The New York City institution of the bottomless brunch has taken off in Melbourne, with cocktails served alongside smashed avocado for the ultimate hangover cure or Sunday session. Newly opened Fargo and Co in the heart of Richmond, serves endless prosecco and mimosas with brunch, every Sunday from 11am until 2pm. House of Lulu White in South Yarra does bottomless cocktails, spiked porridge and breakfast ramen, with tongue-in-cheek references to the old Paradise Girls bordello the cafe space now occupies. Gingerboy, a Melbourne mainstay in the city centre, offers a banquet brunch and all-you-can-drink mimosas, yuzu bellinis and sparkling wine.
Vegan and vegetarian restaurants have come a very long way from the uninspiring salads and limited dining options of the past. Melbourne has an increasingly wide variety of tasty, herbivore-friendly cafes that even non-vegetarians and vegans are flocking to. Matcha Mylkbar in St Kilda serves lattes in every colour under the sun, including blue algae, cacao, mushroom, charcoal, beetroot, purple peanut butter and carrot cake. Cocomama’s Juices & Smoothies in Elsternwick makes delicious smoothie bowls, fit for the environment and Instagram feeds. St Kilda Road’s vegan cafe, The Alley, promises tasty, healthy and indulgent food, Fitzroy’s Boys and Girls vegan dessert bar is a go-to for gelato and South Yarra’s newest vegan spot V. offers delicious plant-based takeaway options in a sleek and tiny venue. Superfluid is an exciting new brand to roll-out this year as a series of organic juice bars and plant-based eateries within traditional pub environments.
Craft breweries are fast becoming the hottest watering holes to gather at, for an after-work beer, date night or lengthy Sunday session. The beers are fresher and patrons get the chance to try new and limited releases other venues don’t offer. Stomping Ground Brewing Co is an independent craft brewery located in one of Australian brewing’s original stomping grounds, Collingwood. As well as the 12-20 different beers on tap, they also boast an impressive beer hall which serves great food every day of the week. More inner Melbourne craft breweries to tick off the growing list include Moon Dog Brewery & Bar, The Craft & Co, Thunder Road Brewhouse, Mountain Goat Brewery & Bar, Temple Brewing Company, Colonial Brewing Co., The Mill Brewery, Tallboy & Moose, Westside Ale Works, Hop Nation Brewing Co., Two Birds Brewing, Hawkers Beer, 3 Ravens Brewery. Hidden gem craft breweries in the suburbs include The Public Brewery in Croydon and True South in Blackrock.
No matter what hour of the day or night, the world’s most liveable city has an array of late-night food options to accommodate even the fussiest diner. Melbourne’s newest addition to the midnight dining scene is The Mayfair, a 1930s New York style supper club, serving French cuisine alongside live jazz, classic cocktails and the romantic glamour of yesteryear. The French Saloon, Melbourne Supper Club and Le Bon Ton are some of Melbourne’s hottest locations for those hankering for a night cap or midnight snack. Butcher’s Diner is a new 24-hour-a-day, seven-day-a-week eatery on Bourke Street with an American-diner style menu perfect for carnivores.
The Chris Lucas Group made modern Asian food famous and highly sought after in Melbourne with award-winning restaurants Chin Chin, Kong, Hawker Hall and Melburnians will line up for hours to devour anything under the “Asian fusion” umbrella. The newest filly in the stable is Kisume, a sleek and opulent three-storey Japanese eatery on Flinders Lane. The affection for Asian-inspired dining isn’t slowing down with new restaurants opening across Melbourne including the latest from chef-restaurateur Andrew McConnell Supernormal Canteen, modern Vietnamese eatery Annam and Thai restaurant Long Chim. Workshop Brothers, Magic Mountain Saloon, Sir Charles and Luxsmith bring Asian-inspired flavours to brunch and all-day dining.
The good old-fashioned burger never seems to go out of fashion and takeaway is more on trend than ever. Shannon Bennett is reinventing the humble beef patty at Benny Burger in Richmond, while Rockpool’s Neil Perry also celebrates the takeaway staple at Burger Project on Collins Street and Chadstone shopping centre. Paper Fish, located in a beachside kiosk at the Stokehouse precinct on St Kilda beach is a healthier, fresher alternative to traditional fish and chips, with great views to boot. The crew from Tuck Shop Take Away in Caulfield North have opened Sundae School Ice Creamery, an American-style ice-cream parlour, with classroom and religious paraphernalia throughout the shop in a light-hearted play on the name.
Raclette is one of the hottest new trends to make its way to Melbourne. The global craze where knife-wielding waiters scrape off a layer of a melted cheese round onto diners’ plates, traditionally on top of boiled potatoes and cornichons, originated in Switzerland and is now making Melbourne foodies weak at the knees. The top spots to track down this cheesy delight in Melbourne are Maker & Monger in the city centre, Harper & Blohm in Essendon, Smithward in Collingwood and the newly opened inner city slick basement bar Juliet on Little Bourke Street. For a truly authentic experience, the Swiss Club of Victoria on Flinders Lane serves raclette Monday – Friday.
All day dining
Diners are increasingly hungry for venues that offer everything from breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, to dinner, drinks and dessert - all under one roof. The exquisite Higher Ground offers innovative fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Lello Pasta Bar is Melbourne’s newest all-day Italian restaurant in the heart of the city, Bang Bang At The Rifle Club in Elsternwick is an indoor-outdoor eatery with French Indochina cuisine. Abacus Bar & Kitchen is Chapel Street’s latest hot spot for all-day dining, while French steakhouse and cafe Entrecote offers breakfast dishes until 3pm, and takeaway coffee and croissants from their petit à emporter (take-away) window, and, of course, steak frites until late.
True foodies will seek out the latest craze in baked goods no matter how detrimental they are for the waistline. Filled pastries are the newest obsession for sweet tooths and LuxBite in South Yarra is the place to get them - they bake buttery, flaky, croissants with whipped durian cream filling. The famous Lune Croissanterie, Rustica Sourdough and Agathe Patisserie also make Melbourne’s best and most creative croissants, cruffins and pastries. Filled doughnuts are still a favourite with Nutella, salted caramel, lemon curd and jam topping the list. The best indulgent morsels can be found at Zumbo, Cobb Lane Bakery, Tivoli Road Bakery, Shortstop Coffee & Donuts and Bistro Morgan.
Meat in Melbourne
Specialty butchers, charcuteries and meat-focused eateries continue to be a mainstay in Melbourne, with carnivores keen for the latest and greatest quality meat, whether eating out or cooking at home. At Andrew McConnell and Troy Wheeler’s newly opened Meatsmith in St Kilda, the fancy marble-countered space is more meat emporium than traditional snag shop. Fancy Hank’s serves American-style, slow cooked barbecue, using the finest quality free-range meats, located on an impressive rooftop in the heart of Melbourne’s city centre. Meat Market restaurant at South Wharf, is dedicated to serving pasture fed beef from some of Australia’s best producers.
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