We continue our regular monthly feature where we summarise some of our highlights from the previous month and offer recommendations for where you should visit or have on your radar for the month ahead.
Encompassing new openings and old favourites, pop-up venues, events and everything in between, here is the inside track for those sharking for chips and drinks.
If we’ve missed any exciting new places off this list, please get in touch here: Send Email.
In case you missed it – check out what OPENED IN OCTOBER.
When? November 15, 2013
What is it? Set in one of South Wharf’s infamous cargo halls, Plus 5 is an understated cocktail and tapas bar that breaks the Melbourne bar mould with charismatic staff an extensive cocktail list and a food menu designed for sharing.
Size? 30 seated inside 60 including outside.
What’s on the menu? The Plus 5 cocktail list is fresh and created for the summer. They only use the freshest of fruits, juices and purees to create an original and delicious list of signature and classic cocktails. They also offer a selection of beers, wines and spirits. The food menu was created to be shared and includes a selection of charcuterie, tapas and pizzas served straight from their wood-fired pizza oven.
Bookings? Booking for 10 or more guests for a minimum of two hours, with function packages suitable for most events.
When? November 21, 2013
What is it? Lebanese soulfood using wholefood ingredients and grandma’s authentic recipes
Who’s behind it? Owners/chefs Antoine & Bechara – twin brothers – worked in multiple family businesses in hospitality.
Size? 80 seats – 45 inside – 35 in courtyard
What’s on the menu? Traditional Lebanese share plates and hot pots – think snapper with herb tomato salsa and tahini dressing and house-made organic baklava.
Contact: 100a Lygon Street, Brunswick East. Ph. 9380 6680. Facebook.
When? November 15, 2013
What is it? A new sister shop of Little Bean Blue.
Who’s behind it? Owners are Robert Mancini and Vince Leone of Little Blue Bean.
Size? Around 40 covers
What’s on the menu? Coffee! With a house blend coming from Axil and single blends from both Axil and Cartel.
Contact: 2 Gallaghers Place, Melbourne CBD.
When? November 21, 2013
What is it? Vietnamese street style eatery
Who’s behind it? Michael Nham, Viet Nguyen, Tam Nguyen, Brock Legudi and John Lang, who also part-own NSHRY in Albert Park.
Size? Seats 70, bar seating available. Designed by Viet Nguyen and Brock Legudi.
What’s on the menu? Breakfast, lunch and dinner – a selection of rice paper rolls, pho, banh mi.
When? October 25, 2013
What is it? A casual burger and beer restaurant with a bar atmosphere.
Who’s behind it? The venue draws on the experience of owners Marcus Ward (part-owner in CBD bars Double Happiness, New Gold Mountain and Lily Blacks, and Richmond’s Bosisto’s Liquor Bar – since sold) and former Mornington local Simon Burriss.
Size? Check the photo bro. With a retro summer holiday fit-out by Figureground Architecture (Meat Mother, Industry Beans, Bishop of Ostia and Pope Joan).
What’s on the Menu? Menu favourites include the Humdinger burger, pork belly sliders, deep fried pickles and kale and bean sliders.
Bookings? Bookings for groups of 12+
When? End of October. The second store at Eastland Shopping centre opened on Saturday November 16.
What is it? Japanese rice bowl bar – based on the idea of Donburi, where you can get rice meals from a vending machine.
Who’s behind it? Restaurateur David Loh has paired up with chef Tomohiro Suzuki to bring this idea to life. Loh is the man behind the Dessert Story franchise, Shophouse Kitchen in QV, Kitchen Republik in Boxhill and Taiwan Café. Suzuki is the owner and head chef at Shyun, the sashimi and bento takeaway restaurant in Carnegie.
Size? The store in Chinatown has an upstairs seating area and can fit around 40 people. The team at Brandworks designed the store taking inspiration from the traditional origami folds and combining it with the elements from the era of when Harajuku and Rei Kawakubo first made headlines around the world.
