Melbourne's favourite French fun-house, Entrecote, is about to raise the curtain on its new home in Greville Street, Prahran, a multi-level space decked out with crystal chandeliers, dramatic drapes and lots of velvet that owner Jason M. Jones says is an homage to the brasseries of Paris, the glamour of the '80s and the best parts of the restaurant's original home on Domain Road, South Yarra.
"Brasseries are what make Paris, really," says Jones. "They're on every single corner. [People] go to celebrate, they go to commiserate and that's what I love."
Divided into three distinct spaces – terrace, dining room and internal courtyard – the venue's layout and striking columns will be familiar to those who remember Prahran venues Fog and Blu Pols. But Jones isn't weighed down by the neighbourhood's history (even if he was once a jazz pianist at the nearby Continental).
He and partner, interior designer Brahman Perera, are bringing seven years of Entrecote with them, layering that venue's reputation for fabulousness with features of Jones' favourite Melbourne restaurants, Cafe Di Stasio, France-Soir and Omnia among them.
"Especially after what we've been through over the past couple of years, I want people to come out again and feel glamorous. Put on a pearl necklace, don the Chanel red lippy, make it an occasion," says Jones.
That shouldn't be hard at the new venue, which Jones describes as "Entrecote on steroids". A jazz pianist will play on a baby grand beside the bar four nights a week, there'll be DJs spinning French vinyl in the courtyard, and a roving bar cart will serve caviar bumps with French vodka. It opens on November 5.
The menu and continuous service remain largely unchanged, with omelettes and other breakfast dishes available from 7am, steak frites with secret herb sauce at lunch and dinner, and champagne at all hours. Grilled lobster with sauce choron is one new dish, alongside a vegan answer to steak frites starring mushroom bourguignon.
Where the South Yarra restaurant was a warren of rooms, the Prahran space is notably more open, although Perera has added light drapes to try to recreate the cosy and secretive feel that was so popular at the original.
Greville Street feels different, to be sure, but it was also a clean slate for Jones and his team, after seven years of shoehorning a restaurant into what was (and is once again) a private residence.
"I thought the sadness of leaving Domain Road would be intense, but I'm actually really excited."
The new site's street-level space has been transformed into a typical Parisian cafe, with concertina doors, black-and-white hexagonal tiles and chevron-patterned rattan chairs in the light and airy terrace. Up three steps, the dining room is distinguished by royal blue velvet, white tablecloths, a fireplace and timber panels along one wall, which were sourced from a chateau outside Paris. A walkway separating dining room and marble-topped bar will become Entrecote's equivalent of a red carpet, where regulars will see and be seen.
"My partner Brahman and I have sat here and had dinner by ourselves for 30 nights. We've sat on nearly every table and we feel that there's not actually a bad table," says Jones.
Romeo Lane's Joe Jones has written a French-influenced cocktail list featuring calvados negronis, chartreuse spritzes and aperitifs like Dubonnet, each drink with its origin story printed on the menu.
A takeaway outlet, Le Petite Marche, opens next door this Friday, serving pastries, macarons and coffee, plus Entrecote products like its herb butter sauce and ham glaze. In the new year, a brand-new Entrecote homewares line will be added, with items based on those used in the restaurant.
Open Sun-Thu 7am-11pm, Fri-Sat 7am-1am from November 5.
142 Greville Street, Prahran, 03 9804 5468, entrecote.com.au