From huge hotel openings in the heart of the city to a growing list of new restaurants and bars, 2018 will offer plenty of exciting new things to see, do and consume.
Coming to Melbourne Airport in early 2018, Australia’s first surf park is set to provide both amateur surfers and expert wave riders a year-round way to catch a wave or two. Using cutting edge wave generation technology, URBNSURF Melbourne features LED lagoon lighting for day and night surfing, a fully-equipped pro-shop for board and gear hire, licensed café, and training programs for all ages.
Novotel Melbourne South Wharf
Scheduled to open in March 2018, the 347-room Novotel Melbourne South Wharf enjoys prime position close to the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre. Featuring Novotel brand hallmarks such as Live N' Dream bedding, interactive TVs, FairTrade bathroom amenities, and free barista coffee at breakfast, this hotel adds yet another luxe accommodation option to the South Wharf area. 7 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf. Ph: + 61 3 9518 7100.
Novotel and ibis Melbourne Little Lonsdale Street
Due to open in late 2018, this dual-branded hotel will see two hotels occupy one building in the heart of Melbourne’s city centre. Comprising the lower tier of the tower, the 270-room ibis Melbourne Little Lonsdale Street offers premium economy accommodation to price-conscious travellers. Novotel Melbourne Little Lonsdale Street will open above the shared public spaces, offering 213 4-star guest rooms and suites. Sharing two restaurants and bars, a gymnasium, and 10 meeting and event spaces, these two hotels suit business travellers, groups and leisure travellers. 399 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne.
Dining and drinking
Annam Restaurant and Bar reflects the modernity and energy of Vietnam today while also embracing its diverse cultural history. Chef Jerry Mai’s menu is inspired by Vietnamese food from her own family table. Dishes will include items such as tuna tataki with cumquat nuoc nam and crispy onion, whole grilled Hiramasa Kingfish with rice paper, herb plate and pickled lemongrass nuoc nam, braised goat curry with pea eggplant. Jerry is particularly excited about the salted caramel fried ice-cream that will form part of a decadent dessert menu. 56 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9653 6627.
Il Bacaro and Sarti restaurateur Joe Mammone's Bar Carolina is a sophisticated, contemporary bar and restaurant set to revive Italian bistro-style dining in South Yarra, offering the high standard of true Italian hospitality that Melburnians have come to expect from Mammone. The menu features traditional Italian dishes with a modern twist; fresh pastas, fresh produce and a contemporary approach will punctuate the menu. 44 Toorak Road, South Yarra.
BKK has taken over the space that housed Saigon Sally for the past few years. It will serve punchy Thai dishes crafted by head chef Sean Judd (Nahm, Longrain, Chin Chin). Highlights will include gai yang – turmeric and lemongrass chicken cooked over smoke and som tam tod – a crispy papaya nest salad that’s sweet, sour and spicy. 2 Duke Street, Windsor.
Chris Lucas’ new venture
The mastermind behind lauded restaurants such as Chin Chin and Kisume will bring another new restaurant to Melbourne in 2018. Joining forces with acclaimed chef Martin Benn of Sepia fame, the golden touch of Chris Lucas will no doubt ensure this currently unnamed new venture is a successful addition to his growing restaurant stable.
Harvest showcases chef and owner Tim Martin’s passion for a genuine dining experience. The all-day South Yarra coffeehouse, bar and eatery features a refined menu of wine, aged meats and fermented products. Martin brings 16 years of experience to his first solo venture after making his mark as head chef at The European. Share plates make up majority of the bar and dinner menu, allowing patrons to taste of a wide selection of dishes that don’t shy away from using parts of the animal that are often ignored, such as fried chicken oysters with shaved cabbage, mayo and bocadillo; and tongue ‘n’ cheek cigars with brick pastry and charred onion salsa. 2 Claremont Street, South Yarra. Ph: +61 3 8582 0890.
