Con Christopoulos and Ian Curley team up on French Saloon

Salon suggests fancy and refined. Which is why the dining room and wine bar taking shape above Kirk’s Wine Bar at 46 Hardware Lane will go by the more rollicking-sounding French Saloon.

The project – the latest collaboration between chef Ian Curley, Midas-touched restaurateur Con Christopoulos and Josh Brisbane, partners in the European, City Wine Shop and Supper Club, among others – is a bit of a folly, says Curley.

It has a six-metre French-made zinc bar as its spine, with distressed floorboards and an angled red ceiling. One wall of the 60-seat dining room will be used for projecting films, and there’s a private room for 28 and a bijou all-weather courtyard.

The space was previously an apartment and they’ve cribbed extra room by craning a kitchen-in-a-box into the airspace between two buildings, now accessible by stairs up from the dining room.

Todd Moses, the former head chef at Andrew McConnell’s Golden Fields and Supernormal, has charge of the French Saloon kitchen, spinning French bistro classics. A raw bar will serve shucked-to-order oysters and caviar in specially commissioned porcelain vessels by RMIT design student Elise Joseph.

From mid-November it will open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, leaving weekends free for functions.

At ground level, a former camping store next to Kirk’s Wine Bar in Little Bourke Street will become Kirk’s Public Bar.

The space is still a building site but by March or April 2016 the trio hope to be pulling beers, and serving fish, chips and steaks.

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