Melbourne Restaurant

Hungry While Visiting Melbourne? Check Out This Places!

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    When it comes to the weekend, sometimes you just need to get out of the city. But, unless you have a favorite camping spot or hike, it can be hard to decide where to go on a whim. We find that choosing an eating destination helps that. 

    Pick a restaurant, cafe, distillery, or brewery and plan the rest of your sojourn around it. Victoria has a heap of great options a not-too-far drive from the city, so you can escape for a Sunday lunch or a whole weekend of fine dining.

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    Dan Hunter's acclaimed Great Ocean Road fine diner.

    Behind the illustrious Great Ocean Road is another landmark that's just as impressive on a culinary level: Dan Hunter's Brae. The restaurant has been making jaws drop and clutching awards since its opening in 2014. Indeed, in 2018, it was named the 58th best restaurant in the world in the World's 100 Best Restaurants awards.

    Located in a farmhouse, the restaurant's interiors are pure, letting all of the attention rest on the food. The menu changes daily, constructed with ingredients grown in the luxurious outdoor garden. Osaka mustard, sugarloaf cabbage, shungiku and Russian kale are just a few you'll find out there during summer; come winter you'll find nasturtiums, kohlrabi, purple plum radish and bronze fennel.

    It's an expensive exercise — you'll spend some money for food alone and another money if you want matching wines — but it is undoubtedly one of Australia's best dining experiences.

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    Touchstone, Macleod

    Touchstone is only three weeks old but already delivers strongly on the food front. Smoked Beef Brisket Benny features a large amount of brisket, and potato, chorizo & cheddar croquettes instead of the usual toast.

    The Moroccan braised beans are topped with a substantial serving of beef short ribs, as well as gremolata, sumac labneh, harissa spice and nicely charred sourdough. The sumac and gremolata add a nice layer of acidity to this hearty dish.

    In terms of sweet dishes, the Snickers Panna Cotta is highly recommended. The oblong-shaped milk chocolate panna cotta is teamed up with salted macadamia caramel, raspberry gelee, strawberries, peanut crumble and torched marshmallows.  The sweet peanut crumble has notes of honey, and the tanginess of the raspberry brings the dessert into balance.

    Touchstone is well worth a visit and is conveniently located near Macleod station.

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    Doot Doot Doot

    Jackalope Hotel's opulent fine diner.

    The Mornington Peninsula's luxury hotel complex Jackalope is where you'll find oddly named fine diner, Doot Doot Doot. Up there among Victoria's best, the menu consists of a multi-course degustation with plenty of luxe optional add-ons ranging from caviar to truffle honey crumpets. 

    On this food journey, you'll try the likes of a wallaby bolognese with Daniel's Run tomatoes; dry-aged duck teamed with Davidson plum and beetroot; and slow-roasted celeriac finished with a pear, juniper and chestnut crumble.

    There's also a classical-meets-futuristic cocktail bar on-premises, Flaggerdoot (apparently they're all Jackalope themed names). And prepare to be wowed by the immaculate design — there are 10,000 lights on the ceiling that flash on and off randomly to mimic the bubbling fermentation process.

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    Morrison’s, Hawthorn

    Operating mainly as a cafe, Morrison’s transforms into a restaurant on Friday nights, showcasing dishes from various countries within Latin America as well as a bit of Southeast Asian flair thanks to its Malaysian chef.

    Start with the Peruvian Ceviche, which has plenty of refreshing bites, or the fat cassava chips and their delicious mayo. There are plenty of stews in Latin American cuisine, which is perfect for the cooler months ahead.

     The Brazilian Feijoada is one with beans, chorizo, pork ribs and pork shoulder. There’s a bit of spice to it too, keeping you warm and full. The Encebollado was the highlight – an Ecuadorian fish stew, tonight using swordfish, served with chunky cassava and pickled red onions.

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    Innocent Bystander

    The Yarra Valley winemaker's Healesville venue is part cellar door, part pumping wine bar.

    Yarra Valley winemaker Innocent Bystander has thrown open the doors to its new Healesville digs, taking over the lofty space once home to White Rabbit's brewing operations.

    The cellar door and winery look set to hold their own amongst the region's many culinary hot spots, with plans to showcase the label's award-winning drops alongside a smorgasbord of other Yarra Valley delights. It's a relaxed space, with lots of natural timber and a plethora of seating options, lending itself to wine-tasting fly-bys and long, lazy lunches alike.

