Adriano Zumbo will open a high-tea salon next month in the 400-square-metre South Yarra space once inhabited by George Calombaris's MamaBaba and Manu Feildel's short-lived Le Grand Cirque.
Fancy Nance, named after Zumbo's mum, Nancy, will feature a typically exuberant Zumbo take on the traditional high tea, ditching tiered cake stands and formulaic cake/scone/sandwich offerings for a dégustation-like experience with morsels arriving at the table one at a time.
"For me, high teas are a bit boring," said the Sydney-based pâtissier. "They're all doing the same thing with standard cakes and scones. I can see a real opportunity to do something different."
Zumbo's menu is still in development, but he says the sweet and savoury flavours will be "a bit of fun" and will change constantly, although they won't be themed.
"It won't be Willy Wonka or Marie Antoinette," he says. "We want it to be a fun, relaxed place for people to come and enjoy each other's company with sweet and savoury treats."
Set next to Zumbo's successful Claremont Street pâtisserie, Fancy Nance will also include a cocktail bar and bakery café.
Melbourne designers Studio Tate have been tasked with the makeover and are using soft booth seating, low dividing walls and trademark flashes of hot pink and brass to break up the space.
"Everything's already here with a kitchen and the bar… it's just missing a bit of soul," Zumbo says. "So we're introducing some colour and design to bring it to life."
The colour and design flair, Zumbo says, are a part of the homage to his mother. "Mum used to love getting dressed up, so I used to call her Fancy Nance," Zumbo explains. "When I was a kid growing up in Coonamble [on the New South Wales western plains], I used to walk 10 metres in front of her because I was embarrassed. Sometimes it was like she was going to meet the Queen."
What better aesthetic model, then, for a high tea salon?
Fancy Nance, 21 Daly St, South Yarra, Vic