butter for two).
But he hopes the Mill's star attraction will be a five-course tasting menu highlighting local produce, including some grown at Summerville's property in nearby Cockatoo.
The Lakeside Mill is expected to open daily in mid-February for breakfast, lunch and dinner at 38 Lakeside Boulevard, Pakenham.