A chance meeting in central Victorian spa town Hepburn Springs has brought together chef Joseph Abboud (Rumi, The Moor's Head) and restaurateur Jason Jones (Prix Fixe, The Stables of Como, Friends of Mine) at Moor Please, a 40-seat modern Middle Eastern café due to open 6 November on the town's main drag.
Abboud was holidaying with his family when he bumped into Jones standing outside a vacant café on Hepburn Road. Conversation led to a partnership, with Jones taking care of the café's design and Abboud putting together the menu.
Fans of the wood-fired "inauthentic" Lebanese pizza at Abboud's two Moor's Head outposts in Melbourne will be happy to find similar pide-style pizze on the menu here, including one called World Peace, which combines four cheeses - Persian feta, haloumi, gorgonzola and kaskaval under a dusting of za'atar. The menu will be heavily influenced by the region's abundant produce and will also include Rumi faves, such as baked barramundi with roast carrot tahini.
Lebanese wine and beer (which Abboud imports) will feature on the drinks list, as will Turkish soft drinks and coffee.
Having recently bought a weekender in the area, Jones is enamoured of the Daylesford/Hepburn Springs area. He puts the double investment down to having grown up in regional Victoria, saying: "You can take the boy out of the country but you can't take the country out of the boy."
Moor Please, 79 Hepburn Road, Hepburn Springs, Vic., open Thursday to Monday, 8am-10pm, 03 5348 2221