Is the restaurant site at 115 Collins Street jinxed? Brooks of Melbourne is the latest in a string of high-profile restaurants to close at the address. The basement-level business went into voluntary liquidation on Thursday, September 4.
Brooks staff were preparing for lunch service when they were informed of the closure. John Morgan, director of BCR Advisory, the group managing the fallout, says that the directors of Brooks, operating as Peacock Downunder Pty Ltd, sought advice on the restaurant's finances and "we thought it best to close the business". He added that while the ATO and suppliers were owed money, the bulk of the money is owed to Peacock Downunder Pty Ltd, which has been funding the restaurant's losses.
The site has struggled to find a steady audience since Greg Malouf's MoMo became Jamie Oliver's Fifteen in early 2006, followed by Tobie Puttock's The Kitchen Cat in 2011.
Patrick Walsh, whose wine wholesale business Cellarhand supplied Fifteen, the Kitchen Cat and Brooks, was at the restaurant on Friday recovering stock. "In this instance, we had all the paperwork in order … and in that scenario, you have some sort of chance of recovering your money."
Previously, he wasn't so lucky.
Brooks opened in October 2012 led by Gerald Diffey and Mario Di Ienno, of Gerald's Bar in Carlton North and San Sebastian, and made a name with chef Nic Poelaert in the kitchen. Diffey and Di Ienno moved on in April 2014 and Bryan Lloyd (ex The Point and Vue de Monde) took on the manager's role in October. Brooks changed direction when Poelaert departed and was replaced with his sous, David Hall.