The Albert Park Hotel, closed since it was bought out by the Colonial Leisure Group in 2014, will finally reopen in mid-March, unveiling its transformation from a fish-focused gastropub to a sprawling venue featuring a Chinese restaurant and cocktail bar.
Despite the shell, it's no pub. Six Degrees Architects has overseen the refit. A grand bar area leads to the restaurant. Upstairs are booths in the style of the Toff, and a cocktail lounge.
Chef Ken Yuen, who will be closing his Albert Park restaurant VicAsia on February 8, will deliver a menu of Cantonese classics and Aussie-Chinese favourites both in the restaurant Happy Valley, and at the bar.
Special ovens and drying racks have been invested in for their ducks. About 10 dim sum will be on the menu daily, and kampot pepper wagyu will be the kitchen's spin on beef and black bean.
Plenty of the menu, from Singapore noodles to sang choi bao, can be made vegetarian or vegan, joining the already meat-free mushroom noodles and five-spice tofu.
General manager Brad Hammond (ex-Sunda) says the wine list should floor big investors who recognise the value of some of the 100 reserve wines, which they will sell at auction price without major restaurant mark-ups.
The main list will focus on Australian producers, and cocktails, with some Chinese ingredients, are being designed by star bartender Charlie Ainsbury.
The Albert Park Hotel will reopen on the corner of Montague Street and Dundas Place, Albert Park, on March 10.