ACMI, Australia’s national museum of screen culture, has teamed up with acclaimed Melbourne chef Karen Martini and her new venture, HospitalityM, to launch the city’s newest dining destination, Hero – a contemporary day-to-night food and wine bar experience located in the heart of Fed Square.
Marking a bold new era for the recently transformed museum, Hero will open at the all-new ACMI in early 2021 – bringing food and culture together in a stunningly designed space that invites relaxed, all-day dining and casual drinks, seven days a week.
Martini’s new hospitality and events group, HospitalityM, will be the creative culinary and operational force behind the venture – with business co-founder and innovative leader, Michael Gebran bringing a wealth of knowledge from iconic venues including the Sydney Opera House, The Grounds of Alexandria and The Royal Botanic Garden Sydney precinct.
Ahead of the announcement, ACMI Director and CEO Katrina Sedgwick OAM stated: “We’re excited to be partnering with Karen Martini and HospitalityM to launch Hero at ACMI. As the world’s most visited museum of screen culture, it was important that the world-class experience extend beyond our exhibition and cinema spaces to our food and beverage offering.
Sedgwick continues: “Hero is set to be the quintessential Melbourne experience: located at ACMI in the heart of the city, this is destination dining that combines a love of film, culture, art and of course, good food.”
Taking the reins as ACMI’s creative food director, Martini – an award-winning chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and television presenter – will work alongside executive chef Diego Rosales (former head chef of Sydney’s Centennial Homestead and former head pastry chef at Sydney favourite, The Grounds of Alexandria) to develop a vibrant, seasonally driven menu designed for relaxed dining, from breakfast through until late evening.
Of the new venture, Martini states: “HospitalityM is excited to be partnering with ACMI to bring the love of food and culture together in the heart of Melbourne. Hero, much like our other food, beverage and events offering across ACMI, will be an extension of my approach to cookery, championing handmade, highly seasonal and organic produce. I can’t wait to welcome people to our exceptional hospitality experience at ACMI’s new restaurant, event spaces, cinema bar, coffee cart and pop-ups.”
Interiors for the new dining spaces will come via renowned Melbourne architecture and interior design studio, Chris Connell Design. Drawing aesthetic inspiration from the film PlayTime – French filmmaker Jacques Tati’s 1967 ode to modernism – the striking interiors nod the film’s monochromatic greys, whites and blues, with occasional pops of bright colour. Heavily influenced by the functionalism of industrial design of the mid-1960s, the design sees functional brushed stainless steel, perforated wall panelling and terrazzo concrete all featuring, while the gridded ceiling brings a sense of order to the spacious dining area.
In response to the challenges of 2020’s lockdown closures, Martini says Hero will focus on supporting the local food and hospitality industry, championing produce from Victorian suppliers. Drawing on Martini’s signature style, the menu will emphasise simple and straightforward presentations, while celebrating local produce, organics and seasonality. Hero will also feature a well-priced local and international wine offering, bespoke cocktails, craft beers and more.
With many changes afoot at the new museum complex, HospitalityM is also the operator behind ACMI’s unique event spaces, the new snack bar on the museum’s cinema level and a coffee cart at the bustling Flinders Street entrance, offering convenient grab-and-go options for museum-goers and busy commuters.