The thought of roasting under Melbourne’s summer sun in a bodycon dress (with your oversized fascinator attempting to hightail it into the clouds) is enough to make anyone sweat. Luckily for us, this racing season is all about overflowing picnics, straw hats and easy-going jumpsuits.
Combining the best of summer, friends, and the best elite thoroughbred racing in Victoria, make the day count with our handpicked pre-racing hotspots! From nearby pampering (because it’s still the races) to pre-brunch favourites; cosy wine bars and local bars—here is your ultimate pre Relaxed Racing guide! But don't forget to bring a hamper on the day, or relax on the lawn with a V.I.Picnic—or even head to one of the great food outlets on offer at Caulfield—because eating, drinking and whiling away the day beside the track is what Relaxed Racing is all about.
Brows and lashes | Miss Eyelash, Elwood
In a spacious, bright loft in Elwood, Miss Eyelash is a strong contender for best brow studio in Melbourne. Forget layering on the makeup this Relaxed Racing season, this studio can redefine your look with a new perfect set of arches. Warm and upmarket, Miss Eyelash also offers beautifully natural lash extensions and ones which will give you a little extra boom on raceday!
Hair and Blowdry | Sechoir Blowout Bar, Armadale
Whether you’re up for a casual up-do, new colour or soft waves for raceday, Sechoir Blowout Bar is the place to do it. Just because it’s Relaxed Racing season doesn’t mean you don’t deserve a little pamperin’, but there’s nothing worst than a bad haircut the morning of the big day. Thou shan’t have a bad blowdry at one of Melbourne’s top hair salons!
Hair and makeup | Anaka, Malvern
If you’re more of a one-stop shop girl, we getcha. Malvern’s Anaka has built a reputation for bold, creative cuts and colours which are classic, sophisticated, and ideal for raceday. The much-loved Anaka team also specialise in customised, natural makeup that will have you glowing on the racecourse.
Makeup | Mecca Cosmetica, Armadale
One of Melbourne’s favourite makeup brands will let you leave your makeup woes in the hands of the expert team at Mecca Cosmetica. Stocking some of the best high-end beauty brands in Melbourne, let your makeup expert know to go al nauturaal for race day.
Nails | Missy Lui, Armadale
To spice up your outfit this Relaxed Racing season without going overboard (it IS Relaxed Racing after all), head down to Missy Lui’s nail salon in Armadale. Specialising in all natural, non-toxic nail care, wind down in Miss Lui’s tranquil, minimalistic nail studio.
Fergus, Malvern East
Fergus’ rustic, dilapidated interior makes this homely café the ideal low-key brunch spot if you’re feeling pekish before the races. There’s an adorable kids menu if you’re bringing the whole crew, but we recommend the house made Date, Walnut and Banana Bread with whipped fig, lime ricotta and honey for a delicious start to a big day!
Mr Brightside, Caulfield
Brightening up Caulfield brunches everywhere, Mr Brightside boasts pared-back, outdoor seating ideal for starting the day bright ‘n early. Your entire Relaxed Racing party will find something for brunch—from spiced fruit toast to smashed avo and feta, these meals leave you feeling as light as a jockey!
The Pour Kids, Malvern
One of Malvern’s best brunch spots, The Pour Kids, pumps out flavour-packed, rich brunches which is perfect if your picnic basket is feeling a tad sparse. Don’t (DO NOT!) go past their Duck For Cover, a nom-ful dish of Italian-style pork sausage, burnt butter gnocchi, fried egg and Swiss chard.
Einstein’s 251, Caulfield
If you’ve got any Einstein-ien wit about you, you’ll use your head and head to Einstein’s 251 before the races. To get you rearing at the gate, go for their Acai Wake Up Bowl with organic acai and guarana blended with banana and coconut water, topped with granola, toasted coconut and seasonal fruit.
Frank & Ginger, Caulfield North
Frank & Ginger is home to unabashedly simple Melbourne brunches done very, very well. There’s a tie between the Corn Fritters with avocado salsa, sumac sour cream, sweet chilli and a poached egg; and their Spicy Pumpkin and Feta Smash. We’d recommend attempting to con one of your race buddies into halvies.
Milton Wine Shop, Malvern
There’s a strict ‘no wine snobbery’ rule at Malvern’s Milton Wine Shop. It’s a good thing, since many wine aficionados will likely fumble over their unique wine list. Order a bottle (or three) for your table and a few naughtily indulgent cheese platters to settle in after the races. Jaffles and takeaway from the nearby Pizza Gallery is also available.
The Tasting Table Wine Shop, Armadale
With high-quality wines you won’t find in your local bottle-O, The Tasting Table Wine Shop encourages visitors to learn about European and Australian wines from family run vineyards. A happy red equals a happy heart, so go ahead and snag a few bottles on your way out (it’s just the money you earned on bets, right?)
Ripponlea Food and Wine, Ripponlea
Wines, cocktails, desserts and a dinner menu designed for sharing—we may have just found the perfect post-races pit-stop people. The Ripponlea Food and Wine menu is wonderfully wine-friendly, from juicy Confit Lamb Shoulder to fresh oysters; and eggplant chips to Kingfish Carpaccio to nibble (or chow down) on.
After The Tears, Elsternwick
Cocktails and races go together like horses and jockeys. Get your cocktail fix after Relaxed Racing at Elsternwick’s After The Tears. With a creative, specialised menu focusing on vodka, cocktails and mocktails, think dessert cocktails like their lemon merguine pie with advocaat, vanilla vodka, lemon juice and cream!
Bought your tickets for Relaxed Racing already? Check out our Tips For Relaxed Races Fashion For Guys & Girls!
Image credit: L-R Provided, Mr Brightside Facebook, Provided, Mr Brightside Facebook, The Tasting Table Facebook, Provided, Miss Eyelash Facebook, Mecca Facebook, Provided.
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