“I wanted to create a restaurant with the intention of showcasing local produce in a way that combines fine dining style food that I love to cook, with a casual restaurant feel that I enjoy eating in. I want people to be able to dictate the dining experience themselves, whether a leisurely lunch on a Sunday or a quick post-work dinner,” Wells said.
This might be Wells’s first solo ride, but he’s a man of experience. He’s worked at Tetsuya’s, London’s Michelin-starred Viajante and Quay (under Peter Gilmore), and used to be sous chef at Momofuku Seiobo.
Set to open on September 16, the 60-seater will be serving dinner Wednesday through to Saturday and lunch on Sunday. Five ever-changing courses ($88 + $55 for optional matching wine) will be on offer, with the focus on unusual ingredients, put together in a modern, innovative manner, without too much fuss. To give you an idea, the opening menu is promising storm clam, rosemary dashi, cream and dulse; steamed bass groper, cured roe emulsion, seaweed; partridge, witlof, burnt apple and caper; and pumpkin seed, tangelo and sea buckthorn.
Meanwhile, designer Matt Darwon (aka Matt Machine), The Rag and Bone Man’s Paul Firbank and Lizzie Gosling (UK) consulted on Automata’s 6-metre high interior that plays with the theme of machinery. Expect aircraft piston lights and a stunning chandelier made of a former aircraft radial engine.
Automata is one of three high-profile restaurants opening at the new hotel on the Old Clare/Carlton United Brewery site. UK chef Jason Atherton will open the 120-seater Kensington Street Social, and Briton Sam Miller (former executive sous chef at Copenhagen’s Noma) will also open his first solo restaurant, Silvereye, on the second floor.