New chapter for distinctive Balaclava bank

The art deco bank at the north east corner of Carlisle and Nelson streets has been rented to Commune Group for a restaurant.

One of Balaclava’s most distinctive commercial buildings has been leased to restaurant operator Commune Group.

The art deco former Commonwealth Bank at 282-284 Carlisle Street has since late 2010 been occupied by another eatery, Ilona Staller.

At the turn of the century the double storey structure was a Red Rooster and painted mustard.

The licensed building is near a train line overpass and Alex Nemirovsky artwork Lady of St Kilda, commissioned by the local council in 1993, of the shipwrecked boat the neighbouring suburb is named after.

Balaclava is also referred to as East St Kilda.

Commune, which focuses on Asian cuisine, is behind nearby Windsor restaurants Firebird and Tokyo Tina (story continues below).

The group runs a Hanoi Hannah in that suburb, and Elsternwick.

Its Balaclava business is expected to open at 282-284 Carlisle St after a refresh.

Ilona Staller, an Italian diner operated by Lisa Carrodus, Barbara Dight and Virginia Reymond, was the sister to Cicciolina which opened in 1993.

Last week we reported the operators of Veludo rented the prominent art deco Acland St, St Kilda, property for 27 years occupied by Big Mouth.

At Toorak Village, Henry Bucks quit its distinctive Tudor shop after three decades; Welner Lawyers took up the space.

The Balaclava building was occupied by Red Rooster just over 10 years ago. Source: Google Street View.

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Marc Pallisco

A former property analyst and print journalist, Marc is the publisher of