The Australia Open Festival is causing a food-filled racket with some of Melbourne’s best restaurants teaming up to form an enormous, drool-worthy food precinct, for every tennis lover and tennis non-lover.
Here are the 8 reasons to go to the AO Festival that aren’t tennis.
1. Souvas, Tacos, Burgers, Oh My!
In case you don’t feel like travelling to all corners of Melbourne, the AO Festival is the one event when you can eat your way through menus from Tokyo Tina, Huxtaburger, Hotel Jesus and Jimmy Grants!
Salmon Poke for a change-worthy $12 comes with salmon sashimi, avocado, mango, coconut and tamari on a bed of fluffy white rice from the Tokyo Tina team. Dip Kingfish sashimi rice paper rolls into wasabi mayo for the ultimate breezy summer lunch. The double Denise burger from Huxtaburger, which has recently received a facelift, oozes with melted cheese, tasty beef patties, jalapenos, Sriracha mayo, cheese, mustard, tomato sauce, veg and pickles.
2. An Ace Location That’s Made For Lazy Summer Days
Held at the grassy Birrarung Marr facing the Yarra River, the AO Festival is one of the best places to snag a tan. Skip the sand in your car and burning concrete, with the upper and lower terraces at the festival free to access.
3. Serious Picnic Vibes So You Can Bring The Whole Crew
Along with the ultimate one-handed lunch in the form of a Jimmy Grant’s souva, chips coated in rosemary and feta, and dim sims are the perfect snacks for a summer feast with your least hungry friends. Order a few of Hotel Jesus’ modern tacos, nachos and chilli fries topped with black mayo (trust us, it’s better than the stuff from a jar) and serve up an ace picnic. For dessert there are summer strawberries and fresh coconuts from Tokyo Tina.
4. Epic Entertainment
Even the most stubborn tennis-adverse foodie has to admit there is some attraction to watching the top tennis dogs including Nadal, Federer, Djokovic and Murray slam through tennis balls (…and their racquets).
5. Prizes For Pics!
Along with face painting to support your favourite tennis player and a park dedicated to upping your Instagram game (seriously), there are heap of prizes to be won for the best social snaps!
6. Veggie Varieties For The Vego Foodie
The AO Festival team has made sure vegetarian foodies will be just as full as their carnivore-eating friends, with the vego Homer souva from Jimmy Grants and Huxtaburger’s Vege Denise with a kick-ass spicy bean and quinoa patty, jalapenos, sriracha mayo, cheese, mustard, tomato sauce, tomato, lettuce and pickles. Tofu rice paper rolls with shitake, lettuce and pickles vegetables is one of the lighter selections from Tokyo Tina.
7. Dessert To Die For
Risogalo from Jimmy Grants, or their chocolate-coated Jim Jams (aka the best wagon wheels ever)? Better have both, just to be safe.
8. The Line-Up Of Live Music…It’s A Perfect Match!
While not technically part of the AO Festival, you can enjoy the blockbuster line-up on the AO Live Stage just next door to the festival, through the main gates! Grab yourself a Ground Pass, and soak up the musical vibes from the likes of The Temper Trap, Birds of Tokyo and Jimmy Eat World.
9. Get Pampered
Perfect your uber-fan look with more than just facepainting! Rock a tennis tattoo, get your nails painted, make your own cheer card for your fave player, or simply get your head in the game with a free massage that leaves you feeling stress-free and ready to bliss out while watching a match.
The AO Festival will run from 16-29 January 2017 at Birrarung Marr. For more information head to the website. You’ll be returning like a pro all through summer.
Image credit: Michelle Jarni for The Urban List.
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