For our American friends kicking back in Melbourne, or for those of us who just love a good turkey feed and can’t hold out until Christmas, Thanksgiving is a special time of year that brings people together, celebrating everything we have over an overstuffed belly and a raised toast.
A little like Halloween, Thanksgiving hasn’t completely caught on down under as yet, so surprisingly few of our favourite US-style eateries are laying on anything specific for the holiday - but we’ve done the hard yards for you, rounding up the brave and the bold that are.
Here are our best Thanksgiving feasts in Melbourne!
Things got pretty fancy upstairs at The Duke of Wellington pub earlier this year with the third floor transformed into the sparkling crown jewel that is the Dutchess. In honour of this year’s Thanksgiving, you can book yourself into one of their fancy cream leather booths for head chef Justin Wise’s three-course feast in honour of the season.
You’ll be warmed up with your choices of oysters in a red wine and shallot dressing, Mooloolaba king prawns Marie Rose-style, or seared Petuna ocean trout.
Of course for the main there will be the obligatory roast turkey packed with apricot stuffing and served with cranberry sauce, or you can plump for roast rib of grass-fed beef or a whole baby snapper. Desert comes down to a choice between pumpkin pie with caramel sauce or a pumpkin roll with vanilla cream.
The guys at Trunk are going all-out for Thanksgiving, teaming up with beermakers Budweiser and also Erath Winery in Oregon to produce a share plate feast. Executive chef Ori Cutuli and head chef Mo Al'Khatib will be plating up a sumptuous butter-roasted turkey with rosewater and cranberry sauce and a roasted beef, asparagus and egg salad.
Butternut pumpkin will be roasted with macadamias, there will be a fresh twist on macaroni featuring candied walnuts and pear, a beetroot and pomegranate salad, corn bread and lashings of mashed potato in gravy. The sweet tooth finale comes courtesy of an apple and pecan pie served with rum and raisin ice cream.
You can opt to combine the mighty feed with drinks for an extra $30 - and who wouldn’t want to, honestly?
Hardware Street favourite Nieuw Amsterdam aren’t going to let down any US patriots in town this Thanksgiving, laying on a family-style bonanza for tables of two-plus at a set price per head.
The traditional roast turkey and trimmings are joined by garlic and herb mashed potatoes, braised greens plus a green bean casserole and plenty of dinner rolls to soak up all the gravy goodness minus a few dribbles artfully located in hipster beards.
Make sure you leave room for the peaches and cream pie aftermath or the sweet potato pie with maple syruped-pecans and gooey marshmallows.
Mr Big Stuff
Take Thanksgiving up a notch at Meyers Place haunt Mr Big Stuff where the resident DJs will be spinning while you tuck into pickled okra popcorn, with chilli and Szechuan pepper, maple-glazed turkey and trimmings including cornbread with pimento butter and roast butternut pumpkin.
Wash down a New York-style cheesecake or spiced sweet potato pie with a Long Island Iced Tea or three and you’ve got the makings of an evening to be very thankful for indeed. At least until the next morning…
Le Bon Ton & Longhorn Saloon
Collingwood | Carlton
The dynamic brotherly duo of Mick and Will Balleau have been keeping hungry northsiders full of smoky American goodness first at Collingwood favourite Le Bon Ton and then with bigger sister Longhorn Saloon on Elgin Street, Carlton.
The pair will be offering a star-spangled special menu for hungry diners this Thanksgiving that includes pit-smoked turkey breast done at Le Bon Ton and available at both venues, mashed potato with sage gravy and all-day green beans dished up with house-cured bacon, in case that’s a bit too much greenery for you. Even the carrots come honey-glazed.
While the desert wasn’t confirmed as we spoke to the gang, there was a 99.9% chance it was going to be a grand old pile of pumpkin pie.
Last but not least...
If you’re on a tight pre-Christmas budget, why not shoot for the smoked turkey bagel at 5 & Dime Cafe on Katherine Place in the city for a pocket-saving $11?
Want more festive tips? Why not read our article on how not to stuff up your turkey these holidays!
Photo credit: The Domestic Man