A stylish double-act from the Bistro Gitan crew, a Japanese-style breakfast spot, and a classy bistro. These are the latest and greatest eateries in Melbourne to have on your radar.
The latest contribution to Melbourne dining from the Reymond family (Bistro Gitan, L'Hotel Gitan) is a double-header in Cremorne. Fred's has a menu that starts with breakfast (croissants, salmon bagels) and then moves onto a bar menu (pâté, oysters) alongside a Euro-friendly wine list. Next door's Frédéric is a stylish diner with mod-Euro bistro dishes such as sweetcorn madeleines topped with crab (above) and Manchego mousse millefeuille.
Fred's/Frédéric, 9-11 Cremorne St, Cremorne, Vic, frederic.com.au
Part of the serene Japanese café wave that's been washing over Melbourne's inner north, Ima Project is a calm classic of the genre, complete with an ethical, minimal-waste philosophy. The food includes an excellent take on avo toast (served with nori-paste furikake and an onsen egg) and a karaage-chicken burger. The coffee (Proud Mary's) is good, too.
Ima Project, 169 Elgin St, Carlton, Vic, imacafe.co
Nathan Toleman, best known for his beautifully designed cafés (Liminal, Higher Ground), has made his first foray into restaurant territory with Hazel. All timber floors, leather booths and banquettes and subtle glitz, Hazel offers a lengthy menu of Aussie bistro food that runs the gamut from house-made charcuterie and smoked fish and capers on toast, to lamb with chimichurri. There's a decently-priced Euro-Australian wine list and good selection of cocktails.
Hazel, 164 Flinders Ln, Melbourne, hazelrestaurant.com.au