Dust off your favorite outfit with a matching mask because we’ve found some of the best places to get some fresh air and fresh bites in the sunshine … yes, or drizzle or whatever other meteorological delights Melbourne offers us. Alex Ghaddab of Park Street Pasta says, “Melburnians are tough. We didn’t have any problems filling tables outside in June so I’m sure summer will be great. There is so much to look forward to. ”
One night in June, Bruce Keebaugh of the Big Group had a forward-looking dream. “I woke up one morning and thought, ‘We’re going to build a garden.’ “And so they did. His team transformed the vast area on St. Kilda Road, which used to be the Belgian beer café, into The Commons, an outdoor destination with four themed areas.
“It’s 100 percent about hope and joy, and we want to provide them with the bucketload of rosé,” says Keebaugh. “Different areas have unique sensory experiences – a beer garden, a winter garden that looks like a trolley that has fallen out of space, tables on water lily leaves so that distancing feels charming and not sad.”
At this time of year, the Big Group would normally race and flutter over the birdcage in the middle of spring. Not so much this year. “We’re bringing this event landscape here,” says Keebaugh. “Think entertainers play guitars under a tree, rosé on trolleys. It will be fun. I have absolute confidence in human nature. We want to celebrate again and will do it in a COVID-safe way. ”
The Commons im Ormond Collective, 557 St. Kilda Road (Eingang in der Moubray Street), Melbourne, ormondcollective.net.au/the-commons
“We want to help people shake off lockdown fatigue.”
Georgie Larkins, Arbory
Lobster spaghetti in a paper package at Arbory Afloat. Foto: Simon Shiff
In the past few years, the Yarra River party pontoon has channeled glamorous travel destinations like the Amalfi Coast and Miami. But like all of us, Arbory Afloat is staying close to home this summer. As a tribute to the Australian beach hut, they clad the facade with whitewashed wood and dot their holiday home on Flinders Street station with cane furniture, lounge chairs and sturdy plantings.
Instead of standing five times low at the bar to scream for spritzers, a visit to Arbory now means the waiters in smart client liaison uniforms stay seated at the table. You’ll likely want to have sex in the beach house – the new cocktail is made from white-flavored rum and peach liquor. Med-Aussie eats lobster spaghetti in a paper packet.
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“We want to help people shake off the lockdown fatigue,” says Arbory’s Georgie Larkins.
Northbank, Yarra River, Melbourne, arboryafloat.com.au
This huge shaded deck on Albert Park Lake will be one of the best locations of summer before you even even consider the elegant Cantonese and Sichuan food and menus specially designed for the outside. Light, summer hits are jade dumplings with seafood, fried prawns with black pepper and coral trout with a golden carrot dressing.
9 Aquatic Drive, Albert Park, sun-kitchen.com
Small Collins collective
The cool restaurants and eateries around Russell Place and Little Collins Street have come together to form the Little Collins Collective. Gin Palace, Bar Ampere, Neapoli, Marameo and Der bacaro join forces to activate the lane, parking lots and free retail space nearby.
If that means salt and pepper squid from Neapoli, a cheeky martini from Gin Palace, Wagyu tartare and antipasti from Marameo (picture), spaghettini from Il Bacaro and seal-the-deal absinthe from Bar Ampere, then our summer is in Melbourne just the thing for you indeed rosy.
Marameo owner Joe Mammone forges a plan at his Bar Carolina in South Yarra and is closing down South Caroline Street to create a walk-in grill with live music.
Ecke Russell Place und Little Collins Street, Melbourne, marameo.com.au
Mr Brownies Dach
The insatiable Jessi Singh bought a pub at the start of the pandemic, but didn’t get much opportunity to show it off. Now Mr. Brownie’s roof can come into its own. Get ready for curries, craft beer, and cocktails on red velvet sofas with sparkling city views.
Singh also plans to have some outdoor fun at his city restaurant, Mrs Singh: a champagne cart wobbling along Flinders Lane could soon become as Melbourne as a rattling tram.
343 Clarendon Street, South Melbourne, themrbrownie.com
The beach deck at the Stokehouse Precinct always feels like a cruise stay. Even more this summer. Jason Staudt’s menu riffs for beach parties with classics such as fried calamari, shrimp buckets and hanger steak.
The cocktail vibe is tropical – aloha coconut margaritas – and desserts dance in that direction too, with pastry chef Lauren Eldridge putting her zesty spin on pine and lime splice.
30 Jacka Boulevard, St. Kilda, pontoonstkildabeach.com.au
Two birds brew
Craft brewer Jayne Lewis can’t speak highly enough about Hobsons Bay City Council and its work in helping Melbourne drink beer.
