Supernormal is already renowned in Melbourne, frequented by Melbourne’s CBD dwellers. Now Executive Chef and owner, Andrew McConnell, is headed south to St Kilda with Supernormal Canteen.
This isn’t the first time Supernormal has left the confines on the Hoddle Grid. In the summer of 2013/14 Andrew McConnell launched the first iteration of Supernormal Canteen, a test kitchen, in Fitzroy’s Gertrude Street. Test kitchen isn’t really an appropriate name for what followed; the loud and lively eatery was packed night after night with Melbourne foodies quickly falling in love with Supernormal‘s precursor.
While Supernormal has gone on to become one of Melbourne’s top restaurants, Andrew McConnell still fondly remembers his days in Gertude Street.
“The summer of Supernormal Canteen was the most fun that we’ve ever had working in a restaurant. It was a special time and place, and an experience that I’ve wanted to revisit for some time now, but we just had to wait for the right moment, the right fit,’ said Andrew McConnell. “The closure of Luxembourg has given us the opportunity to revisit and reinvent the space, and we are really excited about it.”
Now based in St Kilda, Supernormal Canteen will feature all of Supernormal’s quality, with a faster, livelier atmosphere. Supernormal Canteen isn’t refined Japanese, it’s Tokyo-style fare.
With yet another venue added to Andrew McConnell’s cap, Tim Goegan will oversee the kitchen as Head Chef. Expect minimalistic dishes that still deliver a powerful flavour punch. Think whole-garlic-clove yakitori, pig’s head bao, steamed pork buns, chicken skin chicharrones, Chongqing popcorn, dumplings – and yes, the famed lobster roll will also be on offer.
Because yakitori style fare is the perfect beer food, there’s a list of Japanese beers to quench your thirst as well as soft drinks, sake and cocktail jugs. There’s also a long wine list with a separate section for ‘the good and the rare stuff’.
As you’ve probably guessed by now, this isn’t fine dining. The menu is short and sharp, the napkins are paper and the chopsticks are bamboo.
‘We want Supernormal Canteen to be a fun, approachable local, bursting with people,’ said Andrew McConnell. ‘The kind of place that is just as much loved for the good times as it is for the food and drink. Think Izakaya style with a twist.’
Andrew McConnell is teaming up with long-time collaborator Zenta Tanaka to design the space. Tanaka’s take on the ‘fun-and-inviting’ brief will be seen through window-ledge dining, clustered seating options of varied heights and textures, and a wooden private dining cube that will be curtained off from the main dining space.
Ever the innovator, Andrew will launch Supernormal Canteen exclusively via delivery for the first fortnight. The full menu will be available delivered to your door. ‘We expect to be just as busy cooking for home delivery and take-away as we are for in-house guests. This will be delivery done well,’ said Andrew.
Opening is scheduled for mid July and they will be operating seven nights a week from 5pm.