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.
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.