Jul 07 2008

Top 5 Locations for Ramsay’s Melbourne Restaurant. #5 Abbotsford Convent

As is common knowledge, Gordon Ramsay is looking at opening up a new restaurant in Melbourne – reputedly in Crown.  As cool, hip and trendy as Crown is(!), we though it’d be fun to suggest some other alternative spots for Gordon to base in.  Our criteria was clear – good, attractive and available locations that don’t reflect the commercialism and bland corporate feel of Crowns (sorry if anyone from Crowns if offended by that comment – but DeGraves or Brunswick Streets Crown is not!)

So after a brief beer or two we’ve come up with a list of the Top 5 places, which we’ll reveal one at a time starting today.  These five are all central locations in or close to the CBD – we may do an outer suburb top 5 if time permits.  

Abottsford Convent


So without further ado, lets kick off with number #5 – Abbotsford Convent!


There is little doubt that the Convent is a roaring success since it was saved from being turned into just another bland residential townhouse development and handed over to the community.  They’ve done an admirable job in turning it into an Community Arts venue hosting cottage scale artists and a small selection of eating venues (bakery, organic cafe selling beer).  And lets not even get into the success of the Farmers and Slow Cook markets that keep the place thronging with crowds every other weekend.

Yet for all the micro-developments that have so far moved in, the vast size of the place means most of the convent and its adjoining buildings and outhouses still lie disused, derelict and in need of restoration. 

What better choice then to house a top-class restaurant sympathetically decored in keeping with the style of the Convent?  The Convent is ideally located close to the CBD and public transport (via Collingwood train station) and has ample car parking facilities opposite.  The blank canvas of many of the building still empty leave vast scope for creating an interior in a wide range of ambient non-corporate decors – given a talented designer all bets are open for the style and ambiance of the place! 

As for cons?  Well the micro-style of the existing convent places means anything too large might be hard to get away with, so may limit the size of any restaurant.  Also I suspect (purely my guess here) the parts of the Convent still empty are empty for a reason – they’d cost more to renovate to a usable standard.


Stay tuned for Location number 4 as we head West-wards…:)



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