Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne – Jardin Tan

Client: Royal Botanic Gardens Board

A revitalised café inspired by the Melbourne Gardens attracts a new generation of visitors


The Project

Founded in 1862, the Melbourne Observatory played a key role in Melbourne’s early history as home for weather forecasting, time setting, setting weights and measures standards and for the surveying of Victoria.

Faithfully restored and expanded to include a café and visitor centre for the Melbourne Gardens, the precinct also includes the Ian Potter Foundation Children’s Garden which provides an immersive and innovative education program and unique way to experience and learn about the Gardens. The precinct attracts a large number of visitors annually.

The end of a long-held lease for the café provided the opportunity to revitalise the café and surrounds building awareness of the Gardens and attracting new visitors.

Our Role

The transformation of the café connects with its environment in a refreshingly unique way. Showcasing a sustainable menu inspired by its environment and embracing the Melbourne Gardens’ vision for a sustainable future, the fully redesigned café and kitchen garden offers visitors a curated way of engaging with the Gardens.

This careful mesh of experience and mission was scoped in a planned procurement for the contract to redevelop the café. A targeted market engagement strategy was aimed at attracting an innovative and experienced restaurateur to develop and realise a concept which connects visitors with the Gardens and unique surrounds of the Observatory precinct. 

Working closely with the Royal Botanic Gardens, The Maytrix Group engaged through the concept planning, building and delivery of the refurbishment to ensure the full realisation of the concept, which includes a curated outdoor beer garden and a kitchen garden, showcasing a farm-to-table approach to dining.

Successfully securing leading Australian chef Shannon Bennett to create and deliver the café’s French-Indochina inspired menu has attracted record visitors to the precinct, and continued success has driven increased awareness of the mission and ethos of the Royal Botanic Gardens.

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