What’s on the menu? The ordering service is a bit different at Rice Workshop. Customers start by ordering their rice or noodle bowl, with a choice from a variety of toppings including beef, chicken, salmon, tuna and tofu. Once customers have their order, they can then move their tray along to a self serve pick and mix bar where they can add as many sides as they like to their meal. Customers then move their trays along to the cash register, where they have the option of making their meal into a combo by adding a drink and side salad or miso soup for only an extra $3.50.
Bookings? No bookings. Due to limited seating it’s first come, first serve.
When? November 21, 2013
What is it? A contemporary restaurant focusing on Armenian flavours.
Who’s behind it? Owner and chef Garen Maskal (The Black Toro, ex-Ezard), business partners Aret Arzadian and Sasoon Arzadian. Franc Bakkes (ex-Ezard) heading the kitchen and Em Tomeeboon (ex-Nobu) running the floor.
Size? 45 seats, minimal bar seating. Upstairs bar coming early 2014.
What’s on the menu? A playful take on traditional Armenian dishes heavily concentrating on a custom charcoal pit using binchotan charcoal. Toastie with soujak, kasseri and brioche, figs with Armenian air-dried beef and charred eggplant, twice-cooked chicken wings with pomegranate caramel, lamb kebab with sour cherries and cos. New-stlye baklava with walnut ice cream and salted caramel.
Bookings? Yes, preferred for larger groups.
When? November 21, 2013
What is it? An authentic ramen dinning experience. The ramen recipe has taken over a year’s consultation with ramen masters in Tokyo to create and the fit out was inspired by the different ramen bars visited by the owners on their travels. The restaurant contains a timber fit-out with traditional-style Japanese bar, open-plan seating and beer garden out the back.
Who’s behind it?. The Dojo Ramen Bar is the brainchild of Tim Bartold, owner of Wax Museum Records and Lo-Life Skateboards. Upon his regular travels to Japan to source records, he found himself eating regularly at ramen bars throughout Japan. His initial experience left him in awe with the theatrics, new culture and flavours. Also involved is Luke Harvey, who’s blessed the bar at Nobu, Radio Mexico and Atlantic, and Chris Lane of Sunny’s Pizza on the Great Ocean Road.
Size? Seats 65
What’s on the menu? There are three different ramen styles to try. Shoyu (soy), Shio (salt) and Chilli Miso. Also a seasonal vegetable ramen made from tahini, macadmia butter and nori seaweed is available for vegetarians. A starters menu consists of izakaya-style dishes and will seasonally change. These include karage JFC (Japanese fried chicken), edamame with chilli garlic and rock salt, gyoza, tempura and nukazuke. A range of imported saki and beers from Japan, including Kirin, Orion, Sapporo and Hoshihikara (rice lager) are available.
Contact: 333 High St, Northcote. Ph. 94821247. Facebook.
Monday – Closed.
Tuesday – Saturday, 5pm til late.
Sunday, 3pm til late.
When? September 2013
What is it? A food store with limited seating for those who want a coffee or to try some house-made pantry items or meals. The focus is on food to go – lunch and dinners.
Who’s behind it? Owner – Eyal Talmor, passionate foodie and long-time Fitzroy resident. The chef is Leilani Wolfenden, previously of Next Door Diner, Est Est Est and Ondine.
What’s on the menu? Menu is on constant rotation using seasonal ingredients and dishes are based around the best produce available from small suppliers. It is a mixture of heat-and-eat meals and mis en place, for example just add stock or water, meat etc. They aim to only use ethical suppliers, growers and farmers. Every item sold is handmade on site by Leilani Wolfenden using the best ingredients and slow-cooking is the method of choice in most dishes to achieve maximum flavour. More than 60 items in stock with an online shop to open in December.
When? Open for the last six years, the Burger Bar concept has only been running for the past month.
What is it? Perkup is a groovy cafe serving great coffee all day long and specialising in burgers. They serve seven different burgers, french fries, sweet potato chips and four gourmet salads. They’re becoming well-known for their Perkup double banger, chipotle burger and French fries served with Perkup sauce.
