Sydney all-day diner A1 Canteen is set to shut on 9 October, citing the premises' end of lease and the current health crisis as reasons for its closure.
Today, chef-owner and muffuletta-maestro Clayton Wells took to social media to announce his restaurant's forthcoming closure.
"It goes without saying that this year has been challenging for everyone in our industry. Due to our current lease being up for renewal and the ongoing impact from COVID-19, we as a business are simply unable to justify extending our lease in such a volatile climate for cafes and restaurants," reads a post on his Instagram.
"A1 Canteen was conceived as a venue to serve the surrounding community and local businesses, and we wish to say thank you for your continued support over the past few years. Additionally, our staff, past and present, who have really made the place what it is, and we can't thank them enough for their contribution."
A1 Canteen opened in mid-2018 in Chippendale's Kensington Street precinct. It was pitched as the all-day, casual dining counterpart to Wells' fine-dining restaurant Automata, located just metres down the road.
Any restaurant worth its salt in the modern dining age has a signature dish on which to hang its hat, and A1 Canteen had a few: the curried scrambled eggs and sausages on an English muffin; and that panko-crumbed fried eggplant sandwich.
But neither dish succumbed to the same level of valorisation as the muffuletta. Wells' take on the Italian-American sandwich saw a hollowed-out loaf of sourdough layered with Dijon mustard, a coterie of deli meats (including mortadella, salami and ham), provolone, antipasti, and spinach. It was served sliced, like a sort of sandwich terrine, and then, often, Instagrammed.
In his social media post, Wells also thanked patrons who have since dined at Automata since it reopened in May. The fine-dining restaurant is due to celebrate its fifth birthday this week.
A1 Canteen, 2-10 Kensington St, Chippendale, NSW, a1canteen.com.au