Smith & Daughters Is Set to Be Reborn as a Huge Vegan Hub in Collingwood
The 500-square-metre site is set to open its doors in November and will boast a Euro-style deli, food store, cafeteria and restaurant.
It's been seven years since Smith & Daughters landed on Brunswick Street — and for seven years the vegan restaurant has smashed plant-based dining perceptions with its limitless culinary creativity. But now, the Smith & Daughters team is embarking on a new venture, which will see one of the largest vegan dining hubs in the world open its doors to Melburnians.
Both the original Fitzroy Smith & Daughters venue and its sibling spot — all-vegan delicatessen Smith & Deli — are set to pack up and move into a new Collingwood home. From November this year, the combined offering will span across a 500-square-metre ground floor site on Cambridge Street, which was formerly occupied by Bar Rosella. The lofty space will encompass a deli-cafeteria, restaurant and food store.
Smith & Daughters co-founder and celebrated chef Shannon Martinez is spearheading the move, which she acknowledges is no small feat in Melbourne's current lockdown.
"I know it seems like a crazy time to start something new, here we are in lockdown! But it feels like it's now or never," she told Concrete Playground. "They [Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli] deserve this growth. With the move and with this new space, we'll be able to take them to the level they really deserve."
While the current Smith & Deli is known for its New York deli vibe, this refreshed iteration will take cues from European delicatessens. Expect a homely yet stylish aesthetic complete with plenty of timber panelling and — for the first time — a dine-in offering. There'll be a menu of grab-and-go eats, alongside a tight selection of top-quality pantry essentials, ready-made meals, and other goodies like cheese and pastries.
Meanwhile, a cafeteria-style eatery is set to showcase a rotating offering of hot and cold dishes, complete with a carvery — inspired by the vegan kebab pop-up Smith & Daughters hosted earlier this year. Patrons will be able to slide trays along the canteen with fresh fruit and mueslis on offer at breakfast, or an array of hot dishes and salads at lunchtime and dinner. A daily-changing deli plate comes loaded with a main, two sides, a dessert and a beverage from the curated drinks list, which celebrates a rotating pick of wine and beer.
The 80-seat restaurant is a little more high-end, with a seasonal menu steeped in a vast spread of Mediterranean flavours and an aesthetic inspired by Vivienne Westwood. Expect an open kitchen with ringside seats, where you can settle in for a surprise food lineup guided by that day's fresh ingredient haul. A wood-fired oven is also on Martinez's wish list.
"People don't realise how good Melbourne and Australia's vegan food scene is, there's some really cool shit happening now," Martinez said. "Hopefully having this massive vegan hub with fresh produce and great food ... will help show everyone else."
The roomy new space means Martinez will also have capacity to launch a Smith & Daughters wholesale offering, with plans to install a commercial production kitchen you'll be able to watch in motion through the full-length street windows.
This new incarnation of Smith & Daughters will also be spreading the love as enthusiastically as ever, celebrating local suppliers like Northside Fruit & Vegetables. There'll even be a new line of signature homeware products crafted in collaboration with Emma Abrahams from cult jewellery label Heart of Bone.
"It felt like with everything that everyone's had to deal with this past year, people really need something to look forward to — a cool project like this to bring everyone together," Martinez says.
Smith & Daughters' new venue is set to open at 107 Cambridge Street, Collingwood, from November this year.
Top Images: Ashley Ludkin
Published on September 06, 2021 by Libby Curran