The brains behind some of Ballarat’s most beloved dining destinations are back with their signature feasts, after a dramatic change of direction earlier this year.
Mr Jones chefs and owners Danielle and Damien Jones will bring back a taste of their hatted predecessor, as they prepare for outdoor dining and liquor licence changes.
The Main Road restaurant will transform for the upcoming Catfish Summer Pop-up Series, giving foodies three more evenings in tantalising Thai heaven.
The first banquet will take place next Wednesday December 12, with a New Years Eve Thai banquet to round off the year and a street food evening on February 13.
It’s the first chance Ballarat will get to return to runaway success Catfish Thai, which closed in April.
“We always had the intention of doing pop-ups with Catfish, knowing it was a great restaurant and people missed it,” Damien said.
Despite Mr Jones gathering momentum as Ballarat’s cream of the crop – including a recent glowing review in a metro paper – Damien concedes it’s taken some time to adjust to the relaxed European, locally-sourced menu.
“It’s taking a little while to get a feel for it again,” he said. “But that’s always the case when it’s something completely new, with a whole new menu. It’s been a challenge, but it’s getting better every day, and I’m getting comfortable with what we’re doing now.”
The pair are also hoping their liquor licence extension application – to allow drinking and dining on an outdoor ‘parklet’ deck – will bring another summery element to the restaurant.
“It’s fantastic obviously with the Main Road precinct revamp, we were lucky enough to ahve council put a parklet out the front of us,” Damien said.
“Hopefully that [licence] will get through, and we can start serving out there.
“It’s such a great space, I can’t wait to use it. As the sun sets in the background, we can see it being a great place to have a few glasses of wine.”
Councillors will vote on the liquor licence at next week’s ordinary meeting.
At a November council meeting, Cr Daniel Moloney said that “consistent feedback is liquor licensing is cumbersome” in Ballarat, with other councillors flagging the applications would likely be taken out of council chambers to increase the speed of processing.
Visit mrjonesdining.com.au for more information.