Collins St site chosen for ‘buzzing’ new restaurant from team behind Sepia

(L-R) Chris Lucas, Martin Benn and Vicki Wild.

A heritage building on Melbourne’s Collins Street has been chosen as a hospitality super group’s location for a new restaurant and bar.

Restaurateur Chris Lucas, Martin Benn and Vicki Wild (the team behind Sepia) have ambitious plans for the destination restaurant that will be part of a luxury boutique hotel and a high-end retail precinct at 80 Collins Street.

“It won’t be a temple of gastronomy. We want excitement, we want it to be buzzing,” Benn told Broadsheet.

“We’re not going to repeat what we’ve done – we don’t look back. But we’re going to take everything we know, then apply it in a completely different way.”

Lucas has built a dedicated test kitchen for Benn to develop a dining concept he describes as “quintessentially Australian”.

“It’s my new life’s work,” said Benn. “It’s a new stage for me. I want to change, to add a different legacy – different to what Sepia was.

“It’ll be avant-garde, but we’re not locking people in. We don’t want to force people into a set menu. We’re not getting people in for a ‘journey’. You can come in and out. We want it to be useful.”

Slated for completion in 2020, The Collins Street site will also include a boutique hotel, a retail precinct with international luxury labels, co-working spaces, a 43,000 square metre office tower, and additional food and beverage concepts yet to be announced.