Made Establishment, the restaurant group that changed city fine diner the Press Club into souvlaki joint Gazi and St Katherine's restaurant to Hellenic Republic Kew, is buying out gifted French chef Philippe Mouchel in PM24 and offering the share to Michael Lambie, who will transform the French bistro into Lucy Liu's Kitchen & Bar.
Lambie says the name has nothing to do with the actress of the same name. He devised it during a recent trip to China as "it suited what we want to do."
Lucy Liu's Kitchen & Bar will be “funky and very Asian with Chinese, Japanese, fusion dishes, not fine dining at all,” says Lambie, who co-owns The Smith restaurant and bar in Prahran with front-of-house manager Scott Borg and Made Establishment co-director George Sykiotis.
Borg is considering entering the Lucy Liu partnership but could not confirm his level of involvement when Espresso called. PM24 is expected to serve its last rotisserie chicken on January 26 before work begins on Lucy Liu's, due to open in June 2014.
Meanwhile, Made's South Yarra restaurant, Mama Baba, will also shut on January 26. The Greek-Italian hybrid never really took off and the group has decided to reopen it as Le Grand Cirque, headed up by French-born TV chef Manu Feildel.
Le Grand Cirque will be a “night-time dining room with a circus-themed interior serving very simple French food,” says Sykiotis. “What Gazi is to Greek food, Le Grand Cirque will be to French.”
Sykiotis acknowledges that asking Feildel to run the venue instead of fellow Frenchman Mouchel “is salt in the wounds, [but] it would be more so if we were giving Manu PM24.”
The restaurant changes reflect changes in the way we're eating out, says Sykiotis. “The fact we turned a two-hat fine dining restaurant into a souvlaki joint [Gazi] says it all.”
The doors are expected to open on Le Grand Cirque, 21 Daly Street, South Yarra, by May.
Correction: The French restaurant will be called Le Grand Cirque, not Le Cirque as previously reported.