The soft shell crab from Ichi Ni in St Kilda.
The soft shell crab from Ichi Ni in St Kilda. Photo: Eddie Jim

Bob Hart & Hilary McNevin

Ichi Ni, the popular Japanese eatery in St Kilda's Espy Hotel, is expanding into two more locations.

Investigating reports of a Japanese restaurant opening in a former butcher shop on the corner of Park Street and Domain Road in South Yarra, we discovered that it could well be a small Ichi Ni. A Tichi Ichi Ni? And also, the word is out on plans to create a larger one in the inner north.

The owners of the Espy and Ichi Ni, Vince Sofo and Paul Adamo, have applied to the Yarra City Council to develop the Old Colonial Inn at 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. We hear the plan is to revamp it with outdoor areas, a bar and an Ichi Ni, adding up to a significant development on the southern end of Brunswick Street. While we've not heard back from the either Sofo or Adamo, the Yarra City Council is aware of intentions for the property.

''Yarra Council is yet to formally consider a planning application for the proposed redevelopment at the site of the former Old Colonial Inn in Brunswick Street, Fitzroy,'' the council says.

A community and residents' meeting, held on Tuesday, November 13, was attended by 62 people interested in finding out about the proposed works as well as meeting with the two applicants.

Local resident Megan Fletcher said: ''It would be great for the area, but I want to know what they plan to do with a 3am licence and in the outdoor areas they are planning.''

The Yarra City Council added: ''The site is located in one of Yarra's most vibrant and exciting areas along Brunswick Street so in considering this application, council will need to ensure it is sensitive to this being a local cultural icon and that it reflects the character and heritage of the area.''