It's been six years since lauded Aussie chef Mark Best closed Marque. It was Sydney's edgiest fine-diner and, with a staggering 17 years of service, saw Best and his innovative cooking receive global recognition.
Now, the iconoclastic chef has revealed his next ambitious move - leading the culinary team as culinary advisor at Melbourne's five-star Ritz-Carlton hotel, set to open in March 2023.
Best joins executive chef Michael Greenlaw, with the duo taking the helm to deliver hyper-local, seasonal and cutting-edge cuisine across the luxury hotel's culinary offering. Greenlaw comes with his own set of accolades, having spent over 15 years in five-star hotels and awarded restaurants including London's Bibendum, New York's Gilt and Melbourne's own Vue de Monde.
The restaurant, Atria, is named after the brightest star in the Triangulum Australe constellation - so expect lavish interiors galore. Designed by local luxury design firm Layan, the space is inspired by the Art Deco and Art Nouveau eras and promises plenty of warm tones, plush furnishings and opulent textures - plus a handmade chandelier and a Fred Williams artwork.
To make use of its incredible vantage point, Atria will offer uninterrupted views across the city, from the bay to the mountains, afforded by its double-vaulted ceiling and large windows spanning the level. While the kitchen will have a vast window for peering in, as well as an open pastry space.
The hotel's signature bar Cameo will also be situated 80 floors up. The intimate, sophisticated and moody cocktail bar will boast rare vintages, top-shelf spirits and theatrical cocktails.
Both Atria and Cameo are slated to open on Thursday 23 March this year.
The hotel itself will soar above the CBD, offering luxury accommodation, an infinity pool and holistic wellness spaces, as well as world-class food and beverage offerings - including the signature restaurant and bar on the 80th floor.
"The experience will be all about what is on the plate, and Michael and I just love the fact that you can look out the windows and see where the food on your plate is sourced; from the Macedon Ranges in the west to the Dandenongs to the east, and Port Philip Bay stretching out in front of you," Best said in a statement.
The news comes with a wave of hotels snapping up top Australian culinary talent, too. Could this be a new era of Australian dining?
Earlier this week, Brent Savage and Nick Hildebrandt of The Bentley Group announced they'll be leading the charge of Capella Sydney's in-house restaurant, Brasserie 1930. The five-star hotel in Sydney's CBD is set to open in March next year.
Plus, after the success of vegan hotel restaurant Lona Misa, Shannon Martinez - aka "rock star chef", plant-based pioneer and Gourmet Traveller's 2022 Restaurant Personality of the Year - joins the Ovolo team as creative culinary partner. Martinez will oversee the rebrand of Alibi Bar & Dining at Ovolo Woolloomooloo in Sydney, slated to open in January 2023.
We've also seen ex-Biota chef James Viles appointed as culinary director at Park Hyatt in The Rocks and chef Rhys Connell take charge at the newly reopened and revamped The Gantry at Pier One Sydney Harbour. Plus, former ACME chef Mitch Orr is now behind the pass at Ace Hotel Sydney's rooftop restaurant, Kiln, working alongside drinks powerhouse Mike Bennie who's across the Ace's beverage program.
Bookings for accommodation at the Ritz-Carlton Melbourne are now open via the website. The hotel's signature restaurant Atria and bar Cameo are slated to open on Thursday 23 March, with reservations yet to open.