Situated above the newly opened Neptune, Impala is a lively cocktail bar from Nicolas Coulter and Simon Blacher (Hanoi Hannah, Tokyo Tina, Saigon Sally), alongside brothers Dave and Michael Parker (San Telmo, Pastuso) in the unstoppable southside precinct of Windsor. Buzzing with ‘70’s disco tunes, Impala features an exclusive in-house whisky locker, where regulars can keep their own bottles in a gold, glowing cabinet that doubles as a feature wall. Level 1, 212 High Street, Windsor. Ph: +61 3 9533 2827.
Tucked away beneath Melbourne institution, Punch Lane, is Juliet Melbourne, a semi-hidden basement venue that lures drinkers and diners in from the street via a pink neon sign. Inside, the carefully curated wine list champions female winemakers, spirit-makers and producers. Cocktails are a focus, as is cheese, with a signature dish of raclette that’s melted and freshly shaved at the table. Basement, 37 - 41, Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9639 4944.
Lello Pasta Bar
Lello Pasta Bar is the evolution of Yak Italian Kitchen & Bar on Flinders Lane which has been refreshed and rebranded to offer a taste of Italy, with a focus on house-made pasta. Pasta dishes on offer include lesser-known varieties such as culurgiones (playfully known as ravioli’s chubby cousin) and baked paccheri filled with cardoon (an underrated cousin of the artichoke that chef/owner Leo Gelsomino hand forages from local parks and gardens). 150 Flinders Lane, Melbourne. Ph: +61 3 9654 6699.
Renowned chef Donovan Cooke (Atlanic) opened Ryne in October. It promises a contemporary spin on classic French cuisine - just for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday. The 60-seat restaurant includes dishes such as marron with pea panna cotta and scented with orange, foie gras and chicken liver parfait with crisp chicken skin, smoked rainbow trout with dashi-infused daikon and horseradish, and Valrhona chocolate soufflé with three tastes of raspberry. A private dining room will cater for special occasions with a focus on fine wine dinners. 203 – 205 St Georges Road, Fitzroy North, Ph: +61 3 9482 3002.
Former head chef and owner of Smith Street stalwart Saint Crispin, Joe Grbac, plans to open his first solo venture, SAXE, on Queen Street, this spring. The ground floor will be an all-day restaurant and bar, with a concise menu focused on smaller plates. The dining room upstairs will be a more intimate space, with a menu showcasing Grbac’s combinations of modern and classic techniques. Both a la carte and tasting menus will be offered. The name SAXE is a nod to Melbourne’s rich history; Queen Street is named after Queen Adelaide of Saxe-Meiningen. 211 Queen Street, Melbourne.
Commercial Road, South Yarra will see a new addition to its happening bar scene, when Paul Wilson’s The Terrace opens its doors as part of the Wilson & Market drinking and dining venture. A vibrant new spot to eat, drink and be seen, The Terrace will bring a touch of tropical Mediterranean to the southside and will claim the title of South Yarra’s only street-facing garden bar. 163 – 185 Commercial Road, South Yarra. Ph: +61 3 9820 9590.
Supernormal's lively little sister, Supernormal Canteen, has recently opened in St Kilda. More casual and intimate than the city centre venue, it boasts stunning views over Albert Park towards the city. The menu is packed with new items but features Supernormal favourites, such as the lobster roll, while a smoking yakitori grill takes centre stage inside the venue. 2/157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Ph: +61 3 9525 4488.
A new addition to South Yarra is contemporary Turkish restaurant Yagiz. The menu will showcase chef Murat Ovaz's interpretation of Turkish fare, created to honour his culinary foundations while embracing modern cuisine and the multicultural influences that come with it. The venue features a central 22-seat brass communal table and is separated into two sections; a more casual walk-in bar and an expansive dining space fit with banquette seating and pops of Middle-Eastern inspired furnishings. 22 Toorak Road, South Yarra. Ph: +61 3 9821 4758.
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