Not too long ago the only place to eat at Flinders Street Station was Lord of the Fries. Then Arbory opened right next to platform 13 and made killing time while waiting for the train not a horrible proposition. And now the station has scored another actually good food offering — and it's located in the Swanston Street-facing Clocks space.
If you're familiar with Clocks then you're probably thinking RSL vibes and pokies noises right about now. But, after a renovation that took nine months and $3 million, the place is looking pretty different. Unfortunately the pokies are still out the back as the venue is still owned by Doxa Social Club, but the bistro has been replaced with Green Light Diner, an American-themed joint run by Steve Schreuder and Darran Smith (the ex-owner of Carlton's Roving Marrow). The duo took inspiration from the late-night diners of Los Angeles and have created their own day-to-night venue with all-day breakfast and a 1am license on weekends.
The impressive fit-out has been designed by Studio Nine Architects, and looks like Edward Hopper's Nighthawks come to life. Think marble counter tops, leather booth seating and brass and copper fixtures, along with restoration of the building's original windows that haven't been used in decades. "The interior has a 1920s train station feel, like Grand Central in New York," says Smith.
It certainly has an old-world vibe, one that works particularly well within the setting of the historic station, which was built in 1909. "[The clientele] is really a cross section of people who come through the station, from old locals who came in before the renovation to business folks and tourists" says Smith.
Smith took inspiration from LA diners and their "brekkie sandwiches that you can eat all-day or late at night", as well as the salt beef bagels from Brick Lane in London. The breakfast menu is egg-centric, and accompanied by pub staples like porterhouse steaks, pork schnittys (with a fried egg if you so fancy) and parmas. For drinks, it'll start slinging pre-batched cocktails in the coming weeks, including negronis, espresso martinis and cosmos.
The transformation isn't done yet, either, with a late-night whisky bar also in the works. Miss Guns will be located downstairs and is slated to be completed by the end of the year. This June, Green Light will also roll out monthly after-midnight feasts for hospitality folk, which will run on Sunday nights from midnight till 3am.
"It's a chance to get people in the hospo industries together at the end of their work week for some networking, music and good food," says Smith. "There will be guest chefs each month, along with a few seats reserved for non-hospo people to come along and see what we get up to."