New Shanghai Various locations: Emporium Melbourne, Level Three, 287 Lonsdale Street, CBD, Melbourne + Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone, Melbourne Contact: 03 9994 9386 (CBD) / 03 9973 9483 (Chadstone) Disclaimer: Sponsored article Those who know me well will know that I am OBSESSED with dumplings. Whether it’s fried, steamed, savoury or sweet, you name it – I’ll (probably) like it. And when it is done well, boy does it make a whole world of a difference. Enter New Shanghai. Just like the heritage of one of our favourite dumpling joints, Din Tai Fung, at the heart of New Shanghai are ancient family recipes learned in Shanghai and passed down from generation to generation. These ancient recipes are the base of a sumptuous spread of Shanghai-style soup dumplings (called ‘xiao long bao’ after the bamboo steaming baskets they are traditionally prepared in), noodles, bubbling hot pots, and pan-fried buns. Each of these can all be enjoyed while viewing New Shanghai’s live dumpling-making theatre (thanks to an open kitchen).
Arbory Location: Flinders Walk, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 8648 7644 Taking up residence in Finders Street Station’s disused Sandridge Line, Arbory bar and eatery boasts stunning views of Melbourne’s Yarra River, good booze and scrumptious bar food. The slick, 150m deck means getting a seat is (generally) not an issue, although Friday nights are known to draw large crowds. The delicious menu by Raúl Moreno Yagüe (ex-Vue de Monde) is wine-centric (think crispy pork belly and fried calamari), and there are some gorgeous rosés, pinot gris, Mornington Peninsula pale ales, Golden Axe ciders and Brooklyn lagers to keep all alcohol enthusiasts happy.
Mr Mister Cafe 161 Chapel Street, Windsor, Melbourne Contact: 03 9529 3902 Mr Mister is open on the busy Chapel street strip. Their courtyard is a delight, a secluded place to bask in the morning sun and recharge.
Middletown Location: 229 High Street, Prahran, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9530 2288 Middletown, the name of Prahran’s latest cosy hideout, is based of the persona of the Dutchess of Cambridge; royal, but close to the people. It’s all part of the vision of co-owners Randy Dhamanhuri and Valerie Fong, the same duo behind Operator 25, which has quickly become one of Melbourne CBD’s most frequented cafes. The duo have created another luxurious nest in this feel-good space with sophisticated, delicious and healthy meals.
Juno and May 662 Burke Road, Camberwell, Melbourne Contact: 03 8840 8006 Juno and May have transformed a large complex space into a series of areas with different textures. The bright light, light stained wood brunch front leads to the luxurious dark back area, with a great high function area above. We dropped in at night to taste their asian inspired dinner menu
The Crux and Co Location: 35 Albert Road, South Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9820 1081 South Melbourne’s newest addition to the brunch rotation is a massive, 110-seater space with a killer menu and round the clock fresh pastries. It’s one of those places that, despite only opening a month ago, is already a hub of activity and still somewhere that is intimate enough to encourage visitors to sit for a while and enjoy the surroundings. Owner Kevin Li (who also brought us Lights in the Attic) and manager James Julian have designed the space to be somewhere that visitors can lounge and relax, without the pressure of being pushed out. That means light-filled spaces with wooden features and pot plants throughout, and service that focuses on making patrons feel like they’re at home.
Grub Food Van Location: 87-89 Moor Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria Contact: 03 9877 5102 Grub Food Van is refreshing change amongst a sea of clean, minimalist designer cafe’s that litter every suburb. Decorated by the owners themselves, it feels much like stepping into their house, which is apt as it was their rather expansive abode. The garden is served by the gleaming bodied Airstream, perfect for summer days or nights, whilst the warm greenhouse is filled with light and plant life, heated heartily from the fireplace. As if to top it all off, it’s also dog friendly inside so people and their pooches aren’t shivering outside. Grub Food Van’s pastry chef even makes biscuits for well behaved canine guests.
Tim Ho Wan Location: 206 Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne Those who have traveled through Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur will be familiar with dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan. Founded by acclaimed dim sum chef Mak Kwai Pui (Le Meridian, Lung King Heen), the original 19-seat restaurant was awarded a Michelin star after just one year of opening in 2009 and, since then, the restaurant chain has taken the place as the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. We headed in to celebrate the launch of their latest monthly specials, which includes a serve of prawn and chive dumplings with a kick of chilli, crispy pork noodles and golden tofu.
Little Woodpecker Location: 55 Katrina Street, Blackburn, Melbourne, Victoria Contact: 03 9877 5102 Fresh and new, Little Woodpecker is nestled down a side street in a little row of local shops. With a clean uncluttered interior and a corner spot, there’s plenty of places to soak up what’s left of the winter sun.
Deliveroo www.deliveroo.com.au Now that the weather’s started to cool down, I’ve become somewhat of a homebody. Friday nights out on the town have been quickly traded in for the intense sport of couch potato-ing, with a piping hot mug of hot chocolate, a rug, House of Cards and and my favourite home delivery on rotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out (and us Melbournians are well and truly spoilt with choice when it comes to dining and drinking destinations with impeccable service), however there are times where I’d rather just stay in and either cook a healthy meal or grab some takeaway and, in Pretty Woman style, ‘veg out’.
Street Talk Espresso Location: 710 High Street, Armadale, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9509 9687 Dean Fourtzis has created a warm and inviting cafe with a simple ethos of quality coffee, excellent food and personable service. Hiding away from the main High Street drag in Armadale, the intimate venue focuses on delicious meals and snacks, often with Greek and Middle Eastern influences. Coffee is a focus here, with Dean roasting his own coffee for service in house. The 5th avenue house blend is available exclusively at Street Talk, while other batches are available for wholesale.
