Melbourne's Newest Must-Book Restaurants: February
A bubbling hotpot of gastronomic indulgence, Melbourne’s buzzing food scene is one that never disappoints. From casual cult classics to luxurious fine dining, every week the city sees a glut of slick new eateries swinging open the doors to queues of hungry diners. Lucky for us, that means there’s always somewhere novel to try for date night or catch ups with the girls. Whatever you're in the mood for – be it modern Vietnamese or traditional home-cooked Italian – Melbourne’s restaurant newcomers have got you covered.
At Richmond’s new all day diner a calming yet unadorned interior focusses the spotlight on food, which in comparison pops with vibrancy. On the plate are Japanese-inflected dishes like crab croquettes with yuzu miso, sweet tamagoyaki omelettes with grilled pork and cheesecake drizzled in matcha syrup for dessert.
362-364 Burnley Street, Richmond
Modish Vietnamese comes to Malvern via Pho Xua, where you can get an espresso martini with your bun bo hue. Start by sharing a few plates of fresh summer rolls and grilled beef in piper lolot leaves before ploughing into old favourites like banh xeo and sugar cane prawn vermicelli.
267 Glenferrie Road, Malvern
Here’s one mamma’s boy you don’t need to avoid – this Brunswick restaurant specialises in homestyle Italian cooking, with a few novel inclusions like a bruschetta bar offering a wide choice of toppings from porcini pesto, salami and grilled eggplant to black truffle, sausage and scarmoza. Mangia, mangia!
6/10 Tripovich St, Brunswick
This new upmarket casual diner criss-crosses the globe to create a menu that confidently places goat rogan josh on the same page as shredded lamb tacos and trevally ceviche. If that’s not enough to intrigue, they’ve also got an extensive champagne list with big hitters like Moet & Chandon, Perrier-Jouet and Dom Perignon.
292 Lygon St, Carlton
Pub food gets a modern sheen at Melba Social, where you can get panko crumbed mushrooms in queso sauce, crispy pork belly with apple cranberry compote and three cheese gnocchi with gorgonzola, grana padano and vintage cheddar. Pair your meal with a selection from their wide-ranging wine list of go for $10 cocktails on Mondays and Tuesdays.
524 Macaulay Rd, Kensington
Take a holiday to the Caribbean via this buzzy new casual eatery serving fun dishes with a Jamaican influence - there’s a smoked jerk chicken jaffle, jalapeno mac and cheese and a rich oxtail stew dotted with runner beans and carrots. Many of the dishes can be veganised, and a robust cocktail menu makes it the perfect place to start a night out – a jug of Vee’s punch, which features light and dark rum, brown sugar, mint, lime and cucumber, is sure to get the party going.
180 High St, Prahran
From the team that brought you Chapel St funhouse Leonard’s House of Love and casual fine diner Ramblr comes a new pizza joint doing old-school comfort food – think massive, eight slice pepperoni pies dipped in ranch dressing, thick cuts of herb stuffed porchetta and spag bol under a shower of parmesan.
29 Gratton St, Carlton
Within the revamped Espy is a flash new Cantonese diner serving favourites like sesame prawn toast, ginger chicken dumplings and XO pippies in plush surrounds – velvet booths, ornate lights and views over the water hark to an opulent era, while lychee martini slushies and fusion desserts à la mango coconut pudding and red bean mille feuille keep things fun.
11 The Esplanade, St Kilda
The Prince of Wales Hotel has finally reopened their restaurant, and it’s a beauty – the kitchen’s drawing inspiration from the flavours and spices of the Mediterranean, with a focus on cooking over flames. Dine on casual yet refined dishes such as grilled baby snapper with zhoug and Flinders Island lamb with fermented chilli from a beautifully designed room full of soft curves and natural light.
2 Acland St, St Kilda
West Coast living comes to St Kilda at this new restaurant with a nutritionist-designed menu packed with local produce, whole foods and gluten-free options. Both foodies and the fitness-fanatics will be satisfied with dishes including kingfish ceviche with orange, chilli and coriander and seared beef with watercress and grilled lemon.
1 Fitzroy St, St Kilda