From vegan soft serve and meat-free hamburgers to genuine Thai washed down with regional whiskey, 2017 sees Melbourne deliver more of the goods when it comes to eating out– from inner-city Hawthorn’s all day breakfast hot spots to late night feeds in outer suburbs like Coburg; Melbourne continues to be a food lover’s dream!
Great Dining (Spaces)
While 2016 was obsessed with the Uberisation of home delivery, with users signed up and eager to order everything online from wraps in their lunch cafes around the corner to doughnuts from across the city at 3 am; this year delivery from food operators without a physical existence will be similarly huge news.
Taking a leaf from David Chang’s book– his Ando delivery service has changed food delivery in the big apple– Endulj resembles a virtual dining establishment, where you can follow MoVida’s patatas riojana with chorizo with Lee Ho Fook’s sweet and sour pork and finish with Saigon Sally’s popular Tirami-Sally, while drinking matched wines. Expect more of these virtual eateries to spring up as there are already four more planned around Melbourne this year alone. Soon a quite night in might become classier than eating out (Netflix and Dinner Party anyone?)
The Main Course
When even coffee shops are propagating the sharing act, you realise it’s time to push back for the right to order our own personal plates. We are more commonly witnessing the line “our menu is developed for sharing being used which is short-hand for “our chef’s will send exactly what they desire when they desire” with a senseless assault of food– frequently portioned in 3’s– scrambling for area on the table. The remedy: You could head further out of the city to somewhere like the Yarra Valley Wineries, get pissed and enjoy the fact that they still offer menu choices at their on-site breakfast restaurants when you wake up hung-over the next day… Or as a simpler solution, you could check out Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, the new Stokehouse, Philippe and Roxborough in St Kilda where you can pick and choose everything from entrée through to dessert!
Though the coffee through mixed drinks design is absolutely nothing brand-new and we’ve witnessed diners watch the sunrise windows of their breakfast restaurant become sunset as the entire setting around them becomes a high-end restaurant for dinner (Hairy Canary in the city was doing the 7 am through 3 am thing 20 years earlier)– we’re seeing an increasing variety of places serving breakfast through supper with genuine creativity and flair.
Such locations as South Yarra’s St Central and Greater Ground in the city have just recently gained a new competitor in Gilson on Domain Rd (from Jamie and Loren McBride of Armadale’s Mammoth) and “espresso and wine bar” Napier Quarter in Fitzroy, while bar/coffeehouse/eatery Harvest, helmed by young chef Tim Martin, is set up to open in South Yarra next month.
When Calia opens at Emporium later on this month, we’ll invite our very first “grocerant” which is a mix of a dining establishment and retailer, where dining establishments offer the fresh ingredients they prepare.
Eataly– which began in Italy now has shops throughout Asia and the Americas– is the most popular and has presented the formula to world-beating success, while at Calia, Michelin-starred chef Francisco Javier Araya will develop a Japanese menu to be consumed in-store, or prepared in the kitchen at home. Sustainable seafood provider Mark Eather will solely provide his ike-jime fish for retail sale, in a very first– and win– for the eager cook in your home.
Mentioning fish, anticipate seeing significantly creative approaches to the simple fish and chip, with “healthy” or at least “upmarket” variations emerging. Leading the charge tempura coated blue grenadier with sweet potato cakes at Paper Fish. Then by midyear, we’ll see Smith and Chips, the classy chipper, and we anticipate many more to leap aboard the great fish and chip ship prior to November when it begins to warm up again.
No matter what your food vibe is, be sure to check out all the new restaurants popping up around Melbourne and the surrounding areas this year… You’re bound to find a new local gem!