From new rooftop bars to soon-to-open restaurants in the Melbourne CBD, there are always plenty of new venues to know about in Melbourne. Here, we've picked the most noteworthy venue openings to have on your radar.
Whether you're keen to know about the hotly anticipated Melbourne cocktail bar from a leading hospitality group or looking for a new neighbourhood eatery to visit, we have you covered.
Over in Collingwood, a new day-to-night dining destination with Latin American tunes, tipples and sticky snacks has opened. Pincho Disco may be an unlikely combination of terms (pincho meaning stick or skewer and disco referring to the music style as much as the club vibe) but together they form a lively late-night dining and cocktail spot on Cambridge Street.
Latin America will serve as the expansive brief for Pincho Disco, with chef Diego Cardenas taking over the Josper oven and woodfire-powered kitchen. The Colombian-born chef worked extensively across Spain and Peru before coming to Australia and will use this time to inform the menu. Cardenas plans to devote a section of the menu to the venue's namesake skewers. "Then [we'll do] a ceviche (raw fish cooked in tiger's milk), aguachiles (a Mexican-style ceviche) and crudo, done with octopus, snapper, kingfish, snapper, scallops and more," he says. This lighter, snackier part of the menu is ideal for quick bites across the two-level venue joined by cocktails, or for whetting the appetite before diving into the larger meat-focused plates.
Culinary director Jake Furst is excited to bring his experience in dry-ageing meats to Pincho Disco. "I have a love for dry-aged meats and steaks – we focused on the dry-ageing program at Cinder in Fitzroy," says Furst, speaking of a nearby venue in the wider Kickon Group, a collection of 10 kitchens which he oversees. The grills will also serve vegetarians with a golden Argentinian-style wood-fired cheese.
Melbourne's sky-high fine-diner Vue de Monde has reopened after a three-month refresh. Perched 55 floors above Melbourne's CBD, Vue de Monde and sister bar Lui dazzle with fresh interiors, a brand-new chef's tasting menu and the same spectacular city views. But it's not just a cosmetic lift, with the menu also undergoing considerable change during the restaurant's three-month closure. There are still inflections of creative director Shannon Bennett on the 18-plate tasting menu, alongside executive chef Hugh Allen's innovations that reflect his commitment to Australian provenance: grilled lamb sweetbreads with asparagus and fermented macadamia sauce; padrón peppers filled with heirloom eggplant cooked in wild nasturtium oil, and marron tail slowly grilled with fried native herb paste.
In more casual revamps, St. Cloud Eating House in Melbourne's Hawthorn East has welcomed a menu re-do from chef Jerry Mai. A reimagining of the Vietnamese menu sees Mai add more small plates (including grilled scallops with wild onion butter and nuoc mam; and seared sticky lamb ribs) alongside a refreshed cocktail menu.
South Yarra's Park Pantry is set to evolve into a wine bar led by sommelier Jeremy Vogrin (ex-Entrecote, Maha and Rare Hare). A Euro-leaning wine list is joined by a succinct snacky menu that trots through the south of France and Italy, with salted cod fritters; seasonal crudités; and octopus carpaccio with celeriac rémoulade. Chef MarcAntoine ThomasPierre Nicolaii was a mainstay in many of Melbourne's much-loved French restaurants in the '90s and brings his time growing up in and travelling through France to the kitchen and floor of the café-meets-wine bar.
Rooftop at QT
Melbourne's Rooftop at QT has undergone a revamp ahead of summer. Expect cleverly modified cocktails — each of which can be ordered as a single serve or for up to six people — alongside a new menu with attention-grabbing shareable snacks like fried mortadella and provolone sandwiches, a bright lobster cocktail served with Cognac-horseradish Marie Roe; and a shortbread ice-cream sandwich with lemon mascarpone ice-cream.
