George Calombaris's Press Club closes and Elektra arises

The Elektra team: (from left) Joey Commerford, executive chef Reuben Davis, Vanessa Crichton and George Calombaris.
The Elektra team: (from left) Joey Commerford, executive chef Reuben Davis, Vanessa Crichton and George Calombaris. Photo: Karon Photography

After serving its last diners on Saturday night, George Calombaris has called time on 12-year-old Press Club, the top tier of his Hellenic restaurant empire that still includes the more casual Gazi and Jimmy Grants.

But the Flinders Street site won't stay cold. In three weeks, Elektra will open in the same space, with much the same glitzy gold, deep-boothed first-class-on-a-spaceship fitout and the same team, including general manager Vanessa Crichton, chef Reuben Davis and manager Joey Commerford.

According to Calombaris, the difference will largely come down to a relaxed attitude and a broadening and loosening of the menu's scope. He says Elektra will allow the team "to move away from being so heavily anchored in Greek cuisine, which means we can be more eclectic with our influences".

In practice this translates as 10 weekly rotating dishes, though a tasting menu will still be optional. Created largely by executive chef Reuben Davis, it's more global: tandoor-cooked octopus with lime pickle, camembert baked in a thyme-salt crust with hasselback potato dippers, oysters cooked in bacon butter with grape vinegar and Welsh rarebit on sourdough with sea urchin.

The wine list will also give up its orthodox Greek angle and introduce some blaufrankisch from Austria and primitivo from Puglia while cocktails will be a little more free-form (batch negronis and kombucha spritzes) than the drinks trolley the Press Club offered.

Press Club Projects, the custom-designed test kitchen further down Flinders Street, will remain the group's development kitchen, but it will also host private bookings.

Elektra is due to open on July 31 at 72 Flinders Street, Melbourne.