Kitchen 425 @ Ms Collins Location: 425 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 8614 2222 GOOD NEWS: Ms Collin’s Kitchen 425 has partnered up with Veuve Clicquot this Summer to bring you the ‘Veuve Clicquot Summer Garden’, trading Wednesday – Friday from 4pm to 9pm. The menu celebrates a unique culinary experience, with dishes drawing notes from pan Asian and contemporary Australian influences, under the consultancy of Chef Daniel Wilson (Huxtaburger). The addition of the Summer Garden means that every Wed to Friday there will be a Summer cocktail special, and a delectable food special on offer – the perfect segue-way to a fun night out on the town. On the Friday night that we attended, there were some MAD good plates of ribs and burgers (yeesss please), garden spritz cocktails and deeelicious sweet potato fries doing the rounds.
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.
Ziggy’s Eatery 195 Carlisle Street, St Kilda East, Melbourne Contact: 03 9531 4071 We stopped off on a sunny morning at Ziggy’s for a very early lunch. Knocking out burgers and their own signature sauce it’s a local that hums.
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.
Meatmother Location: 67 Swan Street, Richmond Victoria Contact: 03 9041 5393 Meatmother is back. Whilst most would be familiar with this bastion of American style low and slow protein, things have changed over in Richmond. The favourites are all still there, but tweaked with modern sensibilities, bringing the cuisine from a decadent once a year indulgence to fantastic Friday night fare.
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.
Harry’s Bar and Restaurant Location: Stamford Plaza Hotel, 111 Little Collins Street, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 9659 1592 http://www.stamford.com.au/spm The Hotel is nestled at the top end of Collins street. We came to sample the delights of their special menu: The Best of Lamb.
Bowery to Williamsburg Midtown Location: 123 Hardware Street, CBD, Melbourne 3000 Contact: 03 9077 0162 We first visited Bowery to Williamsburg back when the original New York-themed cafe opened up in Melbourne’s graffiti-laden Hosier Lane, which is located near the Paris end of Melbourne’s CBD. Serving up an incredible list of sandwiches and bagels housing slow-cooked lamb shoulder, hot smoked salmon and organic chicken, we instantly fell in love with the hearty flavours of America’s finest. Since then, Bowery to Williamsburg has also opened up shop on the other side of the city in Hardware Street, offering the same, lip-smackingly-good fare as its parent restaurant.
Arbory Location: Flinders Walk, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9621 2260 “Slow down, stay awhile” is the mantra of Melbourne’s latest bar and eatery, with Arbory opening up on the banks of the Yarra. Located next to Flinders Street’s Platform 13, the new bar stretches 120 metres long and takes up the location of an abandoned train line which was first used by Australia’s steam railway. The product of a joint venture between HQ Group (the restauranteurs behind Coffee HQ) and Metro Trains, the light-filled, airy space boasts a large wooden deck and illuminated shipping containers designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects.
Grand Trailer Park Taverna Location: Upstairs – Enter via Bourke St, 87 Bourke St Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9972 3699 With a menu that plays homage to pop culture references, it’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with Grand Trailer Park Taverna. Set above the bustle of Bourke Street, the burger, beer and milkshake joint aims to transport patrons to the US’ great outdoors – the space is set up with picnic-style tables, with little enclaves and an outdoor dining area to the back.
I am constantly astounded by the quality and diversity of food that is offered in Melbourne. Having recently returned from travelling and working overseas (where I had the pleasure of dining at quite a few Michelin-starred restaurants), I can comfortably say that Melbourne offers some of the best restaurants and cafes in the world, which, believe it or not, I much preferred over their Michelin-starred counterparts. This past month I have been very ‘busy’ re-acquainting my palette with Melbourne food. Here are a few favourites that I’d happily eat at (over and over) again: Hinoki Japanese Pantry Location: 279 Smith Street, Fitzroy, VIC 0065 Contact: 03 9417 4531 Fonda Mexican Location: 248 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9429 0085 Jinda Thai Location: 7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067 Contact: 03 9419 5899
Rockwell & Sons Location: 288 Smith St Collingwood, VIC 3066 Contact: 03 8415 0700 We’ve had our fair share of burgers, and after celebrating the taking out of Burger Adventure’s ‘best burger in Melbourne’ award earlier this year with Merrywell in Southbank (click here for coverage of that eating frenzy), we’ve been on the lookout for favourites across the ‘burbs. Rockwell & Sons is definitely a fave. Rockwell & Sons’ double patty smash burger is by far one of the best burgers we’ve had to date, and for good reason – each of these bad boys contain two juicy, tender patties wedged in between the fluffiest brioche buns. All smothered in kraft cheese and special sauce. It’s just as good as it sounds.