Who’s behind it? The cafe is owned by Oliver Altermatt – he previously owned Oliver’s in Albert Park and is the founder of cooking school Cuisine du Coeur.
Size? 15 seats in and 30 outside.
What’s on the Menu? Coffee, breakfast, burgers, salads and sweets.
Contact: 610 Collins Street, Melbourne. Ph. 9620 2837 Website. Facebook. Twitter. Call for pre-order or takeaway orders. Opening hours Mon to Fri 5.30am to 8pm, weekends and public holidays 6am to 8pm incl Christmas and Easter.
When? November 9, 2013
What is it? Deli-cafe, food store and catering.
Who’s behind it? Paul and Linda Jones (owners of Brunswick Street Alimentari) and Meaghan Gorski (co-owner of Gorski and Jones, with the Jones). Chefs Paul Jones and Mel Musi.
Size? Limited bar seating.
What’s on the menu? Take home meals under the ‘Pronto’ line, French-style rotiserrie offering free-range organic roasted chickens every day with an additional red meat roast every day, along with hot and cold accompaniments. House-baked cakes and sweets, Baker D Chirco breads and heaps of home cooking essentials. All retail foods are used in the cooking.
Bookings? No, can be booked privately at night.
When? November 18, 2013
What is it? Authentic Vietnamese soul food’
Who’s behind it? Thuy Aka Twee and Ricky Bao
Size? Number of seats 22, bar seating six. Designed by Anatomy.
What’s on the Menu? Authentic grenades (rice paper rolls), captain baguettes (Vietnamese pork/chicken rolls), pa pa pho (beef noodle soup), soul bowl (dry noodle – signature dish). Complimentary Vietnamese dessert with any of four main meals, mama spicy beef noodles, chicken egg mushroom boas and, most importantly, Fru-G lifters (100% fruit + 100% veggies) = Fru-G lifters (excellent health benefits).
When? October 14, 2013
What is it? Flipboard is a niche cafe nestled in the shop-front window of Brolly Studios and Bennetts Lane Jazz Club. A multi-level nook that serves fine space with a side of excellent coffee and scrumptious healthy food.
Who’s behind it? Flipboard was designed by co-founders of Brolly Studios Martin Heide and Megg Evans.
What’s on the menu? Flipboard specialises in coffee. There is a small selection of healthy food including gluten-free sweets options.
Contact: 141 La Trobe Street, Melbourne.
When? June 26, 2013
What is it? A semi-industrial café with a difference: serving up great coffee by DiBella, wholesome breakfasts, lunches and sweet treats made with love.
Who’s behind it? Betty Oliver (manager) and Emma Binks (ex-Hot Honey Café, Middle Park and Priscilla Jones, Port Melbourne)
Size? 25-30 (indoor / outdoor)
Whats on the menu? All-day breakfast with highlights including house-made cornbread and black rice pudding (gluten free) as well as tasty lunch options, daily specials and housemade sweet treats, including dark chocolate espresso balls and fresh baked muffins daily.
When? October 31, 2013
What is it? Specialty espresso coffee and quick bites.
Who’s behind it? Scott Rigg, former owner of Buffalo in Ripponlea & Simon J Hawkins, formerly of Fabulous Fine Food, McKinnon,
Size? 25 seats, furniture by Arteveneta,
What’s on the menu? Small-batch roasted house blend and rotating single origin coffee. Tuna melt, croque monsieur, house-made sausage rolls and sweet potato and bean rolls, fresh salads, fresh juices and smoothies.
When? October 30, 2013
What is it? Brand-new fish and chippery in Caulfield, serving fresh seafood with a smile.
Who’s behind it? Hilmi Aydogan is the owner of Marmara Turkish Restaurant and has embarked on a new adventure in the form of Blue Eye.
Size? Both indoor and outdoor seating, all up can seat 50 covers.
What’s on the menu? Grilled fish including blue eye and Atlantic salmon, fresh salads, chips and rice.
Bookings? They have a function room which can seat 20, bookings can be made for this room.
When? November 4, 2013
What is it? Open for coffee, lunch, dinner or cocktails.
