The recent opening of Untitled, a modern euro diner in Richmond represents another major investment in Swan St for Mitchelton Wines head Andrew Ryan and his two partners.
Andrew and partners David Abela and Daniel Vid have operated The Ugly Duckling, a cocktail and wine bar on the corner of Swan and Church streets, next door to the new restaurant, since 2015.
The premises, which formerly housed an art supplies business, has long been of interest to Andrew because of the large space it provided and the potential for a business that could not only stand alone, but supplement the offering at The Ugly Duckling.
In Untitled, Andrew and his partners have created a 100-seater bar and restaurant that offers a range of different experiences.
Downstairs there is a horseshoe-bar that greets diners, along with contemporary works by Melbourne artists - a nod to the building's previous incarnation - as well as groups of dining settings looking out to Swan St. Another setting further in recreates the atmosphere of an indoor garden.
Upstairs is space that features custom-designed lighting, marble inlaid flooring and a contemporary art collection and is conducive to more relaxed dining and drinks with friends.
Chef Tim Martin has created a modern European menu of classic dishes with a twist at a medium price point. This includes takes on pasta to porchetta and re-imagined staples such as Murray Cod fillet with roasted cucumber, harissa and sesame, and grass-fed O'Connor's scotch fillet with whipped bone marrow and watercress.
Martin, an imaginative Melbourne chef, was awarded the Good Food Guide's Young Chef of the Year in 2015 when he was at The European in Spring Street.
The Untitled menu is complemented by a mix of European wines, along with a strong representation of wines from Victoria and other Australian regions.
The creation of the restaurant was a labour of love. From concept to completion, though, took three years. "We took the time to get it right," Andrew says.
"Originally when we looked at the space it felt quite large, but when when put in a bar and a kitchen it starts to soak up the space. There also was a large a void on the second floor
"We had to get the floorplan right before we could get on with the rest of the design. Then COVID hit which affected the construction and completion times."
Andrew says the design allows for a mix of experiences. "The upstairs front is more for gatherings and has more the feeling of a bar'" he says. "So it is more drinks and nibbles rather than a large meal, although the same menu as downstairs is available.
"We also wanted to create a space that felt like it was outside even though it was not."
Designer and principal of Flack Studio David Flack said Untitled was the largest scale hospitality venue his our studio had worked on. "The colour, the depth, the feeling, it ... warms the senses, which is so important in a hospitality space."
The three partners in Untitled bring a range of skills to the project. Daniel Vid has a solid reputation in hospitality and management, while David Abela is the founder of Richmond firm 3 Degrees Marketing.
Andrew, the son of Melbourne businessman Gerry Ryan, heads up the Melbourne Pub Group as well as Mitchelton Wines.
The Prince in Fitzroy St, St Kilda, which recently underwent a major refurbishment, is one of the iconic hotels operated by the group. The Ryan family acquired an interest in Mitchelton in 2011, then bought out Lion Nathan the following year.
The winery features a stylish hotel and day spa and as well as a fine-dining restaurant.