In a challenging year for many, Scott Pickett expanded his stable, adding Longrain and the Vue Group's Iki Jime site in Little Collins Street to an already impressive empire encompassing Estelle, Matilda, Lupo and Pickett's Deli at Melbourne Empire.
But the Little Collins address is destined to be one of Pickett's biggest investments to date, a glamorous, all-day French bistro dripping in chandeliers and offering caviar by the "bump".
Chancery Lane is slated to open December 16 and push through the holiday season. A major renovation has combined the formerly separate bar and restaurant of Iki Jime, with a line of gilded archways now offering views right through the big red doors and all the way down the street.
Details are plush. Elaborate still life images were shot for light boxes. Toilets are golden vaults. Beyond a host station, a detailed marble green bar connects the dining spaces while a chefs' table and private dining areas (including a terrace) are expected to be booked by groups.
Former Quay chef Rob Kabboord, who was running Lekker at the Windsor Hotel pre-pandemic, will lead the kitchen with a classic-leaning a la carte French bistro menu, common to both the restaurant and bar.
It might be duck for two, or a whole John Dory with broad beans and eel sauce, roving fresh-shucked oysters or wagyu cheeseburgers. Caviar will be available by the gram. Rum baba with a hint of lemon myrtle will give a nod to the Australian pantry, as will a raw bar with marron and yabbies.
The wine list will also be split 50-50 between the old world and new. According to general manager Stuart Neil, there will be much to impress, but "the sweet spot of the price list is between $60-$80".
The area formerly occupied by Benny's Burgers will reopen as Pickett's Deli from breakfast to late.
Chancery Lane opens on December 16 at 430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, chancerylane.com.au.