Windsor is set to welcome Studio Amaro, a day-to-night Italo-disco-meets-dining space on Chapel Street from the team behind Commune Group (Firebird, Moonhouse and New Quarter). "There's a long history of Italian food in Melbourne so we're not reinvienting the wheel. We want it to be approachable – just good times and quality food," says creative director Simon Blacher. Housed within a light-filled new building replete with curved concrete, the restaurant will be spread across two levels. Interior designer Wendy Bergman is on board to realise the brief – "to create a space that's retro and Italian but not to be themed." To this end expect corduroy banquettes, retro tiling and timber floors. In the kitchen chef Daniel Migliaccio will bring his Italian heritage to the pans, while Victoria's four distinct seasons will ensure an ever-changing menu celebrates Italian classics with a local approach. "We've got a custom wood grill for antipasti and mains, house-made bread and pasta, plus our focaccia recipe that has been in the works for eight months," says Blacher. Of course, cocktail-wise, every level will embrace amaro. "The classics, Negroni Sbagliato, and diving deep into the bittersweet flavour profile. Plus a list of 40 to 50 amaros to work through." And music will be another cornerstone of the venue. "I'm working with local music curators that have delved pretty deep into Napoli Italo-disco. It'll be good drinking music without being a club," says Blacher.
Melbourne is in the midst of a spicy Thai resurgence, and siblings May and Nat Pongvattanaporn are the second-generation restaurateurs behind the new Kan Eang on Flinders Lane. Harnessing recipes from the family's cooking heritage, the pair is also putting new-wave twists on each of the dishes. Avocado green curry sees the rich staple added to the well-loved Thai classic. Fried rice gets an unctuous makeover with black truffle paste and shiitake mushrooms, and is served with a cured egg yolk and oven-roasted bone marrow. Lemongrass sticks pierce beef ("Marinated with Thai herbs we call The Three Thai Musketeers: coriander root, garlic and white pepper," says Pongvattanaporn) and come served with a coconut-based sauce with peanuts. Alongside these left-of-centre plays you'll find classic stir-fries, rice dishes and curries, plus colourful cocktails.
In the CBD, Morris House is a refreshed pub with four levels of eating and drinking to explore. The ground floor dining room is followed by a terrace overlooking Exhibition Street, and three levels pump out a menu of New York-meets-Melbourne approachable plates, including spiced meatballs with ciabatta; pastrami bagels; and spanner crab spaghetti.
Near Melbourne's CBD, Antara 128 will open on Exhibition Street. Straddling the line between a bakery and a restaurant, the venture comes from the teams behind Aru and Sunda. The all-day bakery will peddle pizza and pastries, but all with an Asian touch applied through both flavours and techniques.
Southside, the team behind the much-loved Florian café has opened Juniper. The Coventry Street eatery is doing moreish breakfast plates of cured trout with dill labne, pickled fennel and sourdough; and herb and Gruyère omelettes; while at lunchtime you'll find sprawling bowls of salads to pick and mix and hearty sambos.
The listening bar craze continues with the opening of Stellas in St Kilda's Saint Hotel. Inspired by Japanese listening bars, the new cocktail bar sports custom 9-foot-tall speakers made by Tasmanian audio duo Pitt & Giblin. The bar is only open on Fridays and Saturday, with DJs spinning records while you sip playful cocktails such as a gin, sherry and Davidson plum concoction; and a hot chocolate-inspired one made with wattleseed cachaca, chocolate liqueur, sherry, amaro and coconut water.
Central Club Hotel
One of Melbourne's oldest pubs has reopened after an impressive revamp. Central Club Hotel, located in North Melbourne, is a 150-year-old gem that has undergone substantial renovations, turning the historic pub into a sustainable marvel whereby every element of the refurbishment has been designed to make it energy efficient. So you can have your pint and feel pretty good about it too. The new-look pub houses a public bar with an all-Australian drinks list (with the exception of Guinness on tap); a lounge sporting high tables; a bistro with more formal dining furnishings; and a private dining room for up to 18 guests. Head down the stairs and you'll find Depot Bar - a dimly lit space and dedicated whisky bar.
New from Andrew McConnell, small bar Apollo Inn pays homage to one of Melbourne's first public bars (of the same name which was orginally situated where Gimlet currently is) and puts a laser focus on well-made cocktails. Expect chic interiors by ACME - who also did Gimlet - with timber wall panelling and colourful Murano glass light fittings. From the marble bartop, order up a Lucien Gaudin with gin, Campari, dry vermouth and Grand Marnier; or a Martini to your liking, be it Dry, Dirty, Gibson or Café. A sharp-shooting menu of snacks includes zesty gildas, a seafood take on the classic club sandwich with prawn and spanner crab; and a seasoned and sliced beef carpaccio.
