George Calombaris announces casual Mediterranean diner will replace the Press Club

George Calombaris (left) and the Press Club core team. Image source: @thepressclub via Instagram

George Calombaris’s the Press club on Melbourne’s Flinders Street will plate up its final meal tomorrow night, as the restaurant closes after 12 years. 

In March, the chef made an emotional announcement on social media that, “I know good things have to come to an end. @thepressclub has given me everything. Not just me but also thousands who have experienced it.

“We make mistakes. Lots of them. @thepressclub will always be in my heart and soul - 12 years of memories. More than a restaurant; it’s a place that creates stories, innovation, love and life.”

In six of those 12 years, Calombaris and his restaurant group Made Establishment Group admitted to underpaying 162 staff members (of the then 430 total) by $2.6 million across his Melbourne restaurants, the Press Club, Gazi and Hellenic Republic.

In 2017, each staff member was back-paid an average of $16,000 for unpaid overtime and wages below the industry award.

Now the new Elektra, headed up by current Press Club executive chef Reuben Davis, will be a more low-key occasion than Calombaris’s flagship fine-diner. 

Opening in late July, the space will get a quick facelift before it’s transformed into a wine-focussed, Mediterranean-inspired restaurant restaurant and bar.

The à la carte menu will list just 10 dishes. Unlike the Press Club and Calombaris's herd of venues, the focus will not be on Greek food, but rather flavours from around southern Europe and abroad, with dishes like a tandoori-spiced charcoal-grilled octopus set to appear in the early weeks. 

Keeping up with the Press Club’s long wine list, Elektra will have 30 bottles available by the glass. 

Elektra is scheduled to open in late July.