Keeping up with Melburnians’ appetite for new gastronomic experiences is not easy, but here is a selection of the latest plates being gobbled up by the city’s foodies.
2017 latest openings
Garden State Hotel. Laneways, gardens, eating and drinking combine at Melbourne’s newest gastro-pub, the Garden State Hotel. Located on Flinders Lane and bordered by Duckboard Place and AC/DC lane, the impressive four-level venue features four bars, two restaurant spaces, a private dining room, a kiosk, and a function space. But the highlight has to be the beer garden where every care has been taken to enable the plants to thrive in an urban environment. The latest venture by the team behind some of the city’s most popular pubs (such as The Terminus, Prahran Hotel and Bridge Hotel), the 840-pax venue is bound to be popular for lunches, late night cocktails and everything in between. 101 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, +61 3 8396 5777
Ricky & Pinky. Iconic Fitzroy pub, Builders Arms Hotel has had a personality transformation. Previously Moon Under Water, the venue is now a Chinese restaurant Ricky & Pinky, the latest by Melbourne restaurateur Andrew McConnell. The reimagined space references Chinese traditions in its design with lazy susans and fish tanks to boot. The menu features Asian cuisine that is ‘elegant and accessible’ with shared snacks, smaller plates, larger dishes and a full Chinese family banquet for sharing. 211 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, +61 3 9417 7700
Stokehouse. One of Melbourne’s most-loved dining venues is set to reopen its doors this spring, after a fire devastated the original building in 2014. Rebuilt in its original position on St Kilda’s foreshore, the new venue will open almost directly onto the beach with front entrance on Jakka Boulevard. Stokehouse Restaurant will occupy the first floor and a beach-side kiosk will open at ground level. 30 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda, +61 3 9525 5555
The Crux & Co. A new café and patisserie has arrived in Melbourne, enticing brunch-goers to venture slightly south to soak up the spring sun. Serving buttery pastries like croissants and ‘croggles’ (cross between a bagel and a croissant) alongside Korean-influenced savoury dishes, The Crux & Co introduces an alternative to the hugely popular Kettle Black – located just across the road. Conveniently situated near to Domain Interchange it is easily accessible by tram, and just down the road from the Botanical Gardens. Ground level, 35 Albert Road, Melbourne, +61 3 9820 1081
Higher Ground. The team behind some of Melbourne’s most popular cafes (Top Paddock, and The Kettle Black) has opened its first city venture. Higher Ground brings the neighbourhood-style cafe to the centre of town, with 150 seats, split over two levels and a mezzanine. The cafe is open for breakfast and lunch seven days a week and also for dinner Thursday – Saturday. The heritage-listed 19th-century powerhouse in which it is housed retains an industrial feel, with 15-metre ceilings and plenty of natural light during the day. Upstairs, a lounge invites visitors to sit back and relax, with a coffee and book in hand. 650 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, +61 3 8899 6219
LongSong. A new Thai-influenced bar and grill is set to open on Melbourne’s Little Bourke Street in the city centre, with owner and chef David Moyle at the helm. It will be more bar than restaurant, to create a marked point of difference to its downstairs counterpart, Longrain – which was, when it opened more than 10 years ago, one of Melbourne’s first upmarket Thai restaurants. The focus will be on a Thai inspired grill, served alongside a selection of beverages by Australian brewers, distillers and winemakers. LongSong is slated to open in November 2016. 40-44 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne, +61 3 9671 3151
Good Heavens. Melbourne has welcome a new rooftop bar. Good Heavens sits above recently opened barbarque joint, Fancy Hanks on Bourke Street in Melbourne’s city centre. It serves American bar food along with a premium cocktail selection providing an ideal venue for balmy summer evenings. Visitors can enjoy a snack, long supper and a dance with local DJs spinning the decks and of course, a cocktail or two. 1/79 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie. Melbourne based chef and restaurateur Scott Pickett has opened Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie at Melbourne’s iconic Queen Victoria Market. Pickett’s Deli & Rotisserie is the ideal daytime pit-stop for an early morning breakfast, eat in or takeaway lunch, transitioning into an intimate post-work bar for evening cocktails, wines by the glass, cheese and charcuterie alongside a succinct dinner menu. Pickett is passionate about this latest venture, highlighting the incredible local produce of Victoria and, in particular, that of his neighbours within the Market. 507 Elizabeth Street, Melbourne,
IDES is Melbourne’s latest addition to the degustation scene, serving a single menu of six dishes. With a chef boasting an Ezard, Royal Mail Hotel and Attica pedigree and an appetite for experimentation (check out the One Day Sunday mix-up), IDES is as excellent on paper as it is in person. Savour six courses, fine wines, an unpretentious vibe and a meal to remember. 92 Smith Street, Collingwood, VIC, 3066+61 3 9939 9542
Amaru. Opened its doors in January, serving contemporary Australian cuisine from owner and chef, Clinton McIvor (former Vue de Monde sous chef and Clayton Bowls degustation creator). Offers tasting menu and intimate setting with just 33 seats. 1121 High Street, Armadale. Tel. +61 3 9822 0144.
Embla. The team behind Town Mouse has opened wine bar come tapas diner Embla, winner of the Age Good Food Guide’s Best New Restaurant, the exciting menu is focused on modern Australian cuisine, with wines from Victoria and further afield. 122 Russell Street, Melbourne. Tel. +613 9654 5923.
Bird’s Basement. Brand new jazz notes will be filling the air this summer with the opening of Bird’s Basement jazz club. The bar is so named through its affiliation with the famous Birdland jazz club in New York City and will bring leading names from Australia and around the world to the city. The club offers both dinner and supper sittings with fine Italian dining by chef Luigi Buono. 11 Singers Lane, Melbourne.
