Talk about big moves. Since announcing their departure from Sydney's Icebergs Dining Room & Bar, wife-and-husband team Jaci and Monty Koludrovic were keeping their plans for the future open. A return to Monty's roots in the Byron Bay region was on the cards, as was a holiday to visit Jaci's family in Lord Howe Island. But few would have anticipated their next project – relocating to Los Angeles to lead the charge at a new, multi-level restaurant in a former recording studio.
Grandmaster Records is by The Botanical Group, the Australian-based hospitality group behind EP & LP (formerly headed by fellow Australian Louis Tikaram, who can now be found at Brisbane's Stanley). The Hollywood restaurant is named after its former life as Grandmaster Records, the storied recording studio that's hosted musicians such as Stevie Wonder, David Bowie and the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, and which was sold in 2017 to developers for a reported $9.3 million. "After hearing about this project, it was more a case of asking ourselves if we could find a reason not to come and be a part of it," Jaci said in a statement. "Try and find a reason to not take our young family on this amazing adventure to LA."
Like EP & LP, there are a few moving parts to the venue. The Koludrovics' brand of Italian-Australian cuisine, which they refined at Icebergs, will reiterate at the 130-seat dining hall. There's also a late-night bar, and a rooftop lounge overlooking the Hollywood Hills . "It's important to us that the food at Grandmaster Recorders represents our location as much as it represents the rich history of Italian food," Monty said in a statement. "We don't like being too bound by tradition, we like making food that is delicious and fun."
The fit-out by Melbourne design studio Projects of Imagination will pay homage to the building's heritage albeit in subtle, tasteful ways. "We're not being literal in our interpretation of its history," says The Botanic Group co-founder Grant Smillie. Posters of rock icons have been commissioned, cocktails may be named after musicians, artwork and signage may reference famous song lyrics; but it will be worlds apart from that other rock-and-roll themed restaurant chain. "They spend $1.80 on their posters, and we're spending about $8 million on the fit-out," says Smillie. "This is going to be the biggest large-format opening in Los Angeles this year."
The Koludrovics are already in the Californian city helping group launch café Sol. The first café, located on Melrose Avenue, is set to launch in March, and if Instagram is any reliable harbinger of what's to come, its remit will be fresh-looking rice bowls, wraps and sandwiches.
Grandmaster Recorders is set to open in the Northern Hemipshere's summer this year at 1518 N Cahuenga Blvd, Los Angeles, CA 90028, USA.