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New spring eats in Victoria

/ 25 Sep 2017
From a wine bar championing female winemakers, to a pasta bar where foraged ingredients take centre stage. Here are some of the best new openings worth loosening the belt for.


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 Somm La 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.

Bar Carolina
October is the month and South Yarra is the place for Il Bacaro and Sarti restaurateur Joe Mammone's Bar Carolina, a sophisticated, contemporary bar and restaurant set to revive Italian bistro-style dining in the area, 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.

Set to open in early October, 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.

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 St, 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.

Juliet Melbourne
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.

In addition to accommodation and conferencing facilities, when it opens its doors in late October, Sage Hotel in outer-eastern Ringwood, will showcase produce from the neighbouring Yarra Valley at modern European/Asian restaurant, Partake. It will also highlight the region’s wineries, breweries and distilleries at its High & Dry Bar.
211 Maroondah Highway, Ringwood. Ph: +61 3 8845 1100.

Renowned chef Donovan Cooke (Atlanic) with Alex Law will open Ryne in October. Together they promise a contemporary spin on classic French cuisine - just for dinner, Tuesday to Saturday. Their 60-seat restaurant includes spring inspired entrees, mains and desserts 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.

The Terrace
Commercial Road, South Yarra will see a new addition to its happening bar scene, when Paul Wilson’s Terrace opens its doors in early October 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 Canteen
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 still featuring the old 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 contemporary Turkish restaurant from Murat Ovaz is opening in South Yarra. Departing from Tulum in Balaclava, Ovaz's latest venture will continue to share a modern approach to Turkish-influenced cuisine that Melbournians have grown to love. The menu will showcase 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.


Supernormal Canteen

Regional Victoria

The Church House Gourmet Retreat
Located in Gippsland’s Fish Creek, three hours drive from the city, luxury accommodation provider Church House Gourmet Retreat takes Bed and Breakfast to a whole new level, also providing gourmet dinners that showcase local produce, and are matched with some of the region’s best wines. Paddock-to-plate is taken literally here, with most of the food served coming from the grounds of Church House’s 20-acre property.
25 Wirilda Way, Fish Creek, Ph: +61 413 940 501.

Gourmet Paddock
A beautifully ambitious venue adding to the Mornington Peninsula's culinary credentials, just an hour away from Melbourne, opens this October. Gourmet Paddock is a restaurant to retail concept, with the capability and style to serve over and above what’s expected. From fish monger to butcher, deli to take home meals, wine bar to artisan coffee, restaurant to take away – this new eatery will deliver everything at the highest quality.
2-8 Russell Street, Balnarring.

Inverleigh Cellar and Kitchen
Inverleigh Cellar and Kitchen in owner and Chef Matt Dempsey's new iteration of the successful fine dining restaurant Gladioli - The site of acclaimed Inverleigh restaurant Gladioli (which closed in September), just an hour from Melbourne, has commenced trading as Inverleigh Cellar and Kitchen. With a focus on European cuisine, the new venture will focus strongly on charcuterie, handmade pastas and smoked goods. Two ‘chefs selection’ menus will also be available and there will be an extensive list of wines available for both take away or to drink in.
14 High Street, Inverleigh. Ph: + 61 3 5265 1111.

Lyons Will Estate
The Lyons Will Estate vineyards were established more than 20 years ago, but were taken over by winemakers Oliver Rapson and Renata Morello in 2013. Since taking over the vineyard, the winery has almost doubled in size and now produces new varietals Gamay and Riesling, just an hour's drive from Melbourne. Last month saw the opening of a cellar door which is open to the public every fourth weekend and by appointment.
60 Whalan’s Track, Lancefield. Ph: +61 3 412 681 940.

Point Leo Estate
Set to open in November, the 110 seat Point Leo Restaurant is part of Point Leo Estate, a family-owned and operated property that sits on 333 acres overlooking Western Port Bay, only an hour away from the city. It encompasses a vineyard specialising in cool-climate varieties, an architect-designed restaurant and cellar door, as well as what will be Australia’s foremost sculpture park. Culinary Director Phil Wood has been working closely with local producers to develop a food offering that represents the diversity of the Mornington Peninsula region.
3649 Frankston - Flinders Road, Merricks.

St Andrews Beach Brewery
Opening in December 2017, St Andrews Beach Brewery is also located on the spectacular Mornington Peninsula. The brewery is situated on a 92-acre property, just over an hour's drive from Melbourne, which was once home to one of Australia’s premier horse training facilities. The old horse training stables have been transformed into a state of the art brewery and the race track is now an apple orchard. Visitors can enjoy a variety of freshly brewed beer and share a delicious tasting plate or wood fire pizza.
160 Sandy Road, Fingal. Ph: + 61 402 233 354.

Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel
Set to open mid October, Wickens at Royal Mail Hotel (RMH) is the much-anticipated new restaurant for the Royal Mail Hotel in the Grampians, three hours' drive from Melbourne. The new restaurant will offer five and eight course menu options that showcase produce grown in RMH’s kitchen garden farms. It will feature a Chef’s Table for up to four guests who will be seated in the kitchen and a walk-through wine corridor showcasing a selection of the hotel’s extensive wine cellar. Other changes on the property include a renovation to its casual diner, Parker Street Project, a new wine bar with a specially curated snack menu; and a redeveloped reception area complete with guest lounge and retail space.
98 Parker Street, Dunkeld. Ph: +61 3 5577 2241.

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