Nikki To

Chef Clayton Wells has confirmed he will exit Automata after seven years, with the restaurant set to close in line with his departure.

The co-owner of the Chippendale restaurant says he is looking to challenge himself moving forward, and is “incredibly proud” of what the team has achieved.

“I feel like I have explored everything I’ve wanted to with Automata, which is why it’s the perfect time to zip it up and move on … while I still love it,” says Wells.

Automata swung open its doors in 2015 at The Old Clare Hotel and quickly established itself as one of the city’s most in-demand venues, going on to secure and hold two hats.

It marked the chef’s first foray into business (partnering with Loh Lik Peng) after he was the opening chef for David Chang’s Momofuku Seiobo in 2011.

“Peng has been a wonderful business partner, and I thank him for the opportunity and support he has provided me with,” says Wells.

Nikki To

Wells also launched spin-off venue A1 Canteen, located opposite Automata, in 2018.

The casual eatery’s signature dish was the muffuletta, which frequently sold out until the venue closed its doors in 2020.

It’s business as usual at Automata until 17 December. The restaurant will run two tasting menus ($165 and $195) across dinner service Wednesday to Saturday in addition to lunch service on Saturday.

As for what the future holds for Wells?

“I’m not entirely sure what is next for me, but I have some future projects in mind,” he says.

“I’m looking forward to challenging myself the way I have co-owning and operating Automata.”