It's just a sliver of vacant land in Chinatown now. But by September, chef Adam Liston hopes to be grilling yakitori in his new 60-seat Korean-Japanese-Chinese restaurant, Honcho.
The two-level restaurant, a collaboration between Liston and Hotel Windsor owners the Halim Group, has been designed by architect Kerstin Thompson. It will be built off site and assembled on the scrap of land between Rosa's Kitchen and Longrain in Punch Lane.
Taking pride of place in the kitchen will be a $50,000 custom-built uber-grill, which can spit roast, cook yakitori and smoke.
Honcho, derived from the Japanese word "hancho", meaning leader of the pack, will also have a raw bar serving Japanese and Chinese-inspired seafood dishes such as ocean trout sashimi with pickled ginger and saltbush.
The drinks list will highlight sake and shochu and Japanese beers.
While it's being built, Liston will keep his chops up with a winter noodle bar at the Hotel Windsor, from June until the end August.
It will serve noodle dishes and snacks such as katsu sando, Liston's take the Japanese crumbed pork cutlet sandwich, which gained a cult following at his previous restaurant, Northern Light.
Honcho, at 18 Punch Lane, Melbourne, is expected to open for lunch and dinner Monday to Saturday from September.