The pièce de résistance of Melbourne: The city’s best eats and drinks
There’s no shortage of great restaurants across the cultural capital of Australia, but BAZAAR breaks down those unmissable luxury experiences.
By Hayley Peppin
MELBOURNE’S DINING SCENE is undeniably next-to-none. The late great US chef, writer and broadcaster Anthony Bourdain often quoted the Australian city as a favourite foodie destination of his and Nigella Lawson is a frequent visitor. Melbourne also often features in the world’s best lists for its thriving food and beverage culture — notably, it’s coffee. But with so many delicious options in the cultural capital, it can be a challenge to choose that special occasion venue or Saturday night go-all-out experience.
We round up the best luxury bars and restaurants in the city that always eats, to help you book the best Melbourne evening yet.
Saint HotelSt Kilda
London, Paris, New York? You’ll likely blink twice (maybe, three times for good measure) when you enter the experience that is Saint Hotel. The much-loved Saint building on the iconic bayside Fitzroy street epitomises sophistication with a swish new fit-out and fine-dining menu. Following two-and-a-half years of renovations and plenty of changing personalities (most recently, it was a night club), Saint Hotel has re-opened as a dining mecca. There’s five distinct venues for every mood, appetite (and aesthetic) with Saint Dining, Saint Bar, The Vault, Bar 54 and Stellas, as well as private and semi-private dining rooms. While its cuisine is modern Australian, Saint Hotel’s vibe recalls that of award-winning, celeb favourite restaurant Hakkasan. It’s alluringly dark and moody, yet buzzy and energetic. Electrifying background music plays and convivial chatter is most welcomed.
Saint Dining, the venue’s pièce de résistance, invites guests on a tantalising food journey within the iconic Saint Hotel atrium while enjoying an open-kitchen experience. You’ll be seated on black buttery leather banquette seats while indulging in a most hedonistic menu developed by executive chef Gary Lai. Its protein-focused and produce-driven, with most ingredients heroed on a Josper charcoal grill. Delectable entrées include the Hiramasa Kingfish Crudo and Grilled Jumbo Mooloolaba Prawn. I also thoroughly enjoyed the recommended Slow-Roasted Leek. As for mains, the Apollo Bay Crayfish Mafaldine is heavenly, and the 250g Eye Fillet but a succulent delight.
As for the other spaces, the ground floor Saint Bar offers an extensive drinks selection with creatively-concocted cocktails as well as a bites list in a smart casual setting. Also on the ground floor, the street-facing The Vault will act as a bottle shop and intimate tasting venue. Upstairs is a little retro chic fun with Bar 54, a cheeky tribute to Saint Hotel’s address at 54 Fitzroy Street and that infamous New York bar which needs no introduction. Adjacent is Stellas, Saint Hotel’s inventive cocktail bar and listening lounge which promises to provide a sensory experience like no other with huge loudspeakers by Pitt & Giblin. There’s also a rotating lineup of local and visiting DJs playing on Friday and Saturday nights. Stellas is set to open Friday, May 5. Spearheaded by General Manager Mrinal Beekarry, Saint Hotel is the all-encompassing destination to start the night which is likely to end at its 3am closing.
For booking and information, click here.
Beverly RooftopSouth Yarra
Melbourne has no shortage of rooftop bars but Beverly is certainly the sexiest. Yes, it’s worthily flooded your socials feed. The new South Yarra venue is the fashion lover’s best excuse to don their most lavish sequinned ‘fit or wear a stylishly comfy white shirt, jeans and oversized sunnies. There’s no dress code, just good glam vibes. Set within Chapel Street’s latest luxury development, Goldfields House, Beverly Rooftop aims high to be the dining destination of Melbourne — and at the 24th level it certainly achieves that.
Inspired by the Instagram-friendly rooftop bars across glitzy Los Angeles, founder Cameron Northway (also of LOTI and Rocker Bondi) along with partners Marco Gattino and Lachlan Thompson have replicated the Southern Cali aesthetic — but with a Melbourne mindset. The 200-seat space, also dreamt up by creative director and model Emily Gurr in collaboration with Mitchell & Eades, is fitted with blush-pink chairs and green-and-white-striped lounges, echoing the chic furnishings of the Beverly Hills Hotel, while utilising a retractable glass rooftop. You can therefore enjoy fine dining and wining — although, we urge you to consider the cocktail menu — during Melbourne’s rain, hail or shine. Sunset Bellini’s are a Beverly signature with a clear purpose, Caffe Rosso is a caffeinated take on the classic Negroni and Mayahuel blends the celeb-fave Casamigos tequila and mezcal with the sweet kick of pineapple and lime (my personal favourite).
The menu fuses La La Land favourites such as classic crumbed mac ’n’ cheese with truffle gouda, fries and sumptuous seafood options; while using the best Australian produce. Spearheaded by chef David Ball (previously of England’s Le Manoir aux Quat’ Saisons and the Yarra Valley’s Dominique Portet), Beverly’s standouts include its small plates dish of prawn ceviche with jalapeño cream, as well as its larger main of marron and spanner crab pasta. For the vegan foodies, a plant-based chicken pappardelle with smoked paprika and chilli also proves popular … and tasty. Beverly may be the most talked-about Melbourne venue among the influencer scene currently, but I have a strong feeling it won’t be a fad.
For booking and information, click here.
Department store dining has elevated ten-fold with Chadstone’s latest indulgent foodie offering, Cityfields. Situated within one of the country