Melbourne’s northern suburbs have seen a number of new culinary venues open their doors in the last couple of months. The much-anticipated re-opening of Lygon Street’s King and Godfree has lived up to expectations as a microcosm of Italian culture. After three years, the corner venue has opened as an espresso bar, an Italian delicatessen, grocery store, wine bar and restaurant, and stunning rooftop bar. 293-297 Lygon Street, Carlton, Victoria. (03) 9347 1619.
Pizza has always been synonymous with the area but the team behind southside establishment Leonard’s House of Love has opened their second establishment with Leonards Pizza Palace. The seventies-style restaurant is a perfect place to kick off the night with old-school Italian pizzas and a buzzing front bar. 29 Grattan Street, Carlton, Victoria, 3053. (03) 9242 0666.
Sibling by Kinfolk opened their Carlton North door in the lead up with Christmas. As the name suggests, the café is the sibling to the city’s Kinfolk and carriers the similarly strong ethos of social enterprise with the café staffed by volunteers and 100 percent of profits donated to the Asylum Seeker Resource Centre and Cathy Freeman Foundation. 611 Nicholson Street, Carlton North, Victoria, 3054. 0421 726 901.
Neighbouring Fitzroy has seen restaurant Messer change tactic with a new focus on becoming a modern Berlin diner. Owner-chef Ashley Davis saw a style of cuisine underrepresented in Melbourne, so he has kept the restaurant’s German name but changed the menu and drinks list. Shop 1, 166 Gertrude Street Fitzroy, Victoria, 3205. (03) 9419 0035.
Meanwhile, Clifton Hill is now home to a new untraditional venue with Grau Projekt to showcase an artist every six weeks with artist-curated drinking. A 1000-square-metre warehouse will house the new art gallery and cocktail bar with a one-off cocktail created in collaboration with the artist in residence. Level 1 2-12 Alexandra Parade, Clifton Hill, Victoria, 3068.
Further south, the former Great Britain Hotel on Church Street has been reborn as gastro-pub Harlow. The rock’n’roll pub has been completely transformed into an all-occasions venue, which includes a split-level beer garden that can host up to 250 people. 447 Church St, Richmond, Victoria, 3121. (03) 9810 0082.
Down the road on Burnley Street, a new Japanese eatery Mr Joe All Day has opened offering casual dining with a twist. Owners Martin and Yang Sun have created a minimal design and laid-back atmosphere where food is the hero and Japanese beer served from a tap. 362-364 Burnley Street, Richmond, Victoria, 3121. (03)7013 0301.
Australian chart-topping electro-pop duo Peking Duk will have a permanent presence in the Australian music capital after the pair turned their talents to the hospitality world with a new bar in South Yarra. Talk to Me is an Asian-American fusion diner and bar, inspired by their favourite global destinations, and visitors shouldn’t be surprised to see band members Adam Hyde and Reuben Styles occasionally DJing in the venue’s courtyard. 153 Commercial Road, South Yarra, Victoria, 3141. 0409 100 339.
It’s a new year and new focus for South Melbourne fine diner Lûmé Restaurant. After three years at the helm, executive chef and co-owner Shaun Quade will turn his focus to a new venture in LA and hand over the tongs to rising star John Rivera. The 25-year-old young gun will bring a more casual approach and lower price point to the new look restaurant, which will now offer three, five or eight courses. 226 Coventry St, South Melbourne, Victoria, 3205. (03) 9690 0185.
Beachside neighbourhood St Kilda continues to undergo a revival. Following the redevelopment of the accommodation at The Prince Hotel earlier last year, the iconic venue has now opened their new restaurant the Prince Dining Room. Formerly Circa, the dining room has undergone significant renovation and now features a menu designed to share and inspired by the robust flavours and spices of the Mediterranean rim. 2 Acland St, St Kilda, Victoria, 3182. (03) 9536 1122.
Around the bay, Williamstown has got a taste of San Sebastian will the opening of Sebastian Beach Grill and Bar. The spectacular waterfront venue, located on the edge of Williamstown Beach with a spacious deck overlooking the bay, is all about sharing food with friends and family. The Spanish restaurant champions seafood from the charcoal grill and offers visitors sangria on tap to refresh after a day on the sand. 26 Esplanade, Williamstown, Victoria, 3016. (03) 9088 8989.
Seaside dinning in regional Victoria has received a boost as well with the opening of MoVida Lorne. at the famous Lorne Hotel. After a successful pop-up in January 2018, acclaimed Melbourne restaurateur Frank Camorra has returned to the Great Ocean Road with his successful MoVida to open a permanent venue overlooking Louttit Bay. With expansive ocean views, dual aspect sunshine and a Great Ocean Road address, MoVida Lorne has three separate areas covering all bases with a dining room, bar and Alimentaria Deli. 176 Mountjoy Parade, Great Ocean Rd, Lorne, Victoria, 3232. (03) 5289 1042.
On the other side of the Bay, Australia’s newest dedicated gluten-free brewery has opened on the Mornington Peninsula with Two Bays Brewing Co in Dromana. After launching in 2017, Two Bays opened a public taproom in December with seven gluten-free beers on tap and a range of gluten-free wood-fired pizzas. Founder Richard Jeffares, who was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2015, was inspired by a trip to the USA a year later to open a brewery of his own using ancient grains. 1/2 Trewhitt Ct, Dromana, Victoria, 3936. (03) 5910 0880.
