Scott Pickett is transforming his relaxed Italian diner Lupo into the French-loving Smith Street Bistrot, and plans to open in January 2022.
Bar Margaux chef Daniel Southern has been lured to Collingwood for the head chef role, a smart move given Southern's strong form with French cuisine at that venue and also Bistro Vue, Comme and Bistro Guillaume.
Open from 11am, the bistro will cater to lunches of quiche and Lyonnaise salad through to big blow-out dinners featuring lobster thermidor, whole flounder and prune and Armagnac souffle.
"We want to create something that will become a Smith Street institution," says Pickett. Backed by the pair's classic French training, they'll draw menu inspiration from favourite dining experiences across Europe.
The site's high ceilings, long bar and recessed shopfront will help reinforce the Parisian look Pickett is aiming for. He's adding red leather upholstery, antique mirrors and geometric brass chandeliers, while a mezzanine dining space for 25, accessed by a spiral staircase, will be opened up, joining the existing second-floor private dining room.
Lupo opened in May 2019 but has been closed since March 2020. It was previously Pickett's mod-Oz Saint Crispin, named Victoria's best new restaurant in The Age Good Food Guide 2014.
Open 11am-late Thu-Sun from January 2022. 300 Smith Street, Collingwood, smithstbistrot.com.au