Tetsujin. Housed at Emporium with views of Melbourne’s lanes and skyline, Tetsujin is a slice of Tokyo in town, offering Japanese BBQs and a sushi train. 4th Floor, Emporium, Entry via Caledonia Lane, Melbourne. Tel. +61 3 663 9993.
Tenpin. South East Asian flavours with a view of Port Phillip Bay, randomly named after a giant bowling pin salvaged from the now defunct Mentone Bowls. By former Mr Lawrence and Chin Chin chef, Ashley Lawrence. 67 Beach Street, Port Melbourne. Tel. +61 3 9041 3211.
Sth Central. New inner city dining destination in South Yarra, thrives on offering simple things done well, with a modern take on the traditional ‘meat and three veg.’ It is the hospitality vision of partners Tommy McIntosh and Ben Avramides. 4 Yarra Street, South Yarra. Tel. +61 3 8679 6755.
Meanwhile, Melbourne’s famous city centre laneways have been witnessing an Italian renaissance, with several new establishments opening their doors during the past six months.
A25. New all day Italian eatery with traditional offerings, sharing plates and morning espresso car. Led by owner Remo Niccolini and chef Raymond Capaldi. 399 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne. Tel +61 3 9826 2233.
Emilia. Italian trattoria, tucked away down a tiny alleyway in a space that was originally a mechanics workshop and then Gills Diner. Reinvented Italian by Con Cristopoulos, Chris Kerr and chefs Francesco Rota and Luca Flammia. 360 Little Collins Street, Melbourne. Tel. +61 3 9670 7214
Tipo-00. Named after the flour used to make pasta and has the favour of the food critics. It’s a contemporary, pasta style bar by Andreas Papadakis, Luke Skidmore and Alberto Fava. 361 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne. Tel. +61 3 9942 3946.
Melbourne inner north is home to a thriving eating and drinking scene. Smith, Brunswick and Gertrude Streets sound the heartbeat of Fitzroy and Collingwood’s culinary buzz, while neighbouring precincts such as Brunswick and Northcote are increasingly joining in.
Marion. Wine bar for serious grape lovers with bites on the side. Newest offering from Melbourne chef and restauranteur, Andrew McConnell. 53 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Tel. +61 3 9419 6262.
127 Brunswick Street. Multi-storey food and drink offering. Includes Ichi Ni Nana, a Japanese izakaya headed by ex Nobu chef Razmy Gaffer; a South East Asian restaurant and cocktail bar called Village People (by former Longrain chef Arte Assavakavinvong); and the Upside Rooftop Bar serving up tunes and outdoor drinks on the roof top. 127 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy.
Glamorama. Food, drinks and electronic music every day of the week are on offer at this new space in Fitzroy. DJs and late nights, and bites with a twist such as vegan chicken wings, lamington fried ice cream and botox pies with sauce syringes.393 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy. Tel. +61 3 9419 6380.
Crown Melbourne offers more than 40 food and wine establishments, both inside the complex and lining the Yarra River’s Southbank promenade. Two new comers recently opened their doors…
San Antone by Bludso at Crown – Texan BBQ restaurant opened late 2015, from US BBQ king Kevin Bludso. Level 1, Crown Entertainment Complex, Southbank. Tel. +61 3 9292 5777.
Dinner by Heston – Heston Blumenthal’s first restaurant outside of the UK, this new permanent restaurant follows the 2015 temporary residence of Fat Duck at Crown. 8 Whitman Street, Southbank. Tel. +61 3 9292 5777.
Melbourne’s love affair with Asian cuisine ushered in several new arrivals in recent months…
Lee Ho Fook. This former Collingwood establishment relocated to one of the city’s smallest laneways with neighbours such as Tonka, Pestuso and the new Garden State Hotel. Offering traditional Shanghai cuisine ‘supped up’ with exciting new flavours and local ingredients chef Victor Liong is a hot new talent. 11 Duckboard Place, Melbourne. Tel. +61 3 9077 6261.
Hawker Hall. Asian hawker style food and beer hall taking its inspiration from the Hawker centres of Singapore and Malaysia. From Chris Lucas, the restauranteur behind Chin Chin, Baby and Kong. 98 Chapel Street, Windsor. Tel. +61 3 8560 0090.
Toko. Open kitchen, indoor and outdoor dining, and a whisky room make up this new Japanese restaurant, based on the izakaya concept of an after work place for friends to meet for drinks and shared bites. By Matt Yazbek. 142 Greville Street, Prahan. Tel. +61 3 9521 3155.
Son in Law. Modern Thai style eatery in Collingwood named after a dish that plays upon the sometimes fiery relationship between son and mother in law. By husband and wife team Tony and Oh Rungpradit. 56 Johnston Street, Collingwood. Tel. +61 3 9410 0399.
And for the meatlovers…
Lamaro’s Bodega. Newly relaunched Spanish influenced restaurant with majority of produce sourced locally in Victoria, such as Cape Schanck Farm and Greenvale Farm. Offers ‘nose to tail’ throughout the menu. 273 Cecil Street, South Melbourne, Tel. +61 3 9690 3737.
Meatworksco. Billed as a ‘pleasureplace for meatlovers’ this restaurant comes with its own 450kg in-house wood smoker. It has recently expanded to offer breakfast, with lighter dishes such as smoked salmon pockets (egg pancake, blanched asparagus and sliced salmon). 28-30 Ross Street, South Melbourne. Tel. +61 3 9041 5727.
Lady Carolina. Latin ‘profit for purpose’ eatery celebrating the food and culture of Peru, Mexico and Cuba. Supports the Pay a Sack Forward homeless initiative and is headed by restaurateurs Paul Wilson and Alby Tomassi. 175 Lygon Street, Brunswick East. Tel. +61 3 9381 0898.
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