    A whopping, 15-meter stone bar boasts copper wine taps and a KeyKeg system, which means you can sample most varietals by the glass, by the share-friendly carafe or as part of a tasting paddle. There's plenty of local love on display, too, with liquid treats from the likes of Hargreaves Hill Brewery, Four Pillars Gin and Allpress Coffee balancing out all that wine.

    Meanwhile, an all-day menu is geared for sharing, running from grazing boards and a trio of paella dishes, to classically styled pizzas, fresh from the shiny Marana Forni pizza oven. Large plates might include the likes of a slow-braised brisket, served with roasted mushrooms and a Syrah jus.

    Innocent Bystander is open from 12 pm to 9 pm, seven days a week. Find them at 334 Maroondah Highway, Healesville.

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    Toorak Tracktor, Armadale

    Nestled within the Toorak Park development right next to Toorak station, is a new cafe and emporium called Toorak Tracktor. Products and fresh produce are up for sale, sourced from local businesses. Fresh, sustainable and local produce is also the main driver of their food menu, and to keep in line with this, their menu is changed up every week.

    Nestled within the Toorak Park development right next to Toorak station, is a new cafe and emporium called Toorak Tracktor. Products and fresh produce are up for sale, sourced from local businesses. Fresh, sustainable and local produce is also the main driver of their food menu, and to keep in line with this, their menu is changed up every week.

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    Animus Distillery

    Kyneton's own gin distillery and cocktail bar.

    When the Animus team started, it was waiting for its barrel-aged whisky to mature — but the four lads didn't sit idly around, twiddling thumbs and rolling each other across the plains in Kilmore. Instead, they decided to use their time wisely to create a gin. Or, as currently is the case, five vapor-pressed varieties of the stuff.

    The Davidson Gin is its take on England's traditional sloe gin, but with a distinctly Australian flavor. Using native Davidsonia Pruriens — a tropical sour plum from the temperate regions of northern NSW and Queensland — the distillery has steeped the plums in their award-winning dry gin to create an intense and unique character.

    The best part is that the distillery's cellar door also operates as a cocktail bar on Kyneton's main drag. It's open every night of the week — and it's only an hour away from the city on the V/Line.

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    Fossey's Ginporium & Distillery

    An old-timey gin distillery and bar found on the country streets of Mildura.

    Replacing traditional gin ingredients with homegrown delights such as Australian lemon myrtle, pepper berry, lavender and cassia, the Fossey's team can be found hand-foraging and hand-bottling its gins in Mildura, the largest settlement in the Sunraysia region (aka the land of grapes and oranges).

    Fossey's Navel Strength Gin Elixir has won awards at the Australian Distilled Spirits Awards; it's a drop that's packed full of juniper berries, ginger and — you guessed it — citrus. It has four times the amount of citrus than the distillery's regular gin: a nod to how historically, navy sailors would sip, squeeze and scrounge for oranges to keep scurvy at bay.

    Mark this one down on your 'someday' map — you might be somewhere near Mildura at some point and the bar would make a welcome pitstop, what with its gin and whisky tasting paddles, and its impressive lineup of cocktails. Otherwise, you can order a bottle of Fossey's online.

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    Morgan's Sorrento

    A sprawling restaurant serving seafood and local Mornington Peninsula beer and wine right on the foreshore.

    Just one hour and 20 minutes. That's all it takes to get out of the CBD and land smack bang in Sorrento to enjoy some beachside bliss at Morgan's.

    Located on Sorrento's esplanade, the waterside venue — which encompasses a restaurant and an adjoining wine store and bar — looks out over Port Phillip Bay. Needless to say, it's an ideal spot to lose a few hours on a summer afternoon.

    Maintaining its limestone portico, the casual seaside feel is not lost in Morgan's crisp timber interiors. The restaurant boasts an expansive outdoor deck with festoon lighting, cozy lounges and views of the bay that let you absorb all the benefits of being out of the city and on the peninsula.

    Cast your eyes away from the view for a minute to scout out the fresh seafood-based menu. It's hard to go past straight-up fish and chips here, but you can also get your seafood in the form of blue swimmer crab san choy bow, salt cod fritters, or the seared ocean trout with spicy tamarind caramel.

    To drink, refreshing cocktails include a classic Tommy's margarita or choose from a list of local wine and beers.

    For a full range of Mornington Peninsula tipples, head next door to the wine store. A sophisticated step up from the beach shack, Morgan's Wine Store and Ale House is akin to a laneway bar in Melbourne's CBD – just with a bluer view. Order a grazing plate, a local vino, and settle in for the night. Alternatively, you can grab a bottle to take away.

