This weekend marks her last service at the Collingwood eatery before she embraces the author/freelance chef life.

In another big piece of news in the restaurants of the inner north of Melbourne, Ellie Bouhadana leaves the kitchen at Hope St Radio this weekend. It’s been a wild three years for the chef and the restaurant both, with the delicious, homey, welcoming Mediterranean food cooked by Bouhadana providing a counterpoint to the artier excesses of the drinks and performance programs of the venue. They’ve hosted all kinds of famous people (not least comedian Eric Wareheim for MFWF 2022), and created a scene unlike anything else in Melbourne, with DJs blasting tunes in the dining room as Bouhadana and her crew load up plates with lamb carpaccio and green chilli, stracciatella-creamy cabbage, ragu-soaked rigatoni and doorstopper slabs of her signature focaccia with anchovies and whipped butter.

Bouhadana plans to focus for the time being on promoting her new book, Ellie’s Table, which has just been published by Hardie Grant, and on pop-ups and other projects. Back at Hope St, owners Pete Baxter and Jack Shaw say it’ll be business as unusual, with the existing kitchen team steering the ship along the lines known and loved by its fans, as they investigate other potential new talent.

As for what they’ve achieved to date, Baxter says they’re very proud of what Hope St has become. “Nothing has been perfect, but everything has always come from a place of love. You can taste that when you eat here,” he says. “You can see it on the walls and on the plates.”

Hope St Radio, 35 Johnston St, Collingwood, You can keep up with Ellie Bouhadana’s next moves at @ellies.table, and order copies of Ellie’s Table here.