Attica Is Opening a Sprawling New Restaurant in the Yarra Valley This Summer
The fun and casual Attica Summer Camp will kick off a five-month stint in this December.
As one of Melbourne's most lauded fine diners, Attica has become quite the shapeshifter of late. Earlier this year, Ben Shewry's Ripponlea restaurant executed a classic COVID-19 pivot, launching a pop-up bakeshop in the space next door and diversifying with its first-ever take-home food offering. Last week, it was announced its post-lockdown comeback would take the form of a month-long venue pop-up called Attica In Between, hosting intimate ten-person dining experiences with a brand-new menu. Now, the team's revealed plans for the biggest shake-ups yet: a whole new Attica restaurant. Embracing fresh air and open skies, Attica Summer Camp is set to descend on the Yarra Valley from this December.
At this stage, the finer details are still being plotted, though we're told to expect a casual, all-day affair, popping up for a five-month stint at dedicated site in Seville. Labelled "a significant departure from Attica", the new venture will feature a playful, informal vibe, as well as a sprawling countryside setting that nods to the rural backdrop and camping adventures of Shewry's own childhood.
"It's going to be a super fun, high-energy, casual place that's been inspired by this time we've all been through," Shewry told Concrete Playground. "And wanting to just break free from that feeling, and look towards something that's more optimistic and positive."
Yes, it's worlds apart from the globally renowned fine-diner concept, and the chef admits, "I never would have done this before". But with hospitality restrictions and capacity limits posing a challenge to the OG Attica, he's accepted that rolling with the punches will call for some big moves. "It's another step in saving Attica, our restaurant and our staff's livelihoods," he says.
View this post on Instagram
Above all, Shewry wants Attica Summer Camp to be somewhere "playful and fun" — an out-of-town destination where people can bask in some goodness after a less than idyllic year. There'll be a feel-good lineup of simple food and drinks, with a menu full of local produce enjoyed across the site's various indoor and outdoor spaces.
The wine offering looks set to feature some collaborative efforts from long-time Attica friend and renowned winemaker Mac Forbes, who Shewry says has been an integral part of the whole project. Huge covered outdoor dining pavilions are ready for whatever Melbourne's sketchy weather decides to throw down, and a vine-covered pergola sounds primed for private picnic lunches. An on-site retail store will even be slinging goodies like Attica merch, house-made produce and take-home picnic hampers, so you won't be leaving empty-handed.
Rounding out the offering is what the team's calling "the best and most uplifting soundtrack that a restaurant has ever heard". After the year Melbourne's had, that all sounds like exactly what the doctor ordered.
Published on November 16, 2020 by Libby Curran