It’s been a long, hot, weird old summer. But unless you’ve been on some sort of media ban, you’ll be aware that football is indeed back this weekend—which means the colder months are just around the corner.
Given it’s been many months since you’ve screamed your lungs out at an umpire, you’re probably not in peak screaming condition. But a pre-game feed will definitely address this weakness.
So whether you’re heading to the MCG or Etihad, here are the best places to eat within walking distance.
Sitting adjacent to the Corner Hotel (if you’re in need of a pre-game beer), Botherambo serves up some of the most delicious noodle salads, dumplings, curries and local produce-driven meat dishes in Richmond. Botherambo one of the best restaurants in Melbourne for getting your fill of Vietnamese and Thai food
Another location from the Botherambo team, Mahalo is one of the newest players on Swan Street. Set yourself up for a pre-game meal of crispy soft-shell crab with jalapeno Sriracha cream, or even grab a burger on a Hawaiian sweet bun with some Japanese-inspired fries on the side.
Meatball & Wine Bar
Besides a burger or a parma, meatballs could be the next best thing for a pre-footy feed—and as their name suggests, Meatball & Wine Bar do it best. Choose from meat, poultry or veg meatballs and pick something for your balls to sit on. You can even grab one of their well-known Whoopie Macs where you can choose which biscuit, and which ice cream you’d prefer to tear into.
Feast Of Merit
If you’re after a middle-eastern inspired meal then Feast Of Merit is definitely your destination. Sort your group out with organic slow cooked lamb, spiced Milawa free-range chicken, whole line-caught fish or pork belly and crackling, with yoghurt milk and chermoula oil. There’s a massive range of vegetarian options on offer as well, and you can even quench your thirst at their rooftop bar.
Traditional Greek cuisine with a twist is what’s in store for you at Bahari. The likes of slow roasted lamb shoulder, pulled pork and greek salads make up parts of the menu. And when you couple that with starters like saganaki and char-grilled octopus you’ve got yourself the perfect evening starter.
While we’re on the subject of meat, if you’re in the Richmond area you definitely can’t go past Meatmother. With a new look and a new menu, you’ll be able to fill all your American BBQ needs. Grab your meat in a bun, or have it naked—the 12-hour smoked brisket is nothing short of legendary. Wash it all down with their selection of craft beers, or go a bit left field and order the Bacon Sour.
A souvlaki might just be the perfect pre-game snack, and if you’re going to indulge you may as well do it at GAZI. Grab a souvlaki staple like the chicken or beef, or take on the duck, crab or onion bhaji version. There are plenty of other options from the grill as well, like the baby snapper, or a 300gm Cape Grim scotch fillet.
Expect some share-style dishes coming your way at Mama Rumaan, like the Mdardara with long grain rice, lentil pilaf, traditional herbs and spices with caramelised onions. The felafel burger is a great choice before slipping across the road to Etihad, and will help quell any disappointment you’ll feel if your team gets thrashed.
Toasta & Co.
If you’re after something quick, then look no further than Toasta & Co. Selling all the faves you’re used to from both the Toasta and Von Crumb food trucks, you’ll have no problem finding something to fill that gap in your stomach here. How about the Mack, which contains a cheese blend, mac & cheese and caramelised onion, you can even add pulled pork for a couple of extra gold coins.
A Panini might be the order of the day if you’ve got the early game, and Saluministi has them in spades. Go for the Cotoletta with crumbed free-range pork loin, vincotto mayo, coleslaw and provolone dole; or the Calamari with fried calamari, salsa verde, rocket and tartare.
Open late from Thursday through to Saturday, Higher Ground has you sorted for any meal of the day. The team behind The Kettle Black and Top Paddock have put together a great menu featuring the likes of slow cooked beans with green sauce or pea and spinach, poached eggs, goats feta, croutons and pine nuts, or the lamb sausage roll served with a cucumber pickle, garlic and anchovy mayonnaise.
None of these great places taking your fancy? Well, luckily you can find every other venue worth going to right here.
Image credit: Mahalo Poké | Jess Prince