Crayfish with macadamia, blood lime and salt bush at Fen. Photo: Supplied
In their first year as owners of the Stag in Port Fairy, Ryan and Kirstyn Sessions have ditched the heavy antique sideboard, bumped in blond wood chairs and tables, laid charcoal grey carpet and introduced a menu drawing on native and locally sourced produce and an all-Australian drinks list.
But in their boldest move yet, they've put a new name over the door: Fen.
An old Norse word for a low-lying marshy coastal landscape, their new identity is the result of a brainstorm session with friends.
The Scandi-cool dining room at Fen in Port Fairy. Photo: Supplied
Ryan Sessions, who earned a chef's hat in last year's Age Good Food Guide, says the name is easy to remember, reflects their use of coastal ingredients and conjures a strong sense of place.
Sessions was initially nervous about plating up native produce such as sea lettuce, quandong and muntries.
"I imagined locals reading the menu and walking out, but they've been a lot more accepting than I thought they'd be."
Fen owner-chef Ryan Sessions. Photo: Eddie Jim
The former Stag Inn, within historic Seacombe House, has had a long and varied history.
Since opening in 1847, the bluestone building has been a public house, a borough assembly room, a rifle club meeting room, a temperance boarding house and a guesthouse.
For the past decade, it's been a restaurant.
Fen is at 22 Sackville Street, Port Fairy, 03 5568 3229.