Arts Centre Melbourne, 100 St Kilda Rd VIC (03) 8698 8888 or www.trocadero.co


In the shadow of the Melbourne’s Arts Centre spire, Hamer Hall emerged from its crystallised state after a $136m refit. The great and the good arrived for the grand opening to hear kd Lang and other musical luminaries christen one of the world’s best-sounding concert venues. Meanwhile, without fanfare, Trocadero opened to cater to pre-show dinner and drinks, after-show dining and was even a haven for those after a fortifying ale during intermission. It’s another string to the Van Haandel Group bow (Stokehouse, Comme, Circa). It’s a modern, sophisticated yet accessible brasserie that provides high quality food without the ‘fine dining’ snootiness. Frank Van Haandel and Anthony Musarra are the creative minds behind Trocadero while Nick Bennett (ex Cecconi’s, Melbourne, and Tom Aikens Restaurant, London) takes on the role of head chef and will work closely with Musarra in crafting a European-influenced menu which focuses on Mediterranean flavours and reinvented classic dishes. venue caught up with Anthony Musarra a couple of weeks after the soft opening: “We were really attracted to the site. We saw huge potential and with thought it could really sit well with our group and our approach — really giving it some personality and energy. And the backdrop of the city and the river is amazing.” What inspiration did he draw on? “There are a number of amazing restaurants in public spaces around the world. I’m thinking of George on top of the Pompidou Centre in Paris, or The Modern on top of the Museum for Modern Art in New York. These places have smart operators who manage to be accessible to tourists and locals alike, who are all happy to share this neutral space that works for everybody.” From the stunning Tom Dixon marble top tables, to the 1.2m ice bucket by sculptor Peter Cole which is set to sit as a jewel behind the Trocadero bar, to the artwork commissioned by Japanese graffiti artist, Jun Inoue — the Trocadero decor is set to inspire patrons. The AV was taken care of by long-time Van Haandel collaborator, Richard Hallam from YSI. Anthony Musarra had an immersive, atmospheric sound for the venue in mind, without hotspots. Richard choose an all-Bose system, combining low-profile Freespace 3 black cube speakers (that intentionally contrast starkly with the white ceiling) and Freespace in-ceiling subs. There are four zones, with a two independent iPod-style sources feeding the system. There’s a DJ point for another option (although the system isn’t intended to accommodate rocking parties) and a wireless microphone can be plumbed in. There’s a warmth and fullness to the sound, which Richard puts down to the spec’ing of extra subs in the restaurant area. Trocadero includes a variety of indoor and protected outdoor spaces all of which have expansive and magnificent views of the Yarra River and Melbourne’s skyline. The indoor and outdoor bar will host up to 140 people and the restaurant will seat 100 people inside and 80 people outside on the terrace.

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