The Stables of Como Location: Corner Williams Road & Lechlade Avenue, South Yarra & Toorak, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9827 6886 Set amongst the lush surrounds of the heritage-listed Como House and gardens in South Yarra, The Stables of Como brings a surprisingly relaxed, country-style space to one of inner-city Melbourne’s poshest suburbs. The cafe itself occupies the old stables of the gardens; a light and airy, white-washed space that sprawls out into a plush green courtyard and manicured greens. Dogs are welcome (expect to see a few insta-famous pups on the weekend) and one should expect a wait – it seems like everyone is aware that this spot is a bit of bliss on a sunny afternoon.
East Ivy Location: 6 Burton Crescent, Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Melbourne Contact: 03 9499 8186 One of the East’s best cafes is (in, mind you, true Melbournian style) hiding in a street off a main road in a non-descript building in Ivanhoe. For those in the know, the cafe, East Ivy, brings all the finesse of its sister restaurant Lux Foundry to the fore, and then some. The all day menu is accessible as ever, aiming for broad appeal with a blend of Melbournian brekkie staples as well as a few unique touches. Coffee is by Proud Mary, teas by Larsen & Thompson (yes please), and the food is reliably good. All of the things one would expect from a crew who clearly know the brunch game back to front.
Meatball and Wine Bar Location: 135 Flinders Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9654 7545 Most of you would be familiar with the Meatball and Wine Bar. Melbourne’s first artisan meatball restaurant, which launched in the CBD and has now expanded to three outlets across Melbourne, has quickly become renowned for its highly customisable meatball offering, which includes balls of the beef, chicken, pork, fish and vegetable varieties. Once you’ve picked your balls, ordering is a simple affair – add a hearty, creamy or light sauce and something for your balls to sit on (who can go past a good ol’ mash?) and voila, you’ve got yourself one lip-smacking meal.
Anchor Milk www.anchordairy.com.au Anchor Milk is redefining the way we look at milk. The company, which launched in Australia in February this year, is the first in Australia to employ the use of microfiltration technology – a unique process which allows the removal of 99 per cent of the bacteria in milk. While unwelcome bacteria in pasteurised milk is not harmful, it can impact the taste and shelf-life of milk. The unique filtration process that Anchor Milk uses results in a beautifully fresh tasting product with a substantially longer shelf-life than normal pasteurised milk (21 days versus the typical 15 day shelf-life of regular milk).
400 Gradi Location: 99 Lygon Street, Brunswick, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9380 2320 By the time Johnny Di Francesco of Melbourne’s 400 Gradi was 17 years old, he was already managing his own pizza section at a restaurant in Carlton and had been making pizzas for over 5 years. This was, of course, all while Di Francesco was studying an electronics engineering degree at university; determined to pursue his passion in the kitchen, Di Francesco would attend university during the day, and then continue to work in the pizza restaurant at night.
Le Petit Prince Location: 1a Mercer Road, Armadale Victoria Contact: 03 9824 6404
Royal Stacks Location: 470 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9620 0296 Melbourne’s latest burger joint, Royal Stacks, may have just opened it doors on the Spencer end of Collins Street, but the soon-to-be Melbourne institution is already kicking up a buzz with burger fanatics. Drawing on US influences and the expertise of resident burger guru, Dani Zeini (the same geniuses who brought us Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Dandenong Pavilion, Easey’s and Truck Stop Deluxe), Royal Stacks manages to deliver on all of the things that a Shake Shack-inspired burger chain must, and then some. That means a lip-smacking menu of premium ‘stacked’ burgers, served with the option of jazzing it all up just the way you like, with add-ons including the usual extra patty and extending to a sinful deep fried mac and cheese croquette. Bless.
Kirk’s Wine Bar Location: 50 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: (03) 9600 4550 One of the things that I love the most about blogging is being able to meet the passionate brains behind some pretty smashing local produce. All of us here at TFS already regularly use Cobram Estate’s olive oils in our cooking (SERIOUSLY, if you haven’t tried it, that gold-labelled, black-bottled hojiblanca magic is guaranteed to turn ANY mediocre salad into a plate of bliss), so it was a resounding ‘hell yes’ when we were asked to pop over to an intimate olive oil tasting at Kirk’s Wine Bar with Cobram Estate CEO Rob McGavin.
Fitzrovia Location: 155 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9537 0001 It doesn’t feel quite right to call Fitzrovia a cafe. Yes, the St Kilda eatery serves stellar brunches and a well thought out dinner service, however the combination of unique, homely touches and luxe comfort food make the whole experience of dining at Fitzrovia more akin to being invited for dinner at a lavish house party, rather than within the walls of a restaurant itself. It’s a distinguishing feature, and a wonderful reminder that friendly service and atmosphere play as much a part in contributing to repeat business as does getting the menu right.
Laneway Greens Location: 242 Flinders Lane, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 9639 0619 We’re not usually ones to rave on about salad bars. Don’t get me wrong – E and myself eat pretty healthy 80% of the time (yes, we do have to actively combat the
damage positive effects that food writing has on our bodies), and the nature of our working hours means that we frequent salad bars such as Crisp and Famish’d two to three times a week. However, I can’t say that we’ve ever been head over heels in love with an eatery whose main offering is salad.
Enter Laneway Greens.
Nestled in Flinders Lane and Wedged in between the buzz of Swanston and Elizabeth Streets, this salad, smoothie and juice bar delivers haute greens, with a conscious commitment to feeding diners with thoughtful flavour pairings and seasonal ingredients. Each offering has been mindfully crafted, with items like the wombok chicken slaw a light take on the Thai chicken larb gai. Then there’s Korean-influenced chargrilled beef bowl, which comes with a healthy bed of cauliflower rice and lashings of kimchi.