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).
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.
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.
Ms Collins Location: 425 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: Bookings contact (03) 8614 2222 during business hours. For after work group package bookings or information, contact email@example.com After work drinks just got more fun! Ms Collins has just launched the Acoustic Kitchen, which means Friday nights just got a whole lot better. The huge bar, restaurant and club now features an acoustic live band from 6-8pm, every Friday.
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.
45 Degrees Pizza Location: 33 Bridge Road, Richmond, VIC Contact: 03 9429 5577 For traditional pizzas with a twist, one can’t go past 45 Degrees Pizza. The newly opened pizzeria joint is a celebration of Melbourne’s hip hop culture, with custom graffiti splashed across the walls and an open kitchen format that gives diners a view of the pizza making process, where pizza chefs don Run-DMC-esque uniforms while whipping up hearty pizzas to the tune of hip hop. 45 Degrees’ owners have been careful to craft a unique space and pizza offering that turns the traditional pizza topping on its head. The outcome is a cheeky menu which truly celebrates Melbourne’s multiculturalism, borrowing snippets of flavour from various countries and their favourite dishes from across the world.
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.
Hanaichi Location: 245 Little Lonsdale St Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9662 9409 Known for serving a range of donburis at lightning speed, Hanaichi is one of those places you go to when you’re tight for time and are in need of a meal that won’t make a dent on the wallet. Options are limited to comfort-food favourites such as chicken or pork curry dons, tempura and bowls of heart-warming udon.
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
Lazerpig Pizza Parlour Location: 9-11 Peel St, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Contact: (03) 9417-1177 We rarely find pizza that’s on par with 400 Gradi + DOC, but Lazerpig is firmly up in the same ranks. The dough is light and fluffy; the toppings not too heavy or sparse. The margherita is dangerously delicious and addictive, and (dare we say it), better than Gradi’s version. Watch out kids!
Shortstop Donuts Location: 12 Sutherland St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Jimmy Grants Location: 113 St David St Fitzroy VIC 3065 Two things these places share in common: they’re fast, convenient, and bang-on delicious. Shortstop’s crullers are simply to die for (though expect the honey x sea salt variety to be quite, well, salty; it’s not for everyone). And though the cinnamon donut looks much less jam-packed than some of the other varieties, it’s a must!
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.
Bourbon Street Order at: http://bourbonstreet.com.au/ Tough day at work? Got them Southern food cravings? Bourbon Street’s lunch delivery service is up and running, and boy do these kids deliver. The menu is short and sweet, with slow-cooked sandwiches and bowls done well, and a few quirky sides (melt-in-your-mouth kale chips and candied walnuts, anyone?). The ordering process itself is no fuss: order online, and your meal will be on wheels in no time. Heck, they even send you a lovely SMS update to tell your when your feed is almost at its destination. Can’t get any more convenient than that.
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.
Frolic Yoghurt Fitzroy Location: 365 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Contact: 03 9417 0097 Finally summer seems tantalisingly within our reach, and with that T and I were delighted to accept an invitation to drop by and savour all things froyo at Frolic Frozen Yoghurt, Fitzroy. Step in and you can’t help pausing to admire the feature wall – custom artwork sprawled across bare brick, so fitting and at home at its residence on Brunswick Street. Traverse further in, past the toppings bar (oh, so many choices – don’t worry, we’ll come back to that) and you’re ready to get down to business.
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.
Rose Garden BBQ Location: 435 Elizabeth St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9329 1560 Upon entering Rose Garden, you’ll immediately notice just how packed it is.Small tables and wooden chairs are squished closely together, the chatter of diners within quickly fills the room with noise, and extracts of the menu are plastered across the bright orange walls.
Saltwater Grill Fish & Burger Bar Location: 93 Dundas Place, Albert Park, VIC 3206 Contact: 03 9690 8969 I’m loving the perfect weather that Melbourne has been sporting these last couple of days. And there’s nothing better than to spend sunny arvos away near the beach, nomming away at fish and chips whilst a hoard of chirpy seagulls eye you off.Saltwater Grill is perfect for that plus more; your traditional fish and chips with a bit of finesse, and I love it.