Hellenic Republic in Brunswick to become British-inspired inn

George Calombaris has announced he will close his Brunswick restaurant Hellenic Republic at the end of the year.

Calombaris posted the news on social media, saying his friend Melbourne chef Matt Wilkinson (Pope Joan) will take over the site and swap the Greek influences for traditional British fare.

“Ending this awesome week with some bittersweet news,” he wrote. “On December 31, 2019 we are farewelling Hellenic Republic Brunswick and transforming our beloved space into ‘Crofter’ with our new partner Matt Wilkinson and I have been peers and friends for almost 20 years.

“He is the unofficial Mayor of the North as far as I’m concerned and the venue could not be in better hands. Not just because of his food, which is the kind of food people want to eat, but because he is an absolute riot of a human – fun, energetic, brave but above all a beautiful person. Love him and can’t wait.”

To be called Crofter Dining Room and Bar, Wilkinson says he wants to create a “modern-day inn”.

“I grew up in a pub and that style of hospitality is what I want this to be, somewhere for a casual drink and snacks or full meal,” he said.

In partnership with Calombaris’ group MAdE Establishment, Crofter will offer a bar with room for 45-50 in the front and an 80-seat dining room at the back with a menu favouring plenty of salads with meat on the side.

The Hellenic venues in Kew and Williamstown have also rebranded, while Calombaris will focus on running Hellenic Brighton.