Almost two years to the day since chef-restaurateur Andrew McConnell announced he'd be replacing fine diner Moon Under Water with Chinese restaurant Ricky & Pinky, the chef has revealed new plans for the spot.
Ricky & Pinky, inside the Builders Arms Hotel, will cease trading on July 1. When the dining room reopens on July 6 after a brief renovation, the lazy susans, gold pipes and live fish tanks will be gone. In their place will be the Builders Arms Bistro.
"Ricky and Pinky was a good restaurant, but in hindsight, it was too much of a change for that location," says McConnell.
"The Builders Arms Hotel holds such nostalgia and history in Melbourne and we are only custodians," he adds. "A building like that needs to be part of the city, part of the community, so for now we are focusing on the evolution of the Builders."
The front bar will continue to trade throughout the renovation. When the bistro reopens, the pub will be unified for the first time since McConnell took over in 2012 – same menu (the signature fish pie, steaks, house-made pasta) drinks list, and a different rotisserie every night. The only difference between the front bar and the bistro will be table service in the bistro.
For fans of McConnell, the news won't be too surprising. The chef has a history of updating his restaurants when he feels it's necessary – St Kilda's Golden Fields became Luxembourg, then Supernormal Canteen over the course of six years.
The news coincides with the 10th anniversary of Cumulus Inc. – McConnell's most longstanding business. He'll mark the occasion with a lunch at the Flinders Lane restaurant on July 22, featuring highlights from the past decade and wines to match. It's $120 a head. Bookings: 03 9650 1445.