Holy heck, Listers! This month has been truly BONKERS with a smorgasbord of new Melbourne bars and restaurants opening. Some we’ve been anticipating for yonks—hello Tokyo Tina!—while others have stealthily opened without a hint of fanfare.
But enough talking—it’s time to sip and eat your way around our hit list of the shiny new Melbourne restaurants and bars you NEED to check out before Feb is done and dusted!
Malvern has welcomed new Italian restaurant, bar, deli and art space, Sagra. The beautiful Glenferrie Road space is the perfect spot for rooftop drinks, or grabbing a group of friends and indulging in authentic Italian food, including the rotating selection of sagra.
Northside cheese heads now have a new hang, with Shifty Chèvre’s arrival on Brunswick Street. A cheese-lovin’ café by day, it shifts into a bar by night, where you can enjoy local and imported cheeses with a drop or two of the good stuff. Feast on a cheese board, pick some up for a picnic, or a late night feast in your own home.
The café kicks off at 9am, serving brekkie and lunch. The twist? ALL dishes are made with cheese. Holy Brie-sus, Listers! Naturally, there’s a cracking Croque Monsieur, or perhaps you’d prefer the Blue Orchard Salad with Australian Blue Cheese served with marinated veggies, ham, pear, walnuts and balsamic reduction?
New to the 3181 ‘hood comes Tokyo Tina, from the inimitable crew behind Viet-sweets Hanoi Hannah and Saigon Sally. The new Japanese eatery is dishing out a killer ramen and Japanese cuisine with a twist—don’t expect to see sushi, sashimi or tempura.
Rupert is a new Collingwood bar that’s making waves with the cool kids. Purportedly mixing the best espresso martini in Melbourne (them’s fighting words!), with a great local craft beer selection and menu designed for sharing, we reckon they're onto a winner.
Another new Melbourne bar to get excited about is Chinatown’s Union Electric. With patron saint Bill Murray watching you from the exposed brick walls, sip on the delicious $13 cocktails and settle in for good times and great conversation. Named after the Union Electric Lighting Company previously housed in the laneway, the 1891 building has been refurbed to look super cool, but maintains a historic charm. There’s also an outdoor area for al fresco fun.
And how could be forget The Fat Duck?! Here for a good time, not a long time, this is Melbourne fine dining at its pinnacle. Ballot-only, fear not if you missed out. The more modestly priced Dinner by Heston Blumenthal will replace The Fat Duck in 2016.
Speaking of high end dining in Melbourne, Estelle’s newly launched, more low-key Estelle Bistro is now up and running in Northcote. Drop by for wine and some delicious bar snacks, or grab a group and share a meal of droolworthy bistro classics. The fine dining counterpart, Estelle by Scott Pickett, is tipped to be open for business in April.
Bar maestro, Matt Bax, has done it again, unveiling the much hyped Bar Exuberante, tucked within Bar Economico in Richmond. Stepping into the one-room affair feels like walking into a Wes Anderson movie, and not one of the drinks comes without a finishing flourish or impressive quirk. Go big and order the Airmail, a cocktail that comes with a postal task—you won’t regret it!
Over in Prahran, The Smith has had a sexy new makeover, with a new mod-Asian menu to please the pickiest palates. For starters, there’s the Vietnamese mint, chilli and black pepper-spiked soft-shell crab yuba rolls with Kewpie mayo, but we’re beside ourselves with salivation over the chocolate dulce de leche with peanut butter crème and salted popcorn!
The menus have also been given a fresh new look, and the staff are looking dandy in their black denims and high-tops.
Fans of all things cold-pressed and clean eating in Melbourne town should swing by any of the Pressed Juices stores and check out their all-new raw menu. The zucchini pasta is a standout!
Richmond has a new stand out Japanese restaurant, with the arrival of Minamishima. With renowned Japanese chef Koichi Minamishima at the helm, expect to spend a few dollies, but be rewarded with a one-of-a-kind Japanese dining experience. Melbourne’s best sushi has arrived.
‘But, what about breakfast?’ you cry, with a slightly crazed look in your eye. Fear not, Dear Listers, we’re looking out for you. The eagerly awaited Melbourne cereal café, Cereal Anytime, has popped up in the Swan Street Chamber of Commerce in Richmond. Cheerio, then.
Also in the 3122 surrounds, MasterChef alumni, Philip Vakos, has opened Bahari | The Hellenic Palate. The 60-seater dishes up his take on classic Greek dishes and desserts, made to be shared with friends and family in true Greek Style.
Sir Charles is a fresh new Melbourne café offering in Fitzroy, with a bright and streamlined aesthetic, and a menu with an Asian twist. We hear the miso scrambles and eggs benny with sriracha hollandaise are pretty darn epic!
You’ve probably already sipped the hot chocolate goodness that is Mörk Chocolate at one of Melbourne’s best cafes, including the likes of St Ali, Seven Seeds and Proud Mary for starters. Well, raise the roof, chocaholics, cos they’re about to set up their very Mörk Chocolate Brew House in North Melbourne! Here you’ll be able to see, smell, taste and purchase the goods. Magic. Mörk Chocolate Brew House opens late February.
From the masters of the most delicious pork belly dish in Melbourne, Red Spice Road, comes a new CBD restaurant, the simply named, Meat Fish Wine. With a firm focus on three of our favourite things—meat, fish and, err, wine—the sleek new Melbourne restaurant and wine bar puts the emphasis on high quality, seasonal produce. At Meat Fish Wine you'll dine on oysters from NSW, SA and Tassie, sustainable seafood, and grass and grain-fed beef from the very best local suppliers. Good, honest, quality food.
Rounding out our list and by NO MEANS the least exciting, is Five Points Deli and Longhorn Saloon. Just telling you it’s by the bros behind Chingon and Le Bon Ton will probably pique your interest. But wait, there’s more... The Elgin Street venue will house Five Points downstairs, in a gorgeous space featuring pressed copper and dark timber. But it’s the deli counter you’ll be gaga for.
It’s here you’ll get a true NY-deli experience, lining up with your tray while the staff slice the meats (pastrami, please) and pile on the greens. Sangas, bagels and soups will also be on offer, plus the cups of Joe are bottomless.
Come pm, it’s time to head upstairs to Longhorn Saloon, rocking a New York wood-fired steakhouse kinda vibe. There’ll be a rowdy saloon bar area for the revellers, as well as a lush chandelier and banquette-seating-filled dining room. Both are set to open late this month.
So there you have it, Listers—all the shiny new Melbourne restaurants and bars you add to your hit list this month.
Image Credit: Mörk Chocolate Facebook.