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Chris Lucas' New Restaurant Society Is Set to Open Next Week

The newest resident of 80 Collins has been three years in the making.
By Libby Curran
July 12, 2021
By Libby Curran
July 12, 2021

It was first announced back in 2017 and originally slated to open its doors this March. Now, the three-year wait is over. Society, the much-anticipated venture from Chris Lucas (Chin Chin, Kisume), and Sepia's Martin Benn and Vicki Wild, will make its debut next Thursday, July 22.

The long-awaited newcomer has made its home within the 80 Collins dining precinct, sporting a timeless aesthetic courtesy of renowned local architects Russell & George. The interior fuses elements of art deco, mid-century, art nouveau and brutalist sensibilities, with numerous works by Victorian artist David Noonan gracing the walls. Society Dining Room and Society Lounge will be the venue's first spaces to launch, with the second restaurant Lillian Terrace following suit in August.

The food offering, by celebrated chef Benn, is a choose-your-own-adventure scenario with a multi-faceted menu of dishes that work as both shared and solo dining plates. The menu is considered, and the food boasts a level of precision inspired by ikebana, the ancient Japanese art of flower arranging. A strong team of head chefs helps to bring it all to life, including Rhys Connell (ex-Sepia), Luke Headon (ex-The Fat Duck) and Thomas Wooks (ex-Woodland House).

At Society Dining Room, you're in for refined creations like albacore tuna matched with shiso and rhubarb, bonito with ume yuzu and roast chicken jellies, and a wagyu beef rib cap starring a Japanese pickle and wasabi butter. Meanwhile, the Lillian Terrace menu nods to the Euro influences of Benn's earlier career, running to plates like a spiced crown of chicken cooked over coals with charred lime and tomato, and a playful riff on the Napoleon mille feuille for dessert.

By Kristoffer Paulsen

To match, expect a sharp drinks offering, with the headline act an impressive wine curation assembled by Loic Avril (ex-Fat Duck and Dinner by Heston). Think, two pouring lists, cellar displays you can browse before you order and Dom Perignon available by the glass. Even more top-notch drinking can be found at Society Lounge, where a cocktail list by World Class Bartender of the Year Orlando Marzo stars with delights like the caviar-infused martini.

Find Society at 80 Collins Street, Melbourne CBD, from July 22. Society Dining Room and Lounge will initially open from 5.30pm nightly, with expanded opening hours to follow come August. Reservations are now open for the Dining Room, while the Lounge will take walk-ins only. Lillian Terrace will launch from August 5.

Images: Food by Adrian Lander, interiors by Tom Blachford

Published on July 12, 2021 by Libby Curran


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