Melbourne’s Sizzling Restaurants Scene

Melbourne’s dynamic food and wine scene evolves faster than you can say ‘pho’. Here’s what’s sizzling right now – from new restaurants, to refurbishments, to highly anticipated launches.

Estelle first opened in 2012 in Northcote, just seven kilometres from the city centre. From humble beginnings with just six tables, founder and executive chef Scott Pickett has grown the business and overseen a fresh renovation, unveiling a covered courtyard with additional seating and an upstairs private dining room for 24 guests. 243 High Street, Northcote +61 3 9489 4609

The iconic St Kilda seaside restaurant Donovans has reopened six months after fire swept through its kitchen. Most of the building has been rebuilt and refurbished in the $3 million project, which has modernised the interior, yet maintained the homely charm. Once again diners can enjoy the mix of modern dishes and stunning views over St Kilda beach, all just a short taxi ride from the city. 40 Jacka Boulevard, St Kilda +61 3 9534 8221

Also in St Kilda, St Hotel is open for business following a two-and-a-half year renovation. While the heritage façade of the former St Kilda Bank building has been maintained, the inside has been transformed and stripped back to exposed brick, concrete and glass. This multi-storey venue now serves modern Thai cuisine in the Dining Room, prepared by former Chin Chin chef Sean Judd. In the Public Bar there is a seasonal cocktail menu and 18 beers on tap. Head upstairs for canapés and cocktails in the Supper Club.
54 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda, 03 9534 2944

Shane Delia’s restaurant Maha has reopened following a five-week, $1 million facelift. While the Middle Eastern menu remains much the same, with the addition of a few lighter options, the dining room has a whole new look with a fresh white, aqua and copper scheme and increased capacity to seat 130 diners.
21 Bond Street, Melbourne, 03 9629 5900

BCKYRD is a new venture in Brunswick, designed to overcome a pitfall of modern life – with the increase in apartment living, people don’t have backyards to enjoy anymore. A little plot of land is now home to two shipping containers and a food truck, creating a community space where visitors can enjoy great food in the great outdoors. Menu options include crab and corn chowder, flathead and chips and ramen and duck meatballs.
20 Nicholson Street, Brunswick

Three generations of Valmorbidas have owned King & Godfree, one of the oldest licensed grocery stores in Australia, located minutes from the city in Carlton. For the first time in 20 years, the family is planning a major redevelopment following the acquisition of two adjacent shops. Last December a new gelateria, Pidapipo opened as the first stage of the project. The next phase, starting late 2015 will see the three shops transform into a compact food precinct, including a traditional grocer and deli, an Italian wine bar, café and espresso bar.
293 Lygon Street, Carlton, 03 9347 1619

The Swan Street Chamber of Commerce is a temporary collective of businesses brought together under one magnificent roof for an eight-month tenure. Vendors include Rustica Sourdough, Pressed Juices, Monsier Truffle, Will & Co coffee and some of Melbourne’s best food trucks, all housed in a stunning heritage-listed former bank.
214 – 216 Swan Street, Richmond,  0419 147 721

The team behind Carlton restaurant Town Mouse will open an offshoot in the city later this year. The new, two-level venue will offer an all day grazing menu with a casual vibe, and the same approach to service and quality that diners have come to expect from the original.
122 Russell Street, Melbourne, 03 9347 3312

Brunswick East is set to welcome a new Latin eatery, Lady Carolina, in July 2015. Chef Paul Wilson’s menu will feature exotic cuisine influenced by the flavours of Mexico, Peru and Cuba. The venue will offer a feasting table for group bookings and an edgy back bar serving up street food and drinks. This promises to be an exciting addition to Melbourne’s food scene – fresh, innovative and inspiring with a focus on sustainability.
175 – 177 Lygon Street North, Brunswick East. 0407 900 840

The team behind popular neighbourhood cafés Top Paddock and Kettle Black, will open their first city site in the coming months. The café will be housed within a former factory, boasting 400 square metres of space and soaring high ceilings, giving this project a scale usually reserved for the suburbs. At 260 Spencer Street and adjacent to the planned Upper West retail precinct, Higher Ground, will bring a new wave of interest to the west end of the city grid. The menu will be an evolution of the two established cafés still focusing on local produce but with a few interesting new twists.

The cocktail masters at Eau de Vie are about to launch Boilermaker House, a sophisticated, blues-filled cured meats and cheese bar. They will stock over 20 varieties of meat and a wide selection of cheese, all matched to beers, whiskey and wine. Diners can settle into a private booth or perch on a bar-side high chair while they soak up the ambience. It is anticipated they will open this month.
209–211 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne 0424 270 082

From the owner’s of Belle’s Hot Chicken comes Bar Clarine, an uber small wine bar situated next to its clucking cousin. As well as an extensive wine list, the bar features a complementary food menu with a slight Southern accent – think griddled rice cakes with boiled peanut hummus or sardines on toast with a tomato gravy. But don’t’ get too wedded to any one dish, as the menu changes every 10 days.
150 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, 03 9077 0788

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