Reine and La Rue
The Nomad crew's hotly anticipated Reine and La Rue is now open, taking over the historic Melbourne Stock Exchange building on Collins Street. Built in the late 1800s, the neo-Gothic building is resplendent with limestone walls, stained-glass windows, marble dado, stately granite columns, and high vaulted ceilings. Brendan Katich of Nomad Melbourne has been appointed as head chef of Reine and La Rue; he'll work alongside the group's executive chef Jacqui Challinor to create a menu inspired by French classics - think steak frites and cheese trolleys. The cavernous, 150-seat building will be split into three distinct areas: Reine's main dining room with caramel leather banquettes and cosy booths, and a 10-metre-long marble bar; the external 40-seat courtyard; and La Rue - the intimate, eight-seater speakeasy.
In Richmond, Esca, the restaurant group behind Sydney's Aalia and Nour has made its Melbourne debut, with the opening of Henrietta. Like its Sydney iteration, the Middle Eastern-leaning restaurant focuses on tricked up charcoal chicken and sides, like sumac and chicken salt-dusted chips and fattoush. The group also takes things up a notch with a modern mezze and main menu including duck koftas with cacik (a herbed yoghurt with cucumbers); barramundi fillet with saffron and caviar; and "tiramisfouf", a Middle Eastern take on tiramisù with pine nut praline and coffee.
Out of the city in Glen Iris, Grazia is a 100-seat Italian neighbourhood newbie. Roman-style fluffy focaccia is joined by house-made pasta and pizze made in a custom Castelli Italian oven, which has a lower and slower cook time, and is also used to roast meats and vegetables. There's also zucchini flowers with ricotta, Gorgonzola, pecorino and mozzarella; sweet and sour agrodolce with dried figs; and house-made gelato.
Odd Culture Fitzroy
Odd Culture has opened in Fitzroy on Brunswick Street, focusing on drinks of the funky and left-of-centre variety. Unlike its Sydney outpost, there isn't a full kitchen in Fitzroy, instead the menu offers easy-going plates of terrines, charcuterie, cheese, anchovies and pickles. One dish that will make its way to Melbourne however is the ever-popular chicken liver pâté with fish sauce caramel and crisp potato chips. These snacks are joined by a bottle shop, from which you can peruse and drink in or takeaway.
South of the river, Sydney's excellent pan-Asian smokehouse Yan will bring white-hot charcoals and fresh ideas to South Yarra. Much like the original restaurant, the meny may see king prawns hot smoked then served chilled with a punchy garlic and ginger dipping sauce; while beef tataki comes with smoked mussels and an anchovy wasabi crumb. Even the panko coating on tender chicken katsu gets a faint whisper of charocal, while dessert sees liquid nitrogen smoke combined with coconut cream to make an ice-cream.
The team behind Heartattack and Vine has opened a new day-to-night eatery on a sunny corner in Carlton, called Sunhands. The multi-faceted café-cum-deli-wine bar sees head chef Pat Drapac (Bar Romantica and Old Palm Liquor) concoting a menu of seasonal small plates that go from suiting a latte to minimal intervention wine. After launching as a daytime venue, the team has recently extended hours into the evening, with snacky plates including oysters with mignonette; pickled octopus; baked ricotta with agrodolce; mussel escabeche; and an ever-changing handmade pasta.
Melbourne loves a rooftop - even when the temperature dips. Now, South Yarra has a brand-new rooftop offering 270-degree views over Melbourne, including the Yarra River, MCG and Port Melbourne bay. The newly opened Beverly sits on the 24th floor of Goldfields House, right above bustlng Chapel Street, and comes after years of planning and anticipation. The space has been designed by Mitchell & Eades, who are also responsible for Grill Americano, Carlton Wine Room and Mr Miyagi, and was inspired by the effortlessly cool rooftops of Los Angeles. expect seamless indoor-outdoor design, rich with earthy tones of terracotta, gold and rust that reflect the sunsets you'll be scoping from Melbourne's new sky-high spot. The drinks list heroes locally sourced products, from craft brews to spirits, plus organic and biodyamic wines from Australia and beyond to suit every palate. Food-wise, bar snacks like prawn ceviche, tuna tartare tostadas, and pasta with pork belly ragu are served from the open kitchen.