CITY NEWCOMER LITTLE Hunter is being touted, via its publicity at least, as ''a significant restaurant opening in Melbourne''.
The significance may lie with the kitchen's imported Josper oven (apparently only the third of its kind in Australia, after Stokehouse Cafe and MoVida, Sydney) or the lush fitout of copper piping and velvet-covered booths, in the basement of the former Georges space at 195 Little Collins Street, by Collingwood-based studio Eades&Bergman.
Co-owner and My Kitchen Rules chef Pete Evans persuaded friend and colleague Gavin Baker to move to Melbourne to open the place. Originally from North Carolina in the US, Baker was a sous chef at the Fat Duck in Britain and is also the founder of the Mist Project, ''a multi-course, multi-sensory pop-up restaurant that travels the globe''.
For Little Hunter's menu, Baker has set up a test kitchen with his staff near Flagstaff Gardens, he says, ''to make every dish just right''. Once open, the kitchen will churn butter and ''if we use bacon we'll make it'', Baker says.
Small plates on the menu will consist of ''three to five components, very intricate, very beautiful food that's deceivingly simple''.
Expect mains including goat, pork and lamb cooked in the Josper. The 150-seater's other owners include Brett Louis and Scott McDonald, who are behind city restaurants the Meatball & Wine Bar and Senoritas, and Linda Temani from Senoritas.
Little Hunter is due to open on February 12.