Food News

Chris Lucas to further expand his hospitality empire with two new restaurants in Melbourne

Two new restaurants from Lucas will open in the forthcoming $1 billion precinct at 435 Bourke Street, slated to open in 2026.
Chris Lucas in centre of two men outside Melbourne property development at 435 Bourke Street
Restaurateur Chris Lucas (centre) with Cbus Property CEO Adrian Pozzo (left) and Bates Smart director Cian Davis (right)
Jason Edwards

Melbourne’s CBD will welcome two swish new Chris Lucas restaurants in 2026. The first is pitched as a “new-style Chinese” joint while the second will lean closer to Lucas’ more recent concepts, following a Mediterranean brief with a focus on Greek cooking.

The announcement is the next big project on the horizon for Lucas, joining the forthcoming Parisian bistro Batard (also set to open on Bourke Street) and Canberra’s Carlotta which marks the restaurateur’s first foray into the capital city.

Collaborating with property developer Cbus Property the openings come as part of 435 Bourke Street’s landmark commercial tower, with the restaurants integrated as its hospitality centrepiece. The development is projected to cost $1 billion, with the timeline to open in just over two years, with completion set for late 2026. 

“As time goes on, I’m very selective about the projects I work on. I only really want to do projects that are transformational and that I know are going to have a long-term impact on the community or the city we live in,” Lucas tells Gourmet Traveller.

Lucas cites the changing role of Melbourne’s CBD, evolving from a working hub to a hybrid residential and working city as a point of inspiration. “Melbourne is going through quite a significant transition. And in some ways, it’s transitioning from a working city to a city that, in my view, is very much driven by residents,” says Lucas.

“We’re going to do a new-age Chinese restaurant. It’s not going to be traditional or heavy – it will have a cool space and a food language that will appeal to a new generation of dining. We’re about creating something that has more of a Melbourne or Western overlay but draws inspiration from some of the core principles of Chinese cooking,” says Lucas.

The other restaurant will draw on Lucas’ Greek heritage.

“I’ve had people for 30 years ask me, ‘Why don’t you do a great restaurant?’ so I’m finally biting the bullet and doing a Greek restaurant, excitingly,” says Lucas. “I’m casting a bit of a wider net, so I’m using the word ‘Mediterranean’ because Greek food is obviously Mediterranean, but we also want to be able to draw on interesting food from all over the Mediterranean, including Arabic, Moroccan and Italian cuisines.”

For the project, Lucas has sat on the architectural design board alongside project architect Bates Smart. “You’ve got the tower, but at the street level, you’ve got two beautiful new buildings that will look like they’re separate buildings. These will house the restaurants, which, at nighttime, will be beautifully lit,” says Lucas. One of the restaurants will run down the historic McKillop Lane, and the other restaurant will sit on Bourke Street.

Similar to 80 Collins Street – where you’ll find Chris Lucas’ grand Society, the more casual but still swanky Lillian Brasserie and bright, bold Japanese diner Yakimono – 435 Bourke Street will serve as both a workplace and hospitality precinct.

The two newly announced restaurants will join the large stable of venues Lucas has created over the past 30 years, including Chin Chin, Grill Americano, Kisumé, Baby and Hawker Hall. 

Chris Lucas’ two new restaurants at 435 Bourke Street are slated to open in 2026. More details to come. 

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