Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar:

Level 1, Crown Metropol, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank VIC
(03) 9292 8300 or www.crownmetropol.com.au/MrHiveKitchenandBar

Launched into the Crown Metropol stable earlier this year, Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar boasts the talents of Executive Chef John Lawson and General Manager Helenka Pallester. Both knew the space well from its previous incarnation (Gordon Ramsay’s Maze), giving them a unique insight into what would work and what wouldn’t. Following a canny makeover by Bates Smart Architects, which also designed the interior of Maze, Mr Hive has made a clean break from the fine dining experience served up by the loud-mouthed Scot. Helenka Pallester comments that, “For obvious reasons we wanted to create a different feel and look from what was here before. We haven’t changed the bones of it, as we couldn’t change the structure, but the design of it is very different.” A subtle shift in colour pallete, re-arrangement of the dining spaces, and the creation of a comfortable café-lounge area from what was previously little more than a ‘holding pen’ for diners, and suddenly you have a venue that draws in a variety of clientele. And this was part of Crown Metropol’s plan in re-inventing the space as more than just a fine dining extravaganza. As John Lawson says, “The thought process behind the concept was, coming from the experience of Maze, what did and didn’t work for the hotel. So we wanted to encourage the guests from Metropol more than the previous restaurant did, and so far that’s working really well.” John’s renowned talents as a chef are central to what Mr Hive Kitchen & Bar has to offer — a menu replete with distinctive meals conjured from locally-sourced, high quality ingredients. There’s no doubt the experience of working at Maze gave John valuable insight into Melbourne’s foodie culture and the culinary offerings at Mr Hive are a reflection of this knowledge. “Mr Hive is unique, in terms of what it gives to Crown. It’s developing their restaurants into the Melbourne scene, with the food we’re doing, the service we’re providing, and the variety of spaces we’ve created. So Mr Hive is something new for Crown too.” — Sophie Gebhardt

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