Long before he was racking up accolade after accolade as the head chef of Montrachet, Shannon Kellam was pursuing an avid interest in baking. On his culinary journeys through France in the early days of his career, Shannon absorbed as much knowledge of old-world skills from local bakers in every town he worked. That sort of love is something you never shake, but when Shannon took over Montrachet from original owners Thierry and Carol Galichet in 2015 his love of baking took a back seat as the Given Terrace location couldn’t accommodate an on-site bakery. Seeing an opportunity to take the Montrachet name to greater heights, Shannon and his partner and front-of-house expert Clare Wallace decided to pick up sticks and move the entire operation to King Street in Bowen Hills, where Shannon could install a bakery next door to the classically gorgeous restaurant and also take advantage of the daytime foot traffic afforded by the area.
Such a big move had to be done right, so Shannon and Clare enlisted the help of Thierry and Carol to collaborate on the design and fit-out of the new location to ensure the spirit of Montrachet translated across. The team reached out to the same artisans that helped craft the furnishings for the original location 16 years ago, sourcing all of the bits and pieces from across width and breadth of Europe. For Shannon and co, correctly nailing the details was essential – the light fixtures were sourced from Germany, the timber is old European oak, the brass has been imported from the United Kingdom, the chairs handmade in Poland and the iconic deep red leather has been sourced from Medina. Despite reinvigorating the old, there’s still plenty of newness too – Montrachet on King Street now boasts waiter stations, bread cutting stations and a new walk-in wine cellar to house its extensive range of French wines, including Australia’s largest list of Montrachet wines.
For Shannon and his kitchen team, consistency across the menu is key. Several members of his staff are trained in techniques that couldn’t be utilised due to space constrictions, but now patrons can see gradual changes as these techniques are applied to the menu. Fans can enjoy Shannon’s modern approach to French cooking – utilising vegetables and many cultural ingredients – in addition to meals inspired by classic French methods. The Montrachet favourites are all here, including crowd pleasers such as roquefort and Dutch cream potato gnocchi, duck and cognac parfait, and steak frites. The coming months will see the bakery open next door to sell charcuterie, filled baguettes, confit duck sausage rolls and quiche Lorraine (Shannon has already rolled out a new range of bread for dine-in patrons to try) while an alfresco dining area will soon offer a bistro menu for more casual lunchtime dining.
Montrachet is now open. For booking details and opening hours, check out Montrachet’s entry in the Stumble Guide.