I was totally unaware that Victoria's most consistently '3 hatted' chef Jacques Reymond opened his first restaurant in 1988 upstairs at 259 Lennox Street, Richmond departing for his current location in 1992! In those early days Reymond visited nearby Victoria Street (little Vietnam) for inspiration. Melbourne diners were excited by the combination of East and West. He created his own Australian/French take on the food from his adopted country. Sadly for we Richmondites when the lease came up for renewal Reymond decided he didn't want to stay in the location.And who would blame him when you see the difference between his first restaurant - now a Milk Bar - and his beautiful restaurant in Prahran.
|259 Lennox Street - an immaculately clean Milk Bar in the old style|
The Age recently ran an edited extract of the history from the renowned cooking writer and former food critic Rita Erlich in her book Melbourne by Menu. As the publicity blurb says 'this is the story of Melbourne's restaurant revolution and provides a behind-the-scenes look at some of the industry's triumphs and failures, movers and shakers.'
|What a difference - Milk Bar to Victorian Mansion (Jaques Reymond website)|
Well Reymond was - and is - certainly an industry triumph is the modern day world of cut throat 'food fashion'. The restaurant is now located in a beautiful Victorian mansion in 'not far over the river' at 78 Williams (nice name!) Road, Prahran. Phone 9525 2178. It is open: Thursday - Friday 12:00pm - 1:30pm and for Dinner: Tuesday - Saturday. 6:30pm - 9:00pm.
|A smiling Jacques (after he left Richmond!!) (from his website)|
It's a far cry from his beginnings in Richmond. We would certainly love him back! And if not Jaques himself then perhaps three of his four children Nathalie, Edouard and Antoine could open a Richmond version of their trendy South Yarra restaurant Bistro Gitan.
I will never pass 259 Lennox Street (between Bridge Road and Swan Street) again without a bow to our three-hatted chef Jacques Reymond.