After eight years, Andrew McConnell is hitting "refresh" on his flagship Fitzroy restaurant, Cutler & Co, an evolution rather than a reboot, according to the chef-patron.
Iva Foschia of IF Architecture, who worked on McConnell's neighbouring wine bar Marion, will create three distinct dining areas in the former Gertrude Street metalworks factory. "I didn't want her piggy-backing on Marion, but a redesign of Cutler & Co had to complement it, had to manifest our design DNA," says McConnell.
The front bar will become a standalone destination, a loungey space where you can call in for a drink and an abalone tonkatsu sandwich, or order a rib-eye steak from the main menu.
The dining room will get a new entrance and an injection of theatre in the form of a chef's table, where chefs will prepare snacks.
A rear dining room with booths will be warmed in winter by a French cheminee open fire, and Foschia has been charged with ensuring there are no bad seats, especially in the back corner.
"We want the space to have a warm and intimate feel, with bronze details on the bar, smoky leather chairs you can sink into and finishes that include slate-flecked stone and green granite," he says.
Chef Chris Watson, who has worked with McConnell for the past decade, will head back to Cutler & Co from St Kilda's Luxembourg, charged with developing a bar menu with a seafood focus and adding more family-style shared dishes, such as whole roasted pheasant and a standing rib roast of charolais beef, alongside the signature suckling pig.
The restaurant will continue to offer a la carte and degustation options.
Cutler & Co will close from Sunday, February 19 until mid-March.