There's simply no stopping Scott Pickett. But then, you've got to agree, that's a very good thing. The acclaimed chef and restaurateur, who counts the likes of Estelle, Saint Crispin and Pickett's Deli & Rotisserie among his stable of culinary smash hits, has just unveiled his latest venture, this time taking on South Yarra.
Perhaps the most striking Pickett project to date, Matilda 159 Domain has carved its home out of a soaring, two-level space beneath Domain Road's United Places Botanic Gardens boutique hotel. Sitting pretty across from the Royal Botanic Gardens, this one boasts a warm, timber-heavy fitout by creative studio Projects of Imagination, offset by an assembly of natural textures — custom designed Andrei Davidoff ceramics, dark leather banquettes, and tables crafted from Australian blackwood trees.
It has an earthy vibe that's reflected in the modern Australian food offering, as Pickett pushes into new culinary territory, ditching the concept of gas cooking to focus on all things fire and smoke. The open kitchen's going in strong, with two fire pits, a rotisserie, a smoker box, a josper and a wood-fire oven — nab one of the eight covetable ring-side seats to best see it all at play.
The menu itself features a roll-call of native Aussie ingredients, each dish brought to life by either coal, flame or smoke. Signature creations include the likes of Macedon Ranges duck, smoked over cherry wood and teamed with charred orange; spanner crab with flatbread and a prawn butter; and at dessert, a dish of Glenora rhubarb, burnt custard and lemon verbena.
To match, a sprawling wine menu features a curation of top Aussie labels and European favourites, backed by a local-leaning contingent of spirits and craft beers.
In the restaurant's basement you'll find Oscar's Bar, where a compact and creative cocktail and snacks list is soon to launch.