    Like we said, only one hour and 20 minutes away. Weekend plans, sorted.

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    Portsea Hotel

    The Mornington Peninsula spot boasts new bars, a pizza menu and killer views over the bay.

    Famed for its waterfront beer garden and sweeping bay views, the Portsea Hotel has had another makeover — it’s second in as many years. The sprawling Mornington Peninsula hot spot has scored a new chef, a new menu and multiple new bars.

    The upgrade isn't as dramatic as 2018's $7 million transformations, but it has given the interiors a refresh — making the pub's many spaces lighter, pared-back Hamptons-inspired vibe. The acclaimed beer garden remains, as does the dining room, and both maintain optimal enjoyment of the beach views and the sea breeze.

    Upstairs function space the Bertrand Bar offers some pretty special vistas of its own.

    The kitchen is now three times the size, with two wood-fired pizza ovens that turn out classic pies with toppings like sausage and potato, and capriccioso vegan cheese and gluten-free bases are available). Regular pub classics like fish and chips, steaks, burgers and parmas remain on the menu, too.

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    il Vigneto Pizzeria Yarra Valley

    The Neapolitan-style restaurant opens its latest digs — in a winery.

    400 Gradi founder Johnny Di Francesco is doing very well for himself. Apart from claiming the title of the best pizza in Oceania in July 2018, he's also expanded his Neapolitan-style restaurant to a whopping six locations (and one gelateria) that span Melbourne, Adelaide and, most recently, the Yarra Valley.

    The wine country digs opened in partnership with (and within) the Rochford Wines Yarra Valley estate, having first fired up its ovens in October 2018. Di Francesco joins the winery's owner Helmut Konecsny to bring guests a most exquisite pairing of Red 5 Star wines with fine Italian cuisine and wood-fired pizza that is considered the best in the region.

    The award-winning Margherita verace is a showcase on the Yarra Valley menu — it's a holy combination of San Marzano tomatoes, fior di latte mozzarella cheese, basil and extra virgin olive oil. The rest of the menu has been specially curated by Di Francesco and includes more signature pizzas, along with antipasto, pasta, sides and desserts.

    To complement the food, Rochford Wine sommeliers have carefully paired its premium drops with each dish — and the acclaimed 2017 Single Vineyard Isabella's Chardonnay and much loved 2018 Estate Rosé are both on the list. Though 400 Gradi is located within the Rochford estate, it operates separately from the vineyard's Isabella restaurant, which offers its own seasonal menu focusing on local produce.

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    Two bays Brewing Co

    A brewery on the Mornington Peninsula where all the beer (and the pizza) is gluten-free

    The Mornington Peninsula now has its gluten-free brewpub thanks to Twøbays Brewing. The public tasting room in Dromana is set amongst the production brewery, which began operation in 2017. Its stainless steel tanks are visible from the brewpub side, and the entire facility overlooks the picturesque Arthur's Seat.

    Founder and beer enthusiast Richard Jeffares was diagnosed with coeliac disease in 2016 and became inspired by similar gluten-free taprooms found in The States. Jeffares signed on head brewer Andrew Gow, whose resumé boasts 20 years in the business, including at Mornington Peninsula Brewery, Mountain Goat and Five Islands in Sydney's Wollongong.

    While most beers use gluten-containing malted barley, Twøbays instead uses gluten-free millet, rice and buckwheat — imported from Colorado and California — in all its beers.

    The brewpub boasts a range of core and specialty tap beers, from a lager and an XPA, to limited-edition creations like the Ball Park Bloom Belgian witbier. To try a few at once, patrons can nab a four-pony tasting paddle.

    Apart from brews, there's locally produced Quealy wine and Ten Sixty One cider to enjoy. And, adding to the theme, there's also a wood-fired oven slinging gluten-free pizza. The taproom is a cash-free environment, though, so make sure you come with a card in hand.

    Twøbays sells a selection of its beers online — all of which are Coeliac Australia certified — so keep an eye on the brewery's website for updates. If you're a keen home-brewer, Twøbays is also selling and shipping its gluten-free brew packs and malts across Australia.

    There is no authentic Melbourne dish or cuisine. Rather, the city's food options are limitless because it is a multicultural melting pot. Food is a portal into culture, and Melbourne's vibrant immigration history remains at the forefront of its culture partly because of its undeniably international cuisine.
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