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Step away from the “dessert yoghurt", writes Will Studd. The real unadulterated thing is much more rewarding.

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Where Melbourne's finest will take the World's Best Chefs
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Leading chefs descend on Melbourne in April for The World’s 50 Best Restaurants. We asked local hospitality folk who they’d abduct for the day and where they’d take them to show off their city. There may be coffee, there may be culture, but in the end it’s cocktails.

Maurice Terzini and friends take over The Dolphin Hotel

Maurice Terzini

Maurice Terzini

Expect Da Orazio with a Fratelli Paradiso spin at the Crown Street pub.

Maurice Terzini, restaurateur and fashion designer, can now add publican to his CV. Terzini, one of Australia's most pioneering restaurateurs, is taking on Surry Hills pub The Dolphin and the new-look venue will reopen early April. "I'm going back to those basic principles," says Terzini. "We want a Da Orazio model in that fun, Fratelli Paradiso style - so we're going back and reinvigorating some of our best hits to suit a contemporary pub context."

Terzini, best known in Sydney for his work at Bondi's Icebergs and Da Orazio, is no stranger to the Australian pub scene. More than 20 years ago he opened the St Kilda landmark Melbourne Wine Room and the venue serves as a key inspiration for his latest venture on Crown Street. "Along with a handful of other pubs, Melbourne Wine Room was really instrumental in changing the food and beverage culture at the time. We hope this will be the same," he says.

The Dolphin's name will stay, but the overall feel will be very different. The space will be split into a main public bar, an elegant dining room and a wine room that's "twisted in a mod-Italian way", says Terzini.

Icebergs executive chef Monty Koludrovic will oversee the menu but the overall brief is fun. "Maurice-meets-Monty-meets-Melbourne Wine Room classics," he says. Food may include the likes of spaghetti with vongole or crab, cotoletta, Roman-style pizza and calamari Sant'Andrea - a signature of Terzini's from his first restaurant, Caffè e Cucina, in Melbourne's Chapel Street. The team behind Hotel Harry are partners in the project and interior designer George Livissianis (known for his work at The Apollo, among other restaurants) has been enlisted to do the fit-out.

"The design we have at the moment is not at all what we have in mind for a year down the track, but we've started experimenting and it's pretty mind blowing," says Terzini.

A pop-up version of the public bar is expected to open in early April, with the other areas to follow within three months. "It's not the typical pub thing. It's going to be quite elegant and a real art installation."

The Dolphin Hotel, 412 Crown St, Surry Hills, NSW, (02) 9331 4800, dolphinhotel.com.au 

 

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