Southbank’s been battling an image problem for a while now, but it’s a worm that’s beginning to turn—thanks largely to venues like Left Bank. The prejudice doesn’t make much sense anyway. There’s no reason you shouldn’t be able to get world-class food, buzzing atmosphere and a properly shaken martini south of the Yarra, right? Especially not when your refurb looks as good as this one.
Left Bank has been around for about 8 years now, and the owners thought it was time for a facelift (just in time for summer, too). The new-look space is all-out Melbourne glam: soft lighting, a sun-lit promenade space, and high-end finishes in tones of copper and gold. Keep an eye out for the brand new custom roof-sculpture from local artist Corey Thomas, too.
Food-wise, it’s what you’d expect from a contemporary all-day brasserie. You’ve got house-aged steaks—Cape Grim Scotch and Eye Fillets, mostly—with a slick selection of sauces and sides (go the Lyonnais potato with Pepe Saya black garlic butter, it’s nuts). For entrees, think bistro classics like Black Angus sliders, pork belly with Japanese marinade and leek confit, or mushroom and truffle croquettes.
It’s all tasty stuff, chef’d up just the right amount for the Southbank crowd. Try to save some room for dessert though: there’s a Madagascan vanilla Crème Brûlée with a lavender macaron that’ll knock your socks off.
The bar has also undergone a refresh, styling itself as the ultimate summer watering hole (and with views like that, who’s to argue?). Expect things to get seriously busy once the good weather hits. Pimms cups (spiked with pama pomegranate liqueur) are going to be popular, as are the shared jugs of strawberry and pisco punch, mixed with St Germaine elderflower liqueur lime juice. They're also running an Apertivo Hour: from 4-7pm every day you'll score a free appetiser with any aperitif cocktail. Nice.
The bar menu will be seasonal, so if you’re hanging out for some mulled wine, just give it six months. In the meantime, it’s Southbank summer all the way. Welcome to new-look Left Bank.
Image credit: Griffin Simm