Hi, My Name Is: Stephen Nairn

Published on June 24 2019.

Photo: Stephen Nairn (credit: Harvard Wang)

There’s a new brasserie on Toorak Road: Omnia is a preview of sorts for the restaurants that will open later this year as part of the Capitol Grand development on the corner of Chapel Street and Toorak Road. Stephen Nairn is overseeing things on the food front, road-testing menus for the new venues while bringing his fine-dining background to Omnia’s menu of crowd favourites.

Hi, my name is Stephen Nairn

You might remember me from such establishments as Vue De Monde and Matilda.

My brief for my new gig is to create the kind of restaurant that you want to come back to time and time again. When I’m not cooking at Omnia in the evenings, I’m spending time with local producers, discovering incredible produce, developing dishes for a few different restaurants which will open in South Yarra’s Capitol Grand later this year and in early 2020.

I’m passionate about building relationships with small producers and farmers, sourcing great products and using them when they’re at their peak. I also love making people feel like they’re part of what we do, giving them an incredible experience so they feel part of the Omnia family right from the get-go.

Which means I’ll be cooking things like classic European bistro staples at Omnia, such as aged sirloin with chips and sauce bordelaise, and grilled rockling with warm tartare sauce. We’re also doing stuffed quail with pine mushroom and sauerkraut and, on the snacks front, our gougères with chive cream are a real crowd favourite.

I can’t claim credit for the desserts, though: my pastry chef John Demetrios has come up with a deconstructed Gascony apple pie with a crown of golden pastry and his take on a banana split: caramelised banana with rum and raisin, chocolate and roasted peanut.

I’d like you to come in to Omnia to have a great time and enjoy some comforting food made from some of the best ingredients in Australia.

If there’s one thing you can’t leave without trying, it’s our duck liver parfait with preserved black star cherries from Mark Foletta in Benalla. We got the cherries last December before we had a restaurant, so enjoy them now because once this batch is gone, they’re gone.

Omnia, 23-25 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, (03) 8080 8080, omniabistro.com.au