British chef Paul Wilson is edging closer to opening stage one of his ambitious multi-dimensional Prahran Market project, a takeaway outlet he's calling Mr Wilson's Tuck Shop.
If all goes to plan, the tuck shop will open in mid-March, his 50-seat "lifestyle cafe" facing Market Square a month later, and the 120-seat brasserie and wine bar, Wilson & Market, by early May.
Initially, Wilson will serve salads based on seasonal ingredients from the adjoining market, flatbread filled with house-smoked brisket or chicken, Tad Lombardo's chocolate cake, cold-pressed juice and St Ali coffee, all designed to go.
But Wilson, who made his name with restaurants such as Quaglino's (London's It restaurant of the '90s), Melbourne's Botanical and Radii, and Icebergs in Sydney, has more ambitious plans for the brasserie.
Architect Kestie Lane, whose work on South Melbourne cafe the Kettle Black was recognised at last year's Eat Drink Design Awards, has overseen the fitout, in tones of grey, cream and green.
An open kitchen runs the length of room, with a rotisserie bar serving carved-to-order smoked meats and imaginative salads, a wood oven turning out lahmacun (Turkish flatbread topped with spicy minced lamb), and a raw bar specialising in shellfish.
Out front, facing Commercial Road, will be an indoor-outdoor bar.
The venture has been beset by delays – Wilson embarked on the project in November 2015 and expected to open a year ago.
The concept has evolved as the project has dragged on. "Through working in the area, I've come to understand the environment better," says Wilson.
Mr Wilson's Tuck Shop and Wilson & Market are at 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra.