ELLA food precinct at Melbourne Central is due to open its star bar, Byrdi on September 19, and it's aiming for the top of the seasonal tree.
Luke Whearty, who will open the bar with his wife Aki Nishikura and ex-Black Pearl manager Nathan Beasley, has the credentials. He cut his teeth working with Ryan Clift at Singapore's Tippling Club before launching his own star, Operation Dagger, in Singapore, which landed on the World's 50 Best Bar List for its complex integration of culinary techniques into drinks.
Byrdi gets nerdier still, adding a hyper-seasonal element to the technical side.
One of its opening seasonal cocktails, apples and pears, will feature those fruits in fresh, fermented and fortified form as well as smoked then distilled using a rotary evaporator for a smoky mescal-type profile.
Whearty is also "blurring the idea of what a natural wine is", making six kinds of fermented "wines" from the likes of lilly pilly.
Highballs might feature their collaboration with Applewood distillery, a botanically intensive Old Tom-style gin featuring smoked davidson plum.
The closed loop, seasonal principals extend to everything from the Byron-grown coffee to the uniforms (for sale, as well as bottled cocktails) to the breakfast porridge (the bar opens at 10am) recasting oats used to ferment a drink.
From lunch there will be a menu of largely "vegetables and a couple of proteins cooked on the hibachi grill with one condiment."
The 40-seat space with an island bar is being fitted out by Design Office (Higher Ground) using all Australian, sustainable materials like coir (coconut husk flooring) Victorian ash and bluestone.
Byrdi is due to open September 19 at Ella, corner Elizabeth and La Trobe streets, Melbourne.