Down the busy end of Brunswick Street lies a bold new refuge for vegan cuisine. Umbra Bar has officially opened its doors and is bringing a newfound approach to plant-based dining. Ticking all the boxes of a Fitzroy-based venue, sit beneath the overhead hanging plants and take in the full vistas of the exposed brick walls and drowsily lit bar.
Umbra Bar is the brainchild of local legend Tiffy Sze, one of the first female bar owners, she has been keeping Melburnians merry at Goldilocks and House of Corrections for nearly a decade. Tiffy’s inspiration came from establishing a destination where vegans and planet-conscious diners could come enjoy a drink alongside a couple plates. Leading the charge in the kitchen is top-notch Michelin star chefs Ryan Spurell (Estelle, Dinner By Heston, Brae) and Sarah Cremo (Vue de monde).
The menu features several clever reinterpretations of the classics, from a kindly familiar king oyster mushroom tempura with a tingly TomYum mayo to spicy chicken nuggets with dried chilli and Szechuan pepper. Although the menu is small in stature it's big on flavour, more modern takes like the Yuzu-infused soy tofu tacos are a reminder of the potential of plant-based dining.
The moody Fitzroy haunt is also home to several craft beers on tap or in tins, seltzers and wines to sample but with Tiffy bringing her strong mixology expertise the specialty cocktails are where it’s at. Take the Melorannoa for example, a watermelon standard with Dissoranno and stabilised with Aquafaba, or try Saltybeans for an espresso martini but with a big caramel enhancement.
The new two-storey Chinese Bistro, Moonhouse, is now open for bookings.
Image credit: Umbra Bar (supplied)