March is mad for new Melbourne restaurants and bars, and you’d better get cracking if you want to check them all out. When we say ‘all’, we mean the best, and here’s our list of brand spanking new digs to give the once over.
Our favourite finger-licking rock lobster Miss Katie’s Crab Shack is moving to the refurbed Rochester Hotel on Johnston Street in Fitzroy this month. Slide on in to the nautical themed rock and roll 80-seater dive bar, with a focus on cocktails, live music and late night shindigs! Dance away those late night bites, with the new and improved Rochester Hotel being open until 3am on weekends!
Situated smack bang on Bourke Street and offering a unique view of the Melbourne CBD, Rosa’s Canteen is one to get you excited, Listers. Set to open mid March, Rosa’s Canteen follows the great success of much loved Melbourne Italian restaurant, Rosa’s Kitchen. Get pumped for a more Northern Italian spin on scrumptious serves, with Head Chef Braydon Cleave (Tonka, Rosetta’s and Spice Temple) creating special menus for larger groups also. Think baby suckling pig and whole leg of goat.
Sad foodies are farewelling Philippa Sibley’s Prix Fixe this month, with the last sitting taking place on March 28th. If you want to grab your last chance at dining in the popular Melbourne restaurant, book tickets online to the current Alice in Wonderland themed degustation. Dry those eyes though, because moving in is a second Entrecôte, due to the overwhelming success of the South Yarra location by Jason M Jones and Adam North. Look out for the city version of the Parisian steakhouse, planned to open in May this year.
Cool down with some kaffir lime ice blocks in your gin— if that doesn’t sound refreshing we don’t know what does. Chow City has opened in the CBD, and looks and tastes mighty fine. With Head Chef, Kim-Maree (MoVida, Happy Palace), diners can look forward to fresh Pan-Asian flavours like the blue-eye ceviche with coconut, nuoc cham and finger lime, or the slow-roasted kurobuta pork belly with green mango. Lunch or dinner, try out Chow City next time you’re after lunch or dinner in Melbourne CBD.
For a drink with a novel twist, visit Melbourne’s longest bar—Arbory Bar and Eatery is stretched out (150m long) across the disused Sandridge line at Flinders Street Station. Chef, Nick Bennet, (Cecconi’s, Trocadero, Fatto) is serving up some scrumptious breakfast, lunch and dinner dishes, with a local wine list to complement. We’re kind of pumped to try the chorizo corndog with jalapeño mayonnaise, but then again, who wouldn’t be?!
From the team that brought you Section 8, Ferdydurke and B.East, comes the latest restaurant, wine and cocktail spot, Belleville. Overlooking the gates of Chinatown on Globe Alley in the CBD, get stoked for some gnarly flavours like rotisserie chickens, slow-roasted lamb shoulder and kimchi quesadillas.
Meat Fish Wine in QV in the CBD is exactly what it promises, but better. Serving up high quality food, the menu is focused on sustainably and locally sourced produce. From the team behind Red Spice Road and Burma Lane, Head Chef, Malcolm Wright (St Katherine’s and Maha), is dishing up some enlightening European food. Octopus Carpaccio with red grapes and Pedro Ximinez anyone? If you say no thanks, just leave. Now.
Another Melbourne CBD restaurant favourite, Shane Delia’s Maha on Bond Street has reopened after a speculated one million dollar facelift! White and teal lifts the 130-seater, brightening the underground space. While the menu is keeping the much-loved dishes, you’ll also be seeing a few lighter and cleaner dining options (#cleaneating).
It’s all happening in the CBD this month, with Russell Street’s latest addition, Ikkoryu Fukuoka Ramen. Taking over the once popular Melbourne bar, Ondergronds, this subterranean space will be specialising in Chikuho noodles, Tonkotsu soup and gyoza galore. Get excited for this blend of contemporary twists to traditional Japanese techniques.
Melbourne Central has welcomed Monkey King into its midst, where they’re proud to serve happy hour every Friday from 4pm - 10pm, pumping out $2 BBQ sqewers accompanied by a 70s DJ! Check out the funky newcomer of Pan-Asian cuisine in between your shopping.
Speaking of tunes, Little Collins Street’s take-away joint, Boombap, is a hip hop themed tuck shop. The food is no fuss, but all prepared on site, and in view. All day breakfasts offer tasty egg and bacon rolls and the good ol’ Aussie smashed avo, but it’s the lunch we’re truly excited for. Can I get a hells yeah for a Philly cheesesteak?
Or maybe Mexican madness is more your style? Check out Beach Burrito Company on Gertrude Street in Fitzroy when they open later this month, for some dang fine Mexican food. But the thing that makes this joint wickedly different is the in-ground pool-turned-skaters' paradise. Available for pro skaters to show off their stuff, the PISTONHEAD x BURRITO BOWL is set to host some ripper sessions. But with casual dining in the form of quesadillas, taquitos, beer and iced cocktails, we know that we’ll be kicking back and watching the action from a safe, food coma suitable distance.
Taking the west-side by storm is the latest joint venture by Alex Rogers (Warrenmang Vineyard) and Ben Sisley (Mr Wolf), and it’s serving up some snazzy pizzas. Ovest on Barkly Street in West Footscray is the perfect place to get together with friends and family and enjoy simple but delicious food (and wine!). Bite into a traditional pizza, or nibble on our pick—the Buffalo Mozzarella Bresola with caramelised figs, vincotto and toast.
From west to east, an old favourite spot for yum cha and dumplings, eight-year-old Mahjong on Fitzroy Street in St Kilda, has undertaken a transformation. Now titled Whatever by Mahjong, there’s a trendy bar space to the left, and a casual dining spot to the right, all smoothly echoing Chinese minimalism with large black steel room dividers, blond oak wood and polished concrete floors. Say goodbye to traditional yum cha, with a new emphasis on cocktails and bar food. We’re pretty excited for the Buddah’s Wife drink, with lychee and rum!
There’s a new naughty boy on the block, or more specifically on Glenferrie Road in Malvern. BOY & Co. are serving up some some of Melbourne's best milkshakes, and food-coma-inducing loaded fries. This retro fit-out is super cute and is definitely bringing all the boys (running and salivating) to the yard. Our pick is The Salty Pimp, a milkshake with house-made salted caramel sauce, blended with toasted coconut—a real heartbreaker.
Just opened are the much hyped new kids on the block, Five Points Deli and Longhorn Saloon. From the team behind Chingón and Le Bon Ton, this swish all-in-one spot on Elgin Street in Carlton is part snazzy bar and steakhouse (Longhorn Saloon), part New York deli (Five Points Deli). We’re so excited to visit these guys, we’ll be like a fat kid eating cake. Or a fat kid in a New York style deli, same same.
But speaking of cake, what about chocolate (yes that is how our minds work)? Join us in an enthusiastic ERRMAAAGERRRD, because Mörk Chocolate Brew House HAS landed! The concept store in North Melbourne is slamming out hot and cold chocolate beverages, and the artisan chocolate is thoughtfully created in the back room warehouse. Yes yes, we love our coffee, but we’re more than happy to welcome this sort of brewing into the fold!
Okay okay, so we love our naughty foods here at The Urban List, but what about that whole clean eating thang? Don’t worry, we’re on board with that, too! After our pig-out at Mörk, we totally plan to head to Hunters’ Roots on Katherine Place in Melbourne to get our organic juice and salad on. Opening on the 24th of March, we’re waiting with baited breath for this beautifully designed, light and airy whole foods cafe.
Also in the Archway space on Katherine Place is new Indian Street Food store, Delhi Streets. Set to open on Monday the 16th, this cosy space will seat 28 and will be serving up spot-on spicy snacks for lunch and dinner.
Also scheduled to open late March, is our highly anticipated wonderful Windsor dig, Naked Chicks. If that doesn’t make you stop and look, how about the further explanation: Nude Food. Melbourne clean eating fanatics get excited, as this menu will rotate around free-range, organic roast chicken. With a number of healthy and #clean accompaniments, Naked Chicks is set to win over the hearts of Windor locals. Slated for late March/early April.
Another imminent (but not so healthy) Melbourne restaurant that has us up in the air is Easey’s, set to open on Easey Street in Collingwood. Their successful burger pop-ups literally have us begging for more, so our fingers are crossed that the cheesy, meaty, burger gurus will open this month. How hard can it be (get it)?
Well that’s our pick of the new and improved list of Melbourne’s best restaurants. See you around town!
Image Credit: Our Four Forks.