25 hot and new Melbourne restaurants to support during lockdown and beyond

By on August 30, 2021 0


Dozens of Melbourne restaurants have opened amid the pandemic, only to close their doors and move on to take-out menus. Here are a few that you can support in a very tough first year in business.


The super nice Lene on Bridge Road has skillfully transformed its wine bar cuisine into four-part menus for the house, featuring dishes like jerk chicken, hash potatoes with pickled mussels, and caramel rum creme.

Fellow Bridge Road newcomer Oster sells the best produce from its pantry, including 1940s lamb rump and Cape Grim beef, a smart way to help growers and your culinary fatigue.

Saint Urban of Richmond is reborn as Waygood. Photo: Krisoffer Paulsen

Raid in the cellar of the Parisian-inspired wine cellar Well and add a special bottle to a takeout pack that includes three dishes and a great cheese.

Kew residents get to meet a new neighbor Araliya, a Sri Lankan favorite who moved from St Kilda. Start with breaded lamb chops or tiny pies filled with seafood, followed by one of the deeply spiced curries with sides.

In East Melbourne, Hemingway prepares generous boxes of hearty French dishes such as bourguignon and cassoulet.

The Serve- Bounty of the Sun, Balaclava March 4, 2021 The Age News Picture by JOE ARMAO

Bounty of the Sun in Balaclava. Photo: Joe Armao


At South Yarra Lona Misa, Shannon Martinez canisters bold Iberian flavors in vegetable form, whether it’s wood-roasted peri-peri cauliflower or Spanish tortilla.

Close Kaoyum ticks the box for lovers of Thailand, with Issan specialties, delicate shrimp omelets and daily salads.

New Balaclava wine bar Gigi’s makes a condensed menu of pasta (including vegan lasagna), snacks like croquetas and winning desserts.

Pasta perfection and the snacks you miss in restaurants are yours Abbiocco at Highett, while the Japanese-style funhouse Sun premium keeps laughing with its McDonalds-themed takeout menu of fish fillet burgers, Japanese chicken popcorn and milkshakes.

And consider Mr. Brownie in South Melbourne for a cheeky lockdown treat: pub meals go to India and return in the form of vindaloo pies and tandoori pizza.


Clifton Hill location Spensley keeps things fresh with new menus every weekend, alternating between low and slow barbecues, gnocchi with ‘nduja and more.

Vegetarians will love it Riso Diner’s Italian delicacies, such as stracciatella with cime di rapa and black Jerusalem artichoke. Tucked away in a small space on Rose Street in Fitzroy, they were unable to trade in the first week of lockdown six due to nearby construction affecting their kitchen.

It’s wall-to-wall pasta Al dente, all this is worthy of envy. Fortunately, many of these are frozen, perfect for a freezer restocking.

Gray and gray, the Northcote brother restaurant of All Are Welcome bakery, launches its jokes and hearty Eastern European dishes (pictured, right) in Don’t Take it to the Park packs every weekend, while that Reservoir’s La Pinta focuses on Mediterranean and Iberian flavors with an even flair.

that of Zsa in Northcote is packed with options, whether you want hot or ready-to-reheat, have kids, don’t eat meat, or want a naughty midnight snack on hand.

Where is

Try all Footscray Filipino restaurants by Chibog signatures all in one go, if your household is large enough, thanks to its tight take-out menu that includes triple-cooked crispy pork sisig, sticky fried chicken wings and kansi, tamarind broth with braised osso buco and jackfruit .

If your heart desires bourguignon or coq au vin, framed by charcuterie and chocolate roulade, remember the name Small French bar.

Good grills are offered from Zymurgy, the West Footscray beer bar opened by chef Hop Nation and Navi Julian Hills. Think char siu pork scotch, thick Barnsley chops, fermented products and great drinks.

Thyme bar transformed into a convenience store, with take-out, fresh pasta, treats and more, while Ascot food and wine, Ascot Food Store’s cool dinner update, channels some of its new magic through take-out paccheri with vodka sauce, lobster rolls and more.


Our friends in town did it harder than most. If CBD is within your three miles, look there for your next cooking break, starting with Grand Esso by Mabu Mabu, Federation Square’s new Torres Strait-owned restaurant, which opened for a week in late July before the last lockdown.

On weekends, Nornie Bero (photo, right) and the crew cook up take-out food, like pots of pee, salt and pepper crocodile, and grilled kebabs. Those further afield can order hot boxes that cover the needs of omnivores, pescatarians and vegans and deliver them to the suburbs 15 km outside of the city.

More grill action can be found in San Telmo’s new Japanese sibling by Robata boxes, which bring the fun of yakitori and kushiyaki into your home. Just add gas.

Italian gods of good times The hardware club spice up Providor with three menus for every mood (including sweatpants on the couch).

Of course, you can also support dozens of old favorites to make sure they’re still there on the other side.


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