Melbourne’s new Claremont Tonic restaurant and bar by Maison Davis and Hecker Guthrie.
Hold onto your helmet! The new Claremont Tonic by Maison Davis and Hecker Guthrie is an eclectically styled restaurant with a pan-Asian menu that’s set to tease the taste buds of design aficionados. Claremont Tonic is the latest venture by restaurant owner Davis Yu of Maison Davis, in collaboration with interior design firm Hecker Guthrie. It is the second project for the Yu and Hecker Guthrie team and the antithesis of its first, The Millswyn. Where The Millswyn was modern, light and bright, Claremont Tonic is a mixture of Japanese and Pacific influences: dark, raw and edgy.
Located at the corner of Yarra Lane and Claremont Street in South Yarra, the restaurant seats ninety, with room for counter-top dining along the perimeter facing Claremont Street. Hamish Guthrie (Hecker Guthrie) says the brief was challenging and complex. Yu wanted a restaurant that would reflect a Melbourne lifestyle and the live music scene, and provide the perfect backdrop to the innovative pan-Asian menu by Dylan Roberts.
The interior consists of exposed concrete blockwork, rough-sawn timber floors and blackened steel screens. Timber tables and benches, freestanding joinery elements, exposed cinematic lighting and utilitarian French industrial chairs complete the theme. Black is the colour of choice, highlighted with splashes of such as bespoke red neon light installations and gold statues. There is also an eclectic collection of found objects on the shelves and walls.
At the back of the restaurant, the kitchen is set like a stage, bustling with busy chefs and kitchen staff in a flurry of activity. To the left of the kitchen is the bar, behind which are the unisex toilets. Attention to detail is everything and it’s the quirky things – like the rigid chain handles on the toilet doors and the old water trough, reinvented as a washbasin, that grab your attention. The theme of the restaurant has been encapsulated in larger-than-life graphics that meld the flavor of Japan and Pacific influences – a heady combination, but one that works.
Maison Davis and Hecker Guthrie have realized their goal. Claremont Tonic is a restaurant with a raw and powerful design that complements an impressive and innovative menu. Drop by for a meal or a cocktail and you’ll see what I mean.