In news certain to sadden many Melbourne foodies, the Philippa Sibley-helmed Prix Fixe set-menu restaurant in the CBD will serve its last meal at the end of March.
Prix Fixe has carved a niche in the city's dining scene since opening 12 months ago, not only because it was the first Australian restaurant to operate on a ticket system. Its diners pre-purchased their meals, a trend that took off in the United States in recent years.
Sibley, who was best known for her legendary desserts before teaming up with serial restaurateur Jason M. Jones, wowed many with her whimsical menus at Prix Fixe. Changed monthly, they were inspired by historical events, the seasons and literature, keeping diners guessing.
The 60-seater restaurant launched in February 2014, with a menu inspired by William Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream. Later menus were based on themes including The Nutcracker, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, La Dolce Vita; an ode to autumn; Sibley's signature dishes (which included her much-loved Snickers dessert); and the French Revolution ("Let them eat cake"). Her current menu, Alice in Wonderland, will be the last.
Prix Fixe was named one of 2014's best new restaurant's by The Age restaurant reviewer Gemima Cody, and was recognised for Fiona Lynch's interior design work with a nomination at last year's Eat Drink Design awards.
In a statement Jason M. Jones, who is also an operator of the Stables of Como and Entrecote, in South Yarra, said Prix Fixe would close on March 28 and be replaced by a second rendition of his new South Yarra French bistro Entrecote. Entrecote City will open in Alfred Place in May. Jones described the parting of ways between himself and Sibley as "amicable" and claimed the venture was only ever intended as a year-long experiment.
"Philippa and I have experienced the most wonderful journey in Prix Fixe, however, after 12 different inspirations over 12 months, it has been like opening a new restaurant every month. We initially only ever intended it to be a 12-month project."
As yet there is no mention of the restaurant's impending closure on the Prix Fixe website, which describes the fun being had with this month's Alice in Wonderland theme.
"As we celebrate our very first birthday and after 12 crazy, fun filled, delicious inspirations we cannot wait to go a little bonkers, silly and totally OTT this March.
"Thank-you for your amazing support in our very first year – we have just loved being a little bit different, fun, odd and kooky."