Simon Flocco has been managing other people's restaurants and cafés for the last 12 years, but that's all about to change this June.
'It was just the right time for me to do my own thing,' he says of 50sixone, the kitchen and dessert bar he's opening on King William Road with business partner Anthony Canova.
Sporting a relaxed café vibe during the day, come evening the bar will turn into a trendy late night hangout where one can indulge in a little sinning (or a big sinning - let's not fool ourselves).
Taking it's name from Hyde Park's post code, 50sixone is a name that will appeal to a young crowd as well as the long-time residents of the area, and although the building behind the name was an empty shell just a week ago, it was an empty shell of endless possibilities.
'I've had so many sleepness nights,' Simon laughs. 'But I want to be certain about every detail.'
Like anything, it's an exciting yet gruelling process when you're building a business from the ground up, but there's nothing more rewarding that seeing a vision become a reality.
'We don't want to give away too much, because I want it to be a surprise. We're wanting people to walk into 50sixone and it have that wow factor.'
With a full renovation underway, Simon's made it a priority to have as much custom made furniture and fixtures as possible, to give the space a one-off look. Utilising his father's talents as a boilermaker, Simon's had the entire street-facing wall, the front doors and tables all custom made. He's even comissioning a local artist to contribute to one of the interior walls, and designing a wall tile pattern than will continue onto the table surfaces below.
Going for a glam warehouse feel, the interior is set to be a mixture of rustic natural colours and textures, taking from the simple beauty of raw materials such as recycled wood, raw concrete, copper and greenery.
Having managed at the East Terrace Continental for the last year and a half, Simon wasn't expecting to do breakfast at all - let alone all day - but a desire to have balance in his menu led him to the decision to do breakfast, lunch and dessert.
Dessert on King William Road has been dominated by coffee lounge Spats for many years, but it's clear to see there's a new kid on the block. While the kitchen will be tucked away, all the desserts will be prepared behind glass at the front counter, on display for customers to see.
For someone less gusty than Simon, that might seem like biting off more than one can chew - but this is a guy who's inspired by the likes of Black Tap in New York, whose food presentation is nothing short of art.
50Ssixone believes dessert should be the star of the show, and these dessert shakes that have inspired the menu deserve a standing ovation.
Amoung the desserts made at the front counter will be chocolate waffles and red velvet pancakes, sandwiches and brioche buns filled with icecream, Zeppole honey donuts and French pastries, and lots, and lots, of chocolate.
'It's the theatre,' says Simon.
'There's nothing that sells more; there's nothing that creates atmosphere or makes a dining experience like the theatre of food does. Customer service is important, and we want to give our customers the whole show.'
From simple displays such as hot tea poured over a glass of ice, to elaborate dessert cocktails that look like they've come straight out of Charlie's Chocolate Factory, it's all about the song and dance the food does to get to your tastebuds.
'I can't wait to share it with everyone. Every little detail I've put my heart and soul into.'
We can't wait to see what that looks like on a plate, in a bowl, on a spoon, through a straw...
Hell, we're going full Veruka Salt on the joint.
50sixone is set to open its doors late June at 144a King William Road, Hyde Park.
Find them on Facebook here.
Images of dessert drinks courtesy Black Tap, New York.
Header and materials images by Madeleine Manglaras. Hanging plant image courtesy 50sixone.
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