The Made Establishment group continues to grow and reshape its business model. On the heels of the announcement that its Kew restaurant St Katherine's will become a second Hellenic Republic, and with the success of the Jimmy Grants souvlaki bar in Collingwood, group director George Sykiotis has confirmed the group has signed the lease for Hobson's Bay Hotel in Williamstown. It will become a Jimmy Grant's souvlaki spot and public bar downstairs and a third Hellenic Republic upstairs. The group takes over the hotel in January and after a significant refurb will reopen in June. This will follow the second Jimmy Grants to open at 570 North Road, Ormond, in May.
All this change has lead to speculation on the state of play at another Made restaurant, French bistro PM24, co-owned with the group by acclaimed chef Philippe Mouchel. Sykiotis insists that it's business as usual at the moment, but he is working with his business partners, including Mouchel, on making the business more accessible. "Changing the Press Club to Gazi is the smartest thing we ever did," Sykiotis says referring to the shift from the fine dining restaurant to high turnover souvlaki diner in May this year. "We have a great chef [Mouchel] and are always looking at how to improve business."
Made has also finally locked in a launch date (and is taking bookings) for the new upscale - and downsized - adaptation of the Press Club. The George Calombaris flagship will reopen on December 9 as an intimate 32-seat venue serving ''conceptual'' cuisine. With a fitout by March Studio (responsible for Baker D. Chirico in Carlton), the restaurant will open Monday to Friday, offering degustation dining at night plus an a la carte option during the day. In the meantime, Calombaris' neighbouring test and development kitchen, Press Club Projects has him hard at work developing new dishes. The eight-seat space can be booked as a private ''chef's table'' - with Calombaris and chef Luke Croston on the pans - which we're told is "a very interactive experience".
- HILARY MCNEVIN AND LEANNE CLANCEY