New Restaurants Heat Up Melbourne’s Dining Scene

Thanks to Melbourne’s dizzying array of dining options and the city-wide emphasis on the stomach, eating in Melbourne is always an adventure. The city’s cultural mix is represented on the plate and new experiences are constantly being added to the moveable feast that is Melbourne.  Here are just a few of the new restaurants set to further heat up the city’s dining scene.

La Chinesca
Melbourne’s first Chinese-Mexican restaurant has just opened it’s doors in the funky basement of heritage-listed Harley House (previously Strange Wolf) on Collins Street. The cavernous, underground bar will serve food which is inspired by co-owner, Andrew Lewis’ time in Shanghai and Hong Kong but also fuses flavours of Mexico. Diners can expect dishes such as steamed mini buns with short ribs cooked in Mexican Abodo sauce, steamed dumplings and a chocolate brûlée with raspberry jam and chilli candy. The fit out includes the works of award-winning painter Vincent Fantauzzo, most notabley his Archibald Portrait Prize, Heath Ledger painting, which will complement the bar’s stripped back design and fit out. Harley House Basement, 71 Collins Street, Melbourne (entry via Strachan Lane)

Le Bon Ton
The boys that bought popular venues Chingon, Dr Juicy Jay’s Crab Shack and Cuban food truck El Paladar, have opened a new joint in what was once Collingwood’s Hell Tower Saloon. The venue will serve oysters til the break o’ dawn thanks to a 24-hour licence and is home to two smokers in the courtyard predominantly for brisket, sausages and pork shoulder. Le Bon Ton will keep the drinks flowing with New Orleans classic cocktails and absinthe on the menu. 51 GippsStreet, Collingwood

Northern Light Bar & Eatery
From the ashes of the ever-popular Gigibaba emerges Northern Light Bar & Eatery, making even brighter Collingwood’s Smith Street diverse dining scene. Opened in January by Adam Liston (Borrowed Space) and Glen Bagnara (ex-Chester White), Northern Light takes its inspiration from Liston’s years in Shanghai, applying a Chinese and Japanese influence to its menu of small plates. 102 Smith Street, Collingwood

Prix Frixe
“Where dinner becomes the show” is the motto of Australia’s first ticketed dining experience – Prix Fixe. Prix Fixe bucks the no-bookings trend and sells tickets two months in advance for themed set lunch and dinner menus. Themes will rotate on a monthly basis with the first being, ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’, running from 21 February – 31 March. The brainchild of chef Philippa Sibley (Albert St Foodstore) and Jason M Jones (Porgie & Mr Jones), the new dining spot is located on Alfred Place in the Paris end of Melbourne.  Alfred Place, Melbourne

Chris Lucas, the man behind Chin Chin and Baby Pizza will add another restaurant to his culinary hit-list, in March, when he opens Kong, an oriental pit barbeque restaurant. The Japanese and Korean inspired eatery will be located in Richmond on Church Street and will specialise in the Asian style of barbeque, over hot coals and in traditional smoking ovens. 599 Church Street, Richmond

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