Hospo dream team to open Bar Saracen in Melbourne's CBD

Joseph Abboud and Ari Vlassopoulos outside Bar Saracen in Punch Lane, Melbourne.
Joseph Abboud and Ari Vlassopoulos outside Bar Saracen in Punch Lane, Melbourne. Photo: Supplied

Chef and restaurateur Joseph Abboud (Rumi, the Moor's Head) and front-of-house pro Ari Vlassopoulos (ex Pei Modern, Giuseppe Arnaldo & Sons, Hellenic Republic and Pearl, among others) are opening Bar Saracen in the former Rosa's Kitchen site in Melbourne.

The small space will get a modest makeover, giving it 55 seats, including eight stools at the bar and six in the window.

Tom Sarafian, who came to Rumi via London's Petersham Nurseries Cafe, Moro and St John, will head the Bar Saracen kitchen. The menu, which Abboud is describing as "of Middle Eastern appearance", will include a collection of mezze dishes, a few mains and two or three desserts.

The former Rosa's Kitchen will become Bar Saracen.
The former Rosa's Kitchen will become Bar Saracen. Photo: Eddie Jim

"The food will be a step up from Rumi, a bit more refined," says Abboud, who opened a second Moor's Head in Carlton in October 2017.

Vlassopoulos, one of Melbourne's top service professionals (he picked up the Service Excellence Award in The Age Good Food Guide 2008), will run the floor.

Bar Saracen, named after the Arabs who fought the Christians during the Crusades in the Middle Ages, is expected to open for lunch and dinner five nights a week from late February.

Details: 22 Punch Lane, Melbourne, barsaracen.com.au