Who’s behind it? PGA
Size? 60 seats, bar can hold up to 200 people standing, Designed by John Ahern and Steve Garcia from PGA
What’s on the menu? European-style bistro menu.
When? November 22, 2013
What is it? A 140-year-old building that has, and is still, undergoing reinvigoration.
Who’s behind it? Mike Ramensky and Leon Handel took on the lease to what was a venue on the tail-end of its prime.
Size? 75 seats
What’s on the menu? The menu is still taking shape, however currently the focus has been around Asian-style dishes, while maintaining some of the more classic-style dishes for which the pub has been renowned. Think starters such as edamame and whitebait, entrees like lamb ribs done sweet and saganki done right. Currently mains include slow-cooked pork belly, baked barramundi and high-quality steaks. They will be expanding and altering the menu as they grow.
Contact: 306 St. Kilda Road (corner of Inkerman Street), St. Kilda. Ph. 03 9534 7678. Facebook.
When? Renovated and relaunched on October 31, 2013
What is it? 29th Apartment has received a good old-fashioned cut and polish and she’s shiny and new, and just dying to take you by the hand and lead you astray.
Who’s behind it? Steve Thomas and Keti, co-owners of Chapel Street’s Pawn & Co. one of the five most dazzling bars in the world according to Forbes magazine, have refitted, refurbished and revolutionised their amazing 29th Apartment venue – it’s a St Kilda icon with its world-famous Giant Jenga battles.
Size? 200-220 people standing. There is more than enough furniture in the apartment for those wanting to come for a weekly dinner special or a game.
What’s on the menu? Monday – $10 steak sang as / Tuesday – Texas Hold’em Poker night (drink specials for players and cash prizes), I could go on – check their website for daily specials. We like the sound of $10 for a kilo of tasty, spicy and all-round delightful wings with any Red Bull purchase.
Bookings? Yes for groups larger than 15.
When? October 25, 2013
What is it? A triple-storey venue with a rooftop dining experience including views over Melbourne and South Yarra. Other levels support a club, cocktail bar and lounge for those wanting to continue on into the early hours.
Who’s behind it? International business duo John Hatherley and Mark Hinkley, with local support from Glenn Archer and Leigh Colbert.
Size? 600 for the entire venue with seating on the rooftop.
What’s on the menu? Head chef Jeffrey Trotter (ex-Royal Mail, Dunkeld) has created a ‘lazy grazing’ menu designed to be shared with friends and accompanied by a cocktail. Modern Australian with a selection of bite-sized pieces through to an omnivore or seafood tasting plate for four. And for a Sunday session? The perfect paper bag steak sarnie.
Bookings? Available Monday-Thursday. Friday-Sunday walk-ins encouraged.
When? October 17, 2013
What is it? A Mexican taqueria.
Who’s behind it? Executive chef and manager Lupita Manzo (Fonda, Melbourne and El Cantinero, Sydney).
Size? 25 seats (courtyard).
What’s on the menu? Tacos de Arrachera (marinated steak), pescado (fish), chorizo, hongo (mushroom), calabacitas (zuchinni), aguas frescas (fresh fruit drinks).
When? November 11, 2013
What is it? Italian food. Traditional feasting for today.
Who’s behind it? Mark Hopkinson and Renton Carlyle-Taylor.
Size? Big enough.
What’s on the Menu? Pizza, pasta, salumi, boned lamb leg for four.
Sneak Peek for December:
When? First week of December
What is it? The bastard child of a hatted restaurant and a specialty coffee house.
Who’s behind it? Owners Matt Ward, Mitch Haworth (Prospect Espresso) and Will Manning (Prospect Espresso, Verge, The Deanery).
Size? 60 seats, bar seating available
What’s on the menu? Creative breakfast dishes with an all-star lunch menu fit for a hatted restaurant.
Bookings? No bookings for the restaurant, but a private dining room is planned in the near future.
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Know of any other places opening soon that aren’t on this list or that were missed? Let me know! Send Email. See you next month.