Housed in the 107-year-old Armadale Theatre and set within a luxuriously appointed interior, a bistro like no other welcomes one and all. Located at 926 High Street, James Said Bistro is the most recent addition to James Said’s 1,400m² furniture showroom. The bistro is the fulfillment of a vision created by founder and owner Bethany James Said. She endeavoured to combine coffee, food and wine so as to offer the ultimate shopping experience. Here, customers are free to shop with a coffee or a glass of wine in hand while perusing and absorbing the meticulously designed and overwhelming collection of curated room settings. The only requirement necessary prior to crossing the threshold of this veritable dreamscape is a complete and utter suspension of expectation. For, any expectation would be moot, at best, and would only serve to limit your appreciation of a space teaming with both history and otherworldly design.

Originally opened in August, 1912, this grand dame of Armadale has been occupied by a diverse collection of commercial ventures, including a 1,200-seat cinema, a Vaudeville playhouse, a toy factory, an auction house, even an indoor ski school complete with a ski slope! Try to wrap your head around that one. Representing the next steps in the evolution of the Armadale Theatre are the James Said furniture showroom and bistro. Designed by Greg Natale, the bistro was created upon a mixed-seating floor plan. This floor plan includes lounge areas, banquettes, bar seating, tables and chairs and a one-of-a-kind arched private dining room for special events, aptly called The Arch Room. Throughout the rather modestly sized bistro, Natale showcases James Said’s furniture and lighting range in a precise and utilitarian experiential capacity. This is to say that all furnishings are available to be enjoyed and, if enjoyed sufficiently, purchased. The signature of the space may be summarised in the custom-painted ombré walls. A white ceiling and black-stained timber floors provide the respective heaven and earth between which the magic of James Said Bistro is created. The ombré paint, characterised by a rich blue hue, finds continuity in the upholstered furnishings, as well as in the fluted wall treatments which separate The Arch Room from the bar area. The culmination is a display of colour, furnishings, light and design that some may feel is beyond the realm of drinking and dining. Rest assured, though, drinking and dining are very much the raison d’être behind this very special, awe-inspiring space.

The next consideration, obviously, is the James Said Bistro menu. Chef Allison Hartmire has created a European-inspired menu, serving breakfast and lunch only. It is straightforward, yet undeniably mouth watering, sensory overloading and satisfying. Breakfast offerings include a poached egg, salmon and baby spinach on an English muffin, topped off with a citrus Hollandaise sauce; textures of mushroom - the long-life food - whipped ricotta, Spanish sherry vinegar, pistachio and sourdough; maple-smoked yoghurt, Torched Ocean’s salmon, golden beets and a poached egg; and homemade espresso granola, cinnamon and honey, poached pear and yoghurt. It is worth mentioning, though needless to mention, really, that the coffee will leave even the most finicky of Melburnian palates gobsmacked. Lunch may regale you with natural oysters with Mignonette sauce; beef tartare complete with a quail egg yolk, petits herbs and cornichons; a 250g eye fillet served with crispy polenta, horseradish foam, roasted onion and beef jus; and/or a slow-cooked duck leg, lentils, chorizo and duck jus. If the sea is your source of culinary delight, try the wild barramundi fillet, sautéed spinach and beurre blanc. Compliment your main with sticky date pudding, butterscotch and double cream for an exclamatory finish to your James Said Bistro dining adventure. Breakfast is served from 7:30am-11:30am, lunch from 12pm to 2:30pm. So…what are you waiting for?!

 

 

     

Visit James Said Bistro

Visit James Said Bistro

Book James Said Bistro

Book James Said Bistro

Visit James Said Bistro

Visit James Said Bistro
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