The Port Melbourne Courthouse was designed by notable ninetheenth century public works architect JJ Clark with construction commencing in 1860. The building, along with the adjacent police station and lock-up served Victorians for over a century before taking on a series of other roles including most recently as a restaurant. Upon Ciao Cielo’s recent purchase of the site and with Heritage Victoria’s studious overview and a conservation management plan, the facility was significantly upgraded and extended to provide contemporary dining spaces supported by state of the art cooking facilities. The passage of time has cast a Piranesian character over the building providing a beautiful textural patina against which the refined modern interventions counterpoint. A white and grey veined porcelain bar, crowned by a suspended tracery of steel housing glasses and spirits, provides the centrepiece in a sea of timeless thonet chairs and tables surrounded by a leather upholstered banquette.
photography by Kevin Li