“They gave me a fantastic, large area with footpaths and street parking spaces, and they are also equipping it with terraces and barriers,” she says. “It’s a relatively major thoroughfare in a semi-industrial area next to a railway line, but we’re going to invite them with plants.”
And beer. Jayne expects the summer’s brew will be the Two Birds Pale Ale.
136 Hall Street, Spotswood, twobirdsbrewing.com.au
Draft beer at Two Birds Brewing. Photo: Delivered
West Footscray Block Party
Melo Malazarte is tiny Migrantenkaffee is not conducive to socially distant eating, but what about the parking lot with access to the back alley? “Our vision is to make it Section 8 of the West,” she says, referring to the city’s open-air park bar.
She envisions boxes to sit on, coffee and bagels by day and street food with Filipino and Thai influences by night. “Very simple nibbles; Pork skewers, banana leaf plates, anything that doesn’t require cutlery, ”she says.
576 Barkly Street, West Footscray, migrantcoffee.com
Matilda’s Picnic Offer. Photo: Delivered
Domain Road restaurateurs
If ever there was an easy place for al fresco dining, it’s Kings Domain across from five excellent restaurants. Entrecote, Matilda, Botanical, Gilson and Bacash plan a consolidated menu and pop-up kiosks for the lush, shady parkland across the street.
In the meantime, Entrecote smashed it with “pique-niques” and the rental of Parisian bistro tables and chairs. If you’re happy “sur l’herbe”, they also sell blankets and low folding tables.
Entrecote, 131-133 Domain Road, South Yarra, entrecote.com.au
Entrecotes bistro tables for rent. Photo: Simon Schluter
With bridezilla weddings on the agenda, this venue has turned into a restaurant at the Werribee Park Mansion. Terrace seating and historical gardens make both table dining and picnicking attractive. The menu has a modern Euro touch with chicken sandwiches, roast meat and gin and tonic popsicles, as well as the use of vegetables from the hotel’s own garden.
South Drive, Werribee Park, bursaria.com.au
Across from Sandringham Station, this Amaro-owned wine bar builds terraces on parking lots and seats about 36 people. Chef Joe Grbac (ex-Saxe) makes the food, and Squid Angel Hair Pasta Marinara feels like a summer winner. The season’s sandy drink is the Chinato solstice made from champagne, flavored barolo, orange, and rosemary.
39 Melrose Street, Sandringham, sidebarwine.com
Marion, Gertrude Street, Fitzroy. Photo: Roberto Pettinau
Andrew McConnell’s wine bar, with numerous street fronts along Gertrude Street, will place tables off the corner and Morning market, the new grocer jumping up the street. Drink? Wine to toast Melbourne’s fortitude. And to eat? Perhaps the signature mussels with ‘Nduja.
Further along the road the Builders Arms has sidewalk seating and a courtyard in the back. Pubs have been sorely missed throughout the lockdown so the Builders’ burger, fries and beer will indeed taste excellent.
53 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy, marionwine.com.au
King and godless district
The deli’s outdoor tables wrap around the wide, shady corner of Faraday Street – sit down for antipasto and porchetta rolls. On the roof, Johnny’s green room makes pizza, burgers and music. A fun collaboration with Pidapipo sees the gelateria’s lemon sorbet as the savory basis for a sgroppino cocktail, which is made with gin and fizz at the table.
293-297 Lygon Street, Carlton, kingandgodfree.com
Spring Street District
The wide pavement opposite the parliament is well suited for pandemic times, regardless of whether it is a buggy ice cream Primavera ice cream parlor (Picture), Porterhouse after work in The European or just because Pinot is with City Wine Shop.
Do you need more perspective? Go to the roof of Siglo to think about Parliament.
161 Spring Street, Melbourne, theeuropean.com.au
Balaclava’s Turkish gourmet restaurant has transformed its backyard raki bar into an atmospheric, sheltered courtyard for al fresco dining. Chef Coskun Uysal has baked Simit ring bread with a sesame crust in lockdown, which will also be on the seat menu. But the dish of summer could be its molasses-toasted onion flatbread served with homemade kayak, a Turkish cream.
217 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, tulumrestaurant.com.au
Park Street Pasta
The garland lighting adorns a marquee above parklets on the corner of Park and Perrins streets and creates a sparkling backdrop for handmade pasta. “Everyone really wants to get out and enjoy the summer,” says owner Alex Ghaddab.
268 Park Street, South Melbourne, parkstreetpasta.com.au
This article appears in Good Food in Sunday Life magazine in the Sunday Age for sale November 1st.
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