Red Hill winery Polperro has opened an all-day bistro, late-night bar, cellar door and meeting place called Many Little, at the site of The Long Table. Owners Sam Coverdale ad Emma Phillips hired Hecker Guthrie to revamp the space which now has the capacity to seat 91 inside and 99 out in the courtyard beer garden, styled with textured bricks, terrazzo and timber elements. Many Little’s menu will feature produce home grown and from local organic growers, on dishes such as crab linguine with roasted cherry tomatoes and confit shallot. 2-5/159 Shoreham Rd, Red Hill South, Victoria, 3937. (03)5989 2471.
The popular Portsea Hotel has reopened after a $7m facelift, just in time for summer. The ground floor restaurant, Longshore, has an open kitchen and plenty of outdoor space, serving an updated menu with more salads and grills, while the Bertram Bar takes in the stunning views upstairs. Cliff’s Bar – a Californian-inspired burger joint – and the RIP Bar complete the offer. 3746 Point Nepean Rd, Portsea, Victoria, 3944. (03) 5984 2213.
Still on the Peninsula, favourite English tavern situated in the heart of Red Hill, The Pig and Whistle, has new owners, a fresh new look and a new cellar door. Visitors looking for a cleansing ale in the Red Hill area should stop by for an imported British specialty ale in the beer garden, a casual lunch, or a leisurely meal in the cosy restaurant. The menu features quality pub grub and classic English dishes, made from local ingredients. The ploughman’s lunch provides a taste of the region with international inspiration. The onsite winery and rustic cellar door is now open to the public with a stunning setting overlooking the expansive lawn and Bayview Estate vineyard. 365 Purves Rd, Main Ridge VIC 3928. (03) 5989 6130
Ballarat has seen an old gem return after the 109-year old heritage listed building was transformed into a bespoke hotel, The Provincial Hotel, and a restaurant called Lola. Inspired by a combination of relaxed coastal vibes and sophistication of New York’s Firmdale Hotel, as well as respecting the Victorian heritage, the two-level hotel is decorated with a mix of older pieces, many sourced from local antique stores, and contemporary pieces. The 55-seat restaurant Lola is led by head chef Shaun Thomson who is bringing a wealth of experience having worked at Quay, Sydney; Flying Fish, Fiji and with Neil Perry at Rockpool Melbourne. 121 Lydiard Street North, Ballarat, Victoria, 3350. (03) 5331 3399.
Melbourne’s in no danger of losing its standing as the rooftop capital with several new additions arriving in time for the summer months.
State of Grace has opened their much-anticipated expansive rooftop following the venue’s relocation to King Street in November. Located one block back from the banks of the Yarra River, the rooftop offers views overlooking the city centre and a casual dining menu of pizzas and share plates. 27 King Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. (03) 8563 0020.
Located on the corner of Swanston and Little Bourke St, Red Piggy offers a modern twist on classic South-East Asian flavours, highly influenced by the vibrant and rich history of the old French Indochina region. The rooftop terrace features festoon lighting and an 11-metre hanging wall garden, with 300 handpicked plants from a local greenhouse. The jungle continues inside with the restaurant’s fit-out transporting guests to a tropical Asian paradise. Level 3/263 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. (03) 9654 0805.
Peaches is the city’s newest rooftop bar by name and by nature. Located above American barbeque restaurant Cheek on Swanston Street, Peaches is a two-level cocktail bar and rooftop. The beautiful fun bar is awash with pink suede booths, banquettes, tiles and terrazzo while the rooftop offers a central bar and outdoor lounges with city views. Level 2, 301 Swanston Street, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. (03) 9994 8582.
For those visitors wanting to combine a drink with a splash can look no further than the pop-up Reunion Island Pool Club, Australia’s first rooftop pool club. Set atop Melbourne Central rooftop, Reunion Island Pool Club is a sprawling under-sky sanctuary of palms, plunge pools, recreation programming and bespoke bar and catering offerings. The 10 temperature-controlled plunge pools are available for bookings of 2 – 12 people, seven days. Level 3, Melbourne Central, Level 3/271 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000
From above ground to below it, Wonderpop & Deli is not a typical pie shop. Scottish-born chef Raymond Capaldi has turned his focus from high-end dining to the humble pie with the launch of wholesale and catering pie business Wonder Pies. After two years of perfecting the pie, the Wonderpop & Deli was born on Little Lonsdale Street offering hits such as the Tradie Slammer (a pie inside a brioche bun with caramelised onion jam), Mac’n’Cheese, and Piesagne. 18 Little Lonsdale St, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000. (03) 9639 5515.
Vegans can rejoice with new plant-based bakery Weirdough which combines old school French baking techniques with modern sustainability. The latest venture for Amanda Walker and Mark and Sam Koronczyk, owners of vegan empire Lord of the Fries, features 100 percent plant-based baked goods, including cronnoli, doughnuts, croissants and their famed cube croissant. The products are made using macadamia, cashews and coconut oil butter as the basis of their baked goods. 241 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, Victoria, 3000.