SMÄK Food House
South Yarra’s latest brunch café is quickly establishing itself as an Instagram-able guilt-free eatery. With a Scandinavian interior and meals as pretty as a picture, SMÄK is not without queues on the weekend, but be patient as the food is worth the wait. SMÄK’s all-day breakfast menu features gluten-free buckwheat banana hot cakes and vegan matcha panna cotta doughnuts, while the lunch menu is divided into protein and salad sections. SMÄK is also an eco-friendly café that sources produce locally in an effort to cut meal miles.
SMÄK Food House, 6 Daly St, South Yarra, Victoria, Australia, +613 8560 2146
Nora Small Dinner Club
The term ‘dégustation menu’ conjures up thoughts of tiny, stiff-upper-lip meals that require you to pay through the roof, but not at Nora’s Small Dinner Club. After closing its doors in February, Nora has reopened as a 20-seat Small Dinner Club that offers casual Thai dégustation dinners that are affordable and appeal to a younger crowd. With an innovative, hidden menu that pushes the boundaries, Nora’s Small Dinner Club is the one new dining experience in Melbourne that you just have to add to your bucket list.
Banjo Harris Plane and Michael Bascetta (ex-Attica) and Casey Wall and Manu Potoi of Rockwell & Sons have joined forces to create Bar Liberty. The fourteen-page beverage menu includes newfangled and classic wine varieties, beer, cider, cocktails, mixed drinks and spirits, but alcohol isn’t all they serve. On Sunday patrons can enjoy a lunch feast and on the last Wednesday of each month Bar Liberty offer five-course wine dinners in the back room for a maximum of 12 people. Get in touch via their website website for booking details.
The Penny Drop
The penny dropped for the owners of this new establishment after their coffee pop-up shop in Box Hill began gathering a fan base of commuters desperate for a pick-me-up. Having now found a permanent home in a newly renovated building on Whitehorse Road, The Penny Drop serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu features classic options, including whipped avocado on toast and Wagyu cheeseburger and chips, as well as Asian-inspired dishes such as the coconut beef short rib with sweet fish sauce, pomelo and soft herbs.
The Penny Drop, 913 Whitehorse Rd, Box Hill, Victoria, Australia, +613 9077 7455
Fitzroy Social Club
From the owners of Asian Beer Café and Father’s Office comes the next best hang out spot in Fitzroy. Opened in early August, Fitzroy Social Club is open seven days a week for lunch and dinner and serves pizzas, burgers, seafood and much, much more, as well as a wide variety of gluten-free and vegan options. You can also drop in for a drink at the bar, which holds local beers and ciders, wine and an impressive cocktail menu featuring four types of Bloody Marys, two fruity punch bowls and a $12 happy hour range.
Another pop-up turned permanent, Peter Gunn’s IDES is open for dinner Wednesday through Sunday and serves a single four-course menu with two sweet courses. Booked out months in advance, the restaurant constantly updates its menu to provide diners with a new experience each time. Peter Gunn also runs a secret dinner party once a month called One Day Sunday (O.D.S) which sees the team completely change the IDES dining experience for one day.
IDES, 92 Smith Street, Collingwood, Victoria, Australia, +613 9939 9542
Melbourne’s first ever urban winery has recently opened its cellar doors in Brunswick East and offers visitors the chance to make their own wine. The brainchild of winemakers Alex and Sam, Noisy Ritual demystifies the process and use people-power to give Melburnians a grape-to-glass experience. This toe-squishing, hands-on, rowdy wine school and bar offers memberships, including winemaking workshops, barrel tastings and purchase discounts. Join the community and take part in this exclusive urban winery experience.
Noisy Ritual, 249 Lygon St, Brunswick East, Victoria, Australia, +614 1710 2472
After closing Honcho Noodle, Chef Adam Liston will be opening a new Honcho enterprise in Punch Lane this September. With a custom-built charcoal grill, Honcho will hero Liston’s distinctive brand of Japanese-Chinese-Korean cuisine. Expect playful, culturally blending meals that can be washed down with imported Japanese beers, saké, shōchū and wines. Keep your eyes peeled for this top honcho in Chinatown.
Tim Ho Wan
This Michelin-starred Hong Kong dumpling chain made the announcement that it was coming to Melbourne way back in November 2014 and finally in March it opened. Since then a steady stream of customers have queued to taste the chains vermicelli rolls, pan-fried turnip cake and barbequed pork buns. The Bourke Street store has room for more than 100 patrons and each table features high-tech buttons for service. If you’ve ever wanted to try Michelin-starred cuisine without breaking the bank, then Tim Ho Wan is the place to go.
Tim Ho Wan, 206 Bourke Street, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, +612 9898 9888