Prospect Espresso Location: 2a Prospect Hill Rd, Camberwell, VIC Contact: 03 9882 7359 As the traffic moves swiftly from Prospect Hill Road to Burke, Prospect Espresso’s blink-and-you’ll-miss-it appeal is nestled in a wee space, with the crew pumping out consistently excellent coffee and well-executed breakfasts. The pared-back, sun-drenched cafe has quickly become a popular place for those looking for a sweet escape from the buzz of the main shopping strip and the promise of good coffee, all served in those mint-tinted Acme & Co cups. Bliss.
Grill’d Website: http://www.grilld.com.au/ I must admit Grill’d’s introduction of its pint sized sliders garnered an Incredible Hulk impression initially with a size too small to possibly satiate my ravenous appetite. But much like the neatly formed stacks at restaurants charging by the gram, un-cloche-ing plates with more porcelain on show than actually edible elements, fulfillment was unexpected as their consumption was both flavoursome and filling.
TGIF Fridays Location: Level 3, Melbourne Central Shopping Centre A simple mention of ‘TGI Fridays’ is likely to evoke certain fond memories: friendly service, the renowned Jack Daniel’s Grill, buffalo wings, loaded potato skins and that extensive list of value-for-money cocktails. Now occupying the top floor of Melbourne Central, the latest addition to the TGI Fridays chain also offers the same fun and relaxed, family-friendly atmosphere that TGI Friday’s other outlets have offered, smack bang in the heart of this vibrant city.
Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall Location: 64-66 Acland St, St Kilda, VIC 3182 Contact: 03 9525 3755 This revamped homage to classic Southern-style food is set to catapult you into the American food scene, which has well and truly taken Melbourne by storm. Not that we’re complaining, of course: Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall have clearly put a lot of thought into perfecting what are guaranteed to be crowd-pleasers: there’s everything that one could possibly want from a Texas barbecue at this joint.
The Royale Brothers Location: 1 Church Street, Brighton Contact: 03 9005 4242 Walk up to Royale Brothers and you can be in no doubt that this would be a late night favourite. A small hole in the wall, open late in amidst a sea of day only shopping in an area with little else besides. To say that Royale Brothers is inspired by the great golden arcs, as well as perhaps one of the only G rated sequences in Pulp fiction would be a disservice. Recall if you will the taste of a quarter pounder through the rose coloured nostalgia of your very first time you ever went to McDonalds. Recall as well a first bite fuelled by an enduring hunger on a night spent imbibing the distilled, brewed or fermented. Heighted by either discovery of the new, alcohol or perhaps both, that is what a Royale with cheese tastes like.
The Merrywell Location: Cnr Clarendon St & Crown Riverside, Southbank, VIC Contact: 03 9292 7468 Simplicity is deceiving. As a student at school with an Asian mum, of course I learnt a musical instrument. Two in fact at one point. But to pre-empt any stereotypical thoughts: no, I wasn’t forced, and no I wasn’t under duress to perform like some kind of circus animal. Well, not often. But what saxophone and piano taught me, beyond the obvious, was that in simplicity there can be perfection, but it is always hard fought. The sheer effortlessness of the senior jazz band always amazed me as a novice. Jazz music looked and sounded so easy, so self-assured. But as I progressed and joined the band myself I realised that that aura of confidence and finesse came from talent, to some extent, as well as a massive amount of practice and technical ability. Simple was the result of weeks spent traversing the circle of fourths, blues, augmented and diminished scales and so on. To make it sound simple, took a fine polished skill.
Bottle of Milk Location: 52 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, VIC Contact: 03 5289 2005 On our days off we love to travel to Lorne. There’s something so beautiful about it all; the beach, the surfers eyeing the perfect wave, the kids playing in that ship of a playground. In a second it can take you blissfully away from the bustle of Melbourne, and make you feel right at ease. When we visit here, we always drop by Bottle of Milk. It’s a small yet hip eatery located at the end of the strip of shops, and they serve up some of the best burgers that we’ve tried to date.
Third Wave Location: 30 Cato St, Prahran, VIC Contact: 03 9510 2991 Capitalising on hearty American fare and high quality coffee, Third Wave is a brand spanking new cafe located in the heart of Prahan. The cafe has a wonderfully bright and open feel, and boasts renowned chef Ryo Kitahara, a protégé of Iron Chef Sakai from the popular Japanese television series. TFS was kindly invited to the cafe to try out their brunch offering, which extensively covers both American and Russian style dishes.
Father’s Office Location: 249 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9662 3798 Wander down Little Lonsdale Street and through those heavy doors and you’ll immediately be transported into the classic, suave world that is Father’s Office. Themed off the 1920s prohibition era, the charming space is split into two distinct areas – that mosaic-tiled, industrial-style bar with plush couches in tow, and that stunning dining hall, which we immediately fell in love with at first sight.