For 10 years, Shane Delia has had his eye on the building next door to his Maha Restaurant. He finally got the keys and today it opens as Jayda, an opulent bar that will also act as a holding pen for Delia’s Middle Eastern restaurant.
“I’ve wanted to do a bar for so long and this was always the site that made sense,” he says. When the previous tenant, daytime cafe Bond Street Kitchen, succumbed to the vagaries of COVID, Delia swooped. “One man’s fate is another man’s fortune and this is the opportunity to fulfil a dream,” he says.
Jayda, named after Delia’s 13-year-old daughter, is at the rear of Alkira House, a flamboyant 1936 building in the art moderne style. The period aesthetic carries through to the design of the 60-seat bar and lounge, along with the Middle Eastern flair of the curved green bar and tactile finishes.
Cocktail gun-for-hire Orlando Marzo has created drinks especially for the venue. The Strawberry Cream Negroni includes rosehip, blackberry leaves and dehydrated yoghurt. “Melbourne is in love with negronis and the one we have is unique,” says Delia, describing it as soft and velvety.
The wine list, at 80 bottles, including some from Maha’s cellar, is focused. “It’s really punchy, you’re not getting lost flipping pages,” says Delia.
Food highlights by group executive chef Daniel Giraldo include tuna kibbe…