There's no Heston-esque lab equipment in Attica's new experimental cooking space, a converted shopfront next to the award-winning Ripponlea restaurant. Test Kitchen, at 72 Glen Eira Road, looks much like a regular demo kitchen, albeit one with the odd water bath, Thermomix and more than the usual smattering of Gaggenau appliances.
While there's no space-age gadgetry, the kitchen offers something far more valuable to Ben Shewry and sous chefs James Snelleman and Peter Gunn - elbow room and a very loud sound system. Improved money-flow in recent years has allowed Shewry to lease the premises, providing the trio with space away from Attica's main service kitchen to develop new dishes.
When Espresso dropped into the simple plywood kitchen last week, Shewry and Gunn were working native plum pine (Illawarra plum) into the menu for the first time while passersby peered in, or knocked on the door to offer their services as tasters. When the chefs want privacy, they pull the shades down and crank up the music.
The building doubles as Shewry's new city pad, meaning he no longer has to make the round trip to Ocean Grove every day. There are bunks upstairs for the kids, too.