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.
Reine and La Rue
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.
Reservations are now open, too, which you can book via the Reine and La Rue website.
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 will focus on tricked up charcoal chicken and sides, like sumac and chicken salt-dusted chips and fattoush.
The group will also take 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.
Fitzroy has a new trattoria paying homage to Piedmont with a menu of lush pastas. Alta Trattoria’s head chef McKay Wilday started out as an apprentice under Guy Grossi, which sparked his love affair with Italian cuisine, only to be further emboldened by a three-year stint living in Italy.
To this end, the menu includes tarajin (a thin ribbon-like pasta) with a rich rabbit ragù; gnocchi della val varaita (a Parmigiano-Reggiano gnocchi with hazelnuts and sage); and spaghetti alla chitarra pomodoro.
Chessell & Clarke
Southbank now boasts a slick new Mediterranean café serving Euro-centric dishes. Led by Murat Ovaz (ex-Yagiz) and Serge Thomann (i Carusi ii), Chessell & Clarke is a stylish newcomer located on the ground floor of the Hickory Market Lane building, with interiors designed by Flack Studio – think gorgeous tiling, red marble, warm timbers and exposed fixtures.
The 50-seat diner draws on both Ovaz’s Turkish heritage and head chef Frank Berardi’s Italian culinary training; the menu features dishes such as Cilbir (Tukish eggs), mortadella and stracciatella ciabatta, and house-made pork and gremolata sausage with saffron onions.
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.
A restaurant perched 80 floors above Melbourne sounds impressive. But that’s not the only impressive number for Atria, the grand restaurant at the city’s new Ritz-Cartlon. The à la carte menu will have five sections; there will be a dedicated 26-seat cold bar; and it will take just 46 seconds to zip up to level 80 in the elevator. While numbers say a bit about the restaurant, what says more are the two chefs at the helm: the iconoclastic Mark Best, who leads the team as culinary advisor; and executive chef Michael Greenlaw, who spent more than 15 years cooking in five-star hotels and awarded restaurants including London’s Bibendum, New York’s Gilt and Melbourne’s Vue de Monde.
The team also hopes to continue the storied dining legacy of the five-star hotel brand, which has its origins in Paris and London. “Obviously the Ritz-Carlton has an incredibly rich culinary history, going back to César Ritz, and Auguste Escoffier,” says Best. And while that historic legacy could daunt or distract some chefs, Best is set on making the restaurant somewhere the people of Melbourne want to dine, first and foremost.
Castlerose and Clementine
Glen Bagnara of Bar Bianco is opening two new venues in South Melbourne. Castlerose will be a restaurant and bar inspired by old-school dining traditions in the UK. The drinks list will focus on Champagne, with grower Champagnes such as Marc Augustin, De Sousa and Cédric Moussé; and rotating Champagne flights. Snacks such as duck cigars and two-bite pork pies will be joined by a cheese trolley wheeling around with 10 to 12 different cheeses. Mains may include Brit classic like a whole roast chicken with black garlic, lemon and gravy; beef Wellington; or wagyu steak with Yorkshire pudding and red wine sauce.
Also from Bagnara, Clementine is a low-key but refined daytime eatery that takes in influences from across the world while staying firmly in Melbourne. The two-level venueis open from 7.30am, offering upscale breakfast and lunch in an elegant dining space.
Prahan Market has welcomed Spanish bakery Le Colmena into the foodie fold. It specialises in lesser known Spanish delicacies, including piononos (rolled small sponge cakes filled with custard), ensaïmadas (a spiral-shaped pastry from Mallorca), Miguelitos (a cream-filled puff pastry) and tocino de cielo (similar to a custard flan). Owner Cristina Jiménez left her career in computer engineering to open pastelería, to serve Melburnians and Spanish expats alike.
“My philosophy is to honour Spanish pastry, not to reinvent it, as I know people will love the authentic product,” says Jiménez.
Argentinian head chef and co-owner Sergio Tourn is behind Brunswick’s fresh Latin American restaurant and bar. Tino is slinging handmade empanadas and ever-changing fresh ceviche. Alongside classics, Tourn is also experimenting with blue corn focaccia (a play on the flour typically used in tortillas, tostadas and arepas), house-made chorizo and a beef tartare seasoned with salsa morita, saltbush and avocado. Drinks-wise, expect plenty of pisco sours and fresh riffs on Latin American classics.
In Collingwood, Orlo – a modern Greek restaurant led by restaurateur James Klapanis (Young’s Wine Room and St Cloud) – will open in a heritage-listed former cordial factory.
Dishes from the open kitchen will include stuffed sardines, raisins, tomato and herbs to start leek pie with sheep curd and smoked egg yolk for mains; and a restaurant-ready take on an Iced Vovo dubbed the Riced Vivi with rice cream, burnt marshmallow and raspberry.
Orlo is slated to open sometime in 2023