A New Nordic Cuisine by Michelin-cred Chef Takes Up Residency in Collins Street Heritage-listed Landmark
Collins Street welcomes Freyja, a new two-level restaurant housed in Melbourne’s heritage-listed Olderfleet building, offering a sophisticated ‘New Nordic’ approach to Australian dining with Michelin-cred Chef Jae Bang (Norway’s Re-naa, New York’s Daniel, Spain’s El Bulli and Arzak) at the helm.
Inside the magnificent 1880s Venetian landmark, Freyja delivers an elevated and approachable dining experience, emphasising an innovative menu aligning classic Northern European techniques with new culinary philosophies, and interiors that reflect raw Scandinavian simplicity.
The name, inspired by Norse mythology, celebrates the golden-teared ‘goddess of contrast’ providing scope for the design direction, led by interior designer Clark Bardsley and creative direction overseen by Soren Trampedach, CEO of professional workspace, Work Club.
Creating bold and contemporary combinations using traditional methods such as pickling, curing, smoking, preserving, and skills honed during his Michelin training; Bang delivers a line-up of a la carte dishes focusing on simplicity in presentation, layering flavour profiles and showcasing native ingredients and local producers. The kitchen team includes Daniel Gordon (Lee Ho Fook) as Senior Sous Chef and Aaron Caccia as Chef de Cuisine, who has joined Jae from Michelin starred Re-naa in Stavanger, Norway.
Highlights on the a la carte menu include:
- Yarra Valley Caviar Trout Roe, Waffle, Smoked Sour Cream, Mix Herbs
- Hawkesbury River School Prawn, Egg, Mustard Green, Cayenne Smørrebrød
- Smoked Oyster, Buttermilk, Juniper, Geraldton Waxflower
- Squid Dashi and Oat Custard, Baby Corn, Bacon Consommé, Tasmanian Truffle
- Murry Cod, Turnip, Cime Di Rapa, Sherry
- Savoy Cabbage, Barley, Chive, Plum, Sour Beer
- Great Ocean Duck, Mostarda, Parsnip, Finger Lime
- Chestnut, Rum and Raisin Jam, Kelp
For those wanting to explore the cuisine in more depth, the ‘Taste of Freyja degustation’ offers a combination of small plates and main courses for dinner, or you can sample the range of traditional Smørrebrød; an open-faced dark rye sandwich topped with a juicy selection of meat or seafood and seasonal accompaniments for lunch.
Behind the bar, an impressive and ever-evolving list of seasonal drinks with local sensibility will be made and delivered with flair and theatre, along with a blend of local and international spirits, non-alcoholic beverages and craft beers (including Northern European lines Lerving, Amager, Omnipollo). Sommelier Ugo Pasetti (Rockpool Group, Grossi Florentino, Print Hall Perth) has joined the team to curate a list of local and international varietals to suit every taste and occasion, with a focus on organic and biodynamic wine.
Across two levels, Freyja seats 130 guests. Upstairs, two light-filled sections welcome you on entry with vast cathedral windows hemmed by a sculptural slatted timber ceiling, making a nod to Nordic maritime history. The Chef’s Kitchen, allows guests to casually perch at the bar to catch the vibrant culinary action, while adjacent, the main dining room is quietly more refined. Creating a sense of ‘Hygge’ (meaning warm, cosy and content in Danish), dusty blue leather banquettes line the back wall with striking blue marble-topped tables, contrasting with the restored heritage brick, American oak communal tables and a mix of Scandi hand-crafted timber chairs in woven cord and raw tanned leather.
A steep spiral staircase offers a seamless transition to a darker and more intimate underground dining space below, where deep ocean walls, timber ceiling detailing, light timber flooring and raw concrete all exude a more earthy atmosphere. Seating up to 65 guests, the space also features two semi-private dining areas for larger feasts and gatherings.
Throughout the venue, artworks by Mathew Gillett hang prominently interplaying a subtle, gothic vibe, which is delicately balanced with metallic finishes, light coastal sand tones, and earthy organic ceramics and textiles.
During the warmer months, guests can also dine ‘alfresco’ like a true Scandinavian, sitting under the canopy of Plane trees while they take in the CBD street action.
Freyja is open for lunch and dinner Monday to Friday, reflecting the Scandinavian work culture and providing a work/life balance for its team.
Image credit: Parker Blain