While it can be tough getting out of holiday mode and into the swing of things right through January, what with the sun beating down and all, the entrepreneurial bar, cafe and restaurant owners of Melbourne have been hard at it over the New Years, opening up a raft of new distractions for us.
Here are our top 12 picks for new Melbourne restaurants, cafes and bars.
Magic Mountain Saloon | Melbourne CBD
We love the Asian-fusion food and cocktails at Cookie, so we pounced on the new venue from co-owners Camillo Ippoliti and chef Karen Batson, the brains behind The Toff in Town, Boney and Revolver Upstairs. Magic Mountain Saloon, perched at the top end of Little Collins, is one of our favourite new restaurant-bars in Melbourne, and they’ll be open for brekkies, right through to fab late night feeds. All industrial chic, it fills up fast.
Belleville | Melbourne CBD
We love chook and we love hot new bars, so Globe Alley’s Belleville, tucked just off the Chinatown strip, is a winner. Open seven days a week, 11am-1pm, Belleville serves up rotisserie chicken quarter, half or whole, with sauce as hot or not as you can go and sides like slaw, chips or corn. The guys behind Section 8, Ferdydurke and B-East will be shaking up some cocktails to wash it all down.
Sun Moth Canteen & Bar | Melbourne CBD
An easy 10 minute walk from the Chinatown hood, Niagra Lane’s Sun Moth Canteen & Bar opened late last year and is a great spot for a good feed or sneaky drink. From the team behind South Melbourne’s Dead Man Espresso, a dinky kitchen means simple feeds with damn fine coffee (though filter only, sans espresso machine). Open for brekkie through dinner, the sleek bright space also offers craft beers and natural, low interference wines.
Dex2rose | Melbourne CBD
Fancy pants ice cream, aka gelato, is all the rage these days, and Dex2rose brings that buzz right into the heart of the city on Little Bourke Street. Some of the crazy flavour combinations on offer in their ace gelato creations include lemongrass and mango sorbet with chilli salt, or the devilish peanut butter with goober grape jelly.
N2 Extreme Gelato | Melbourne CBD
Also in the CBD, the N2 Extreme Gelato empire is on the move again with a brand new outpost in Sutherland Street tucked behind Melbourne Central. Scooping up some of Melbourne’s best ice cream, the N2 guys are mad scientists at work creating crazy new flavours and whipping the indulgent treats up with liquid nitrogen for a super-smooth sensation. Try out the awesome Picnic flavour with milk choc, caramelised peanuts, puffed rice and marshmallows.
Code Black Coffee | North Melbourne
We love our coffee fix in this city, and North Melbourne’s Code Black Coffee is a great new addition to the scene, expanding on the existing Brunswick roastery. Despite the name, the newbie is a big, bright warehouse space dishing out constantly revolving, seasonal blends to wash down tasty cafe fare including a hearty Ploughman’s lunch.
Yo-Chi | Hawthorn
The seemingly never-ending march of the frozen yoghurt light brigade continues apace with this latest Yo-Chi outlet on Hawthorn’s Glenferrie Road. Combining great flavours like lemon cream cheese torte and slated peanut butter with almost zero fat, it’s like some kind of dark yoghurty magic. We’re fine with that.
Entrecôte | South Yarra
Melbourne hospitality legend, Jason M Jones, is taking on Melbourne’s best French cuisine with his latest venture, Entrecôte. Picking up tips from a recent trip to Paris’s jumping steak and frites joint L’Entrecote, where queues are always out the door, this venture will stick to that simple rules behind that success, mainly focusing on great steak and chips care of Hopkins River Beef.
Pinchy’s | Elwood
Sometimes the best things in life are for a short, not a long time, as is the case with this Elwood Beach pop-up lobster shack with the hilariously appropriate title Pinchy’s. As well as the delicious lobster rolls, they also offer delicious fresh juices and set up mighty fun beach party games, too. If you can’t beat the fantastic Melbourne food truck craze, join ‘em we say.
Phamily Kitchen | Collingwood
Michael Pham, the owner of Smith Street’s latest Vietnamese bolthole, Phamily Kitchen wants to put the emphasis on fresh family fare from his childhood memories and exciting street fare. Expanding on the lunch heroes of previous outing Tiny, there will be a smattering of Thai flavours, too, from chef Alex Kaewprapran. Expect big queues for a fine fusion feed.
B’Stilla Cantina | Fitzroy
After a brief hiccup delayed the opening last year, chef Jason Jones’ Brunswick Street Moroccan joint B’Stilla Canteen is open for business. You can go a Moroccan banquet and let the guys work out a menu for your gang, or share plates like lamb Mechoui with honey naked prunes or fish tagine with mussels. Offering one of the best feeds in town, expect to have to hustle for a seat.
G&Tea Gin Garden | Fitzroy
We love gin and we love tea, now we can get them both combined in the latest venture from The Rum Diary Bar’s Hamish Goonetilleke and Laura Rosadoni, Fitzroy's G&Tea Gin Garden. Kicking off with 60 gins on offer in this great garden party venue, there are plans to expand that to 200, with only the finest tonics with which to mix ‘em. The Green Tea cocktail will make the most of the high tea theme, with delightful nibbles like apple and pork sausage rolls and gin-soaked cucumber and mint sandwiches served on cake tiers.
Image credit: Meld magazine