After being the most-locked down city in the world, it is fair to say Melburnians have missed their fair share of dining out. We're excited to see this new era for Melbourne's culinary community and can't wait to get back into our favourite haunts and experience some new ones.
In honour of Melbourne eateries finally opening their doors to the public from November onwards, we've spotlighted some brand new spots opening in the not too distant future.
Taking over the former vodka stronghold of After The Tears, Copycat is bringing a vibrant new spin to the late-night bar and eatery scene of Elsternwick. Only a few short steps to the famed Classic Cinemas, Copycat is led by brother-run duo Nick and Zac Beerens. Copycat has a uniquely chic design, the style has a purposeful intimacy with booth seating and various nooks and crannies to slip into. The space is divided into two sections; the bar, which offers up a range of house cocktails, wine and more alongside smaller tasting plates like oysters with pomegranate mignonette to kingfish tartare. In the dining room expect to sit down to a modern blend of dishes, with Euro-inspired plates like the stracciatella with caponata, pine nuts and pangrattato to more hearty dishes like the twice-cooked chicken with Antichuco sauce. Book in here.
You may remember Pétanque Social from last year, the Yarra adjacent venue made its debut as a summer beach club. With outdoor dining, day beds, lounge chairs as well as a decked out bar and dishes served up by Crown's excellent line-up of restaurants it was a smash hit. The knock off destination is returning with a whole new Tuscan countryside look and feel to the space and a menu stacked with dishes from Nobu and Gradi. Alongside the new look there’s a new focus on sustainability with the build utilising reclaimed materials, eco-friendly paints, and also features rainwater collection, and on-site garnish garden. The summer spot will also have live DJ tunes and will bring plenty of vibe to this end of the city. It’ll be reopening up Friday 5 November, head over here to book.
Sydney’s famed Mediterranean diner in Surry Hills is making the trip south and setting up a second locale in the swank-filled Flinders Lane. Hospitality royalty in New South Wales’ culinary community, Nomad made its bones impressing the Sydney diners with their quirky reinterpretations to classic Euro-style cuisine including their insanely popular duck mortadella. The second NOMAD iteration will be situated on the ground floor of the Adelphi Hotel and will feature the signature wood-fired oven and house flatbread that helped the diner rise to fame. Owners, Rebecca and Al Yazbek, have a strong local focus in mind for NOMAD Melbourne; utilising local produce, creating relationships with local suppliers and farmers to ensure the highest quality, but also to help create a new identity to the Sydney counterpart. The 100-seat restaurant is set to open on Monday 15 November, book in over here.
After a 19-month closure, the former Bimbo Deluxe is reopening with a spiffy new name nodding to the iconic Kewpie doll on the building's facade. While the name is new, your favourite things about this Brunswick Street faithful will remain: stupidly cheap pizzas remain the menu hero while local vibe-bringers will take to the wheels of steel Thursdays through Sundays.
Kewpie is expected to open Monday 8 November, and they'll be slinging 50 free pizzas a day from then until Friday 12 November.
Smith Street Bistrot
Scott Pickett, Melbourne chef and restaurateur has just announced he'll be opening a new French bistro in Collingwood, Smith Street Bistrot. This time paired with head chef Daniel Southern of Bar Margaux and restaurant manager Tash Sorensen from Embla the collective all-star team will open this Parisian-style eatery with a North-side edge. Expect a menu of clever reinterpretations of French classics as well as cocktails and a curated selection of fine wine.
Chris Lucas, AKA the mind behind Chin Chin, Kisumé, Hawker Hall and other Melbourne favourites, is opening his latest restaurant—Yakimono. The inspiration comes from the team's love for Japanese cuisine and charcoal cooking. Hence the name "Yakimono" and Yaki is the Japanese term for grill. Set to open in a few months, the menu takes a modern take on Japanese dining. The two-storey, high-energy eating house references Lucas’ favourite Japanese hangouts from his time over in the island nation.
You may already be familiar with Manze and chef Nagesh Seethiah, his pop-up dinners have been spotted all over town including Hope Street Radio. Nagesh noticed a lack of Mauritian cooking in Melbourne, so, along with co-owners, Osman Faruqi and Jason Phu, decided to create a permanent home for Manze in North Melbourne. The menu will feature Mauritian-style cooking based on Nagesh's heritage utilising fresh produce that is locally sourced. The venue will also feature a wine bar with a selection of local and French wines.
The New Arbory Venue
The team behind Arbory have locked in a five-storey heritage-listed building, so you have to expect big things coming up soon. While still unnamed, each level (including a rooftop) of the precinct will feature five unique venues that showcase a variety of Melbourne’s hospitality scene. The location will be in the heart of the city at 270 Lonsdale Street.
Arbory Afloat 2021
Melbourne’s favourite floating bar with scenic city views is back for its second summer. Located right on the Yarra River, it’s no wonder that Melburnians fell in love with an array of pizzas, beach snacks and seafood. Let’s be real though, the highlight of Arbory Afloat is their drinks— in particular their cocktails and gins. Back in time for hopefully a sunny summer, the iconic waterfront bar and diner will be returning at the end of Spring with their yet to be announced yearly theme.
Ready to dine out? Check out which restaurants are taking bookings here.
Image credit: supplied (Smith Street Bistrot)