Smyth, who presided over Restaurant Gordon Ramsay as head chef and maintained its three Michelin stars, will likely be the headline attraction in a murderers’ row of talent that will comprise fourteen restaurants, built on both local and international partnerships. Media appearances — like her stint as a judge on Netflix’s The Final Table — and high profile if deeply retrograde awards, like the World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ “Best Female Chef,” have raised Smyth’s profile beyond the U.K., where she is justly heralded as one of the high-end of dining’s most remarkable talents.
Despite these appearances and perhaps unlike her most famous mentor, Smyth prides herself on doing the work in the kitchen as well as behind the scenes, continuing to preside over services at Core alongside head chef Jonny Bone and maintaining its tightrope balance between familiar, Michelin-acceptable presentational flourishes and dishes that ask the sector’s conoisseurs to get their heads out of truffles and foie gras. Her signature dish is a potato with dulse, beurre blanc, and herring roe, which just about typifies this balance better than anything — the suggestion of caviar without its price tag; the French formalism of beurre blanc allied to Britain’s locavore tendencies from the dulse. Smyth says that her Australian menu will continue on that line: “The quality and diversity of the produce available in Australia is incredible. I look forward to spending a lot of time there further exploring its food and wine regions to create our menu which will showcase the best produce sourced from Australia’s most dedicated farmers and food producers.”
Smyth is unlikely to distance herself from this restaurant in the way that another of fine dining’s trailblazers, Heston Blumenthal, has done with Dinner by Heston in Melbourne, a restaurant beset by legal cases over the underpayment of staff and under threat of liquidation. Having quietly excelled under Ramsay’s name for so long, Core, and this restaurant, represent her proudly putting her name to her version of excellence; one that just so happens to match with the leading arbiters of the restaurant world — no matter their flaws.
More soon on the specifics of Smyth’s restaurant.