The Tommy Collins Group is growing up. After successful stints through The Little Ox, Hawk and Hunter and Schmuck’s Bagels the cafe kings are stepping it up and having a crack at the restaurant scene. Sth Central is the team’s latest project, where they are switching the 9 to 5 shifts for the 12 ’til late world of South Yarra dining.
Tommy Collins (aka Tommy McIntosh and Ben Avramidesis) is taking this restaurant venture seriously, recruiting the best of the best when it comes to Melbourne dining. The front man, Leeroy Smith, knows how to work a busy crowd coming from the ever-popular Stokehouse. While Head Chef, Daniel Southern, has an impressive portfolio including the likes of Est Est Est, Circa and Comme.
You need an exciting space when you are housing so much talent and the restaurant located at the bottom of a contemporary South Yarra apartment building does just that. The stripped back modern interiors allow the food to take centre stage and you can witness the cooking flames dance through the open kitchen.
Daniel serves up a modern take on the classic meat and three veg. It may be simple, but this concept goes a lot further than you might think, giving family meals a boost of flavour combined with exceptional produce.
With small to medium plates on offer you can let your stomach do the talking on how much you are wishing to indulge. To start off the eating festivities, try the fishcakes or the pressed Gippsland terrine with spiced witlof and fig chutney. When it’s time to move onto the mains it’s a tough decision between the beef short rib, eggplant purée and fresh horseradish, or the barramundi fillet with pine nuts, dill pickle and burnt butter.
The wine list is just as impressive as the food. There are plenty of international drops as well as some Australian favourites. If you’re feeling like a bit of adventure there is also a cocktail list that goes beyond the generic martini or pina colada – the likes of the Rosemary Tommy Collins with gin, lemon, violet and soda is sure to bring out your wild side.
They may be restaurant novices, but team is showing that they are hospitality chameleons. Gliding from the breakfast rush to the late-night dining scene with ease.
Words by Cassie Allen, @_cassieallen | Lover of donuts and peanut butter toast.