The February issue

Our clean eating issue is out now, packed with super lunch bowls, gluten-free desserts and more - including our cruising special, covering all luxury on the seas.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller and receive a free Gourmet Menus book - offer ends 26 February 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

Moon Under Water to become a Chinese restaurant

Andrew McConnell

Andrew McConnell

As the sun sets on Moon Under Water, Ricky & Pinky is set to rise at Melbourne's Builders Arms Hotel.

You can't accuse Andrew McConnell of being any kind of slouch in naming his establishments. As saddened as we may be by the loss of Moon Under Water, the restaurant at the Builders Arms named for a pub dreamed up by George Orwell, its replacement, a new Chinese eatery, has a name with some sparkle: Ricky & Pinky. "It's the name of one of Hong Kong's oldest tattoo parlours, down in Wan Chai," says McConnell. Naturally.

Moon Under Water closes on 8 August, and reopens as Ricky & Pinky on the 22nd after some structural renovations that will remove the walls separating the bistro from the public bar. The kitchen will be headed by Archan Chan, a chef who has held senior roles at McConnell's Cutler & Co, Golden Fields and Supernormal restaurants in the seven years since she moved from Hong Kong to Australia, who has just left Sydney Korean eatery Moon Park after a 12-month stint. Moon Under Water chef Josh Murphy, meanwhile, is taking a break from the business.

Chan's experience cooking in Hong Kong will shape the menu in part, says McConnell, but Ricky & Pinky won't be just about Cantonese cooking or the food of Hong Kong. "It'll have all the dishes that a great Chinese restaurant has to have - ma po tofu, things like that - but also just things we come up with using our existing approach to cooking and produce." None of the dishes from his other Asian eateries, Supernormal or the now-defunct Golden Fields, will be making the trip to Gertrude Street. "No - no lobster rolls, none of that. It's all fresh."

Fish tanks will provide pipis ready to be stir-fried with XO sauce, and McConnell says the team at Meatsmith, his Smith Street butchery, has already been experimenting with making the likes of lap cheong sausage for the restaurant.

Melbourne architects Sibling have come up with a design concept that plays with "the Chinese notion of infinity" that will also incorporate lazy Susans. The pub's front bar, though, will remain sacrosanct. "I think it deserves a heritage listing," McConnell says, adding that he'd also like to retain the signature whipped cod roe on the bar menu.

And what of McConnell's personal connection to the original Ricky & Pinky? "I got my first tattoo there." It's a Chinese "triad-style" dragon, on his lower leg. "I was in my 20s when I got it," he says. "But I was probably old enough to know better."

Ricky & Pinky opens 22 August at The Builders Arms, 211 Gertrude St, Fitzroy, Vic, (03) 9417 7700, buildersarmshotel.com.au

Newsletter

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

Latest news
Toby Wilson, Sean McManus and Jon Kennedy to open Bad Hombres
16.02.2017
What’s happening in South Yarra?
15.02.2017
Melbourne Food and Wine Festival’s chef collaborations
14.02.2017
Hot Plates: Long Chim, Melbourne
14.02.2017
Eleven Bridge’s bar menu returns
13.02.2017
Hot Plates: Vaquero Dining, Albion
09.02.2017
GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

The dishes that define Melbourne dining in 2016

For our 50th anniversary issue in 2016, we scoured Australia...

Melbourne’s Rosa’s Kitchen has closed

A kitchen fire has forced Rosa Mitchell’s Punch Lane restaur...

David’s

David's hums with renewed energy since its transformation t...

Ladro Greville

Overdue a Roman holiday? With its well-groomed, Aperol-swig...

Rosa’s Kitchen

Let's start with cannoli. Sicily's famed dessert is a highl...

San Telmo

The number of all-male tables at San Telmo is an instant gi...

Sarti

Sarti hit a flat spot after chef Riccardo Momesso decamped ...

Supermaxi

Mangia! Mangia! Busy Italian-accented waiters bark orders a...

Supernormal

What Andrew McConnell Did Next is this edgy Japan-channelli...

The Atlantic

The ocean-to-plate philosophy is writ large across The Atla...

Tonka

Curry doesn't often come with covetable sides of designer w...

Valentino

Let's thank Riccardo Momesso for introducing us to the joy ...

Yu-u

When Yu-u opened 15 years ago, its unmarked laneway entranc...

Akachochin

Unlike the tumbleweed territory of Docklands, there's a sun...

Cafe Di Stasio

Cafe Di Stasio represents the ideal of dining as a particul...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×