Restaurant News

Jack Horner, Melbourne

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now.

By Michael Harden

Our restaurant critics' picks of the latest and best eats around the country right now: Jack Horner, Melbourne.

If all goes to plan, this new business from Matt Wilkinson and Ben Foster (Pope Joan, Hams & Bacon) could come to represent their "I knew them when" moment. Because besides being a milk bar/corner store/canteen/cafeteria/bar/bottle shop hybrid, Jack Horner is a template, a prototype for a kind of upmarket 7-Eleven for new apartment buildings. So, instead of microwaved junk food, you can get a green tofu laksa, a goat and chorizo braise or a robust Bolognese that you can eat in or take away. You can also pick up a craft beer, bag of organic pet food, bottle of biodynamic milk, enviro-friendly toilet paper or a jar of peanut butter (designer or regular) from the grocery section. Well-lit and clean-lined, it all feels very European. Like most prototypes, Jack Horner Mark 1 is impressively over-engineered. Large and spacious with a concrete-floored, bare-timber and exposed-utilities industrial aesthetic, it features a blue-tiled bar and a cafeteria-like servery, complete with trays and a sculptural blonde-wood tray track. Line up with your tray and you can choose one of four hot dishes (warming on an induction stovetop), bread rolls, house-made pickles, fresh cheese, sliced free-range ham and an impressive selection of salads (ancient grain, Asian coleslaw). Whole and half roast (free-range) chickens will also be available, as will breakfast, a compact affair (jaffles, eggs, toast, muesli) ordered via a box-ticking menu that you hand to the cashier. Jack Horner itself ticks a lot of boxes and ticks them well. Watch this space.

Jack Horner, 179 Weston St, East Brunswick, Vic; open daily 7am-8pm

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  • Author: Michael Harden