The captivating allure of the Mediterranean has arrived in Melbourne’s Southbank, with the opening of Chessell & Clarke, a charming eatery. Named after its prime corner location in the European-style Hickory Market Lane building, the 50-seat restaurant welcomes patrons to savour a fusion of flavours from co-owners Serge Thomann (i Carusi ii) and Murat Ovaz’s (previously Yagiz) culinary heritage.
Adorning the ground floor of the Hickory Market Lane building, Chessell & Clarke invites patrons to indulge in European-inspired dishes accompanied by all-day coffee. The venue, which was once home to the Square and Compass café, has been transformed by the esteemed Flack Studio into a space rich with texture, colour, and ambiance. Drawing inspiration from the Italian architect, Carlo Scarpa, the marble-rich interior is a visual feast with a river of burnt orange, mahogany, and ivory flowing throughout, accented by contemporary blue, olive-green, and maroon leather.
The fusion of flavours at Chessell & Clarke is a true testament to the diverse culinary background of its creators. Ovaz’s Turkish heritage intertwines with Head Chef Frank Berardi’s (previously The Melbourne Club) Italian training, resulting in a menu that champions fresh ingredients and celebrates a myriad of cultures. The dishes are imbued with the distinctive taste of herbs, spices, and the generosity that characterises Mediterranean cuisine.
A central glass-fronted display showcases daily offerings of dips, preserves, sweet treats, and predominantly vegetarian salads, all lovingly crafted in-house. The diverse menu tempts diners with an array of breakfast and lunch options, served on unique porcelain plates hand-picked by Murat Ovaz from opportunity shops around Melbourne. Signature dishes include Middle Eastern PB&J with a twist of tahini and date syrup swirls, Prosecco-battered stuffed zucchini flowers, and Guanciale-wrapped swordfish spiedini. Complementing these culinary delights, Chessell & Clarke offers premium coffee blends from Piazza D’Oro, an assortment of hot beverages, and freshly squeezed juices.
In May, Chessell & Clarke will extend its hours to welcome evening diners and introduce an impressive wine list. Showcasing selections from local boutique wineries and international regions, including Italy, Turkey, and France, the restaurant will transport patrons to the shores of the Mediterranean through its flavours and atmosphere.
Fostering a sense of community and connection, Chessell & Clarke treats its guests as extensions of the team. Their passion for service and quality food is set to make this Mediterranean oasis a popular Southbank haunt, bringing people together to share in the rich and vibrant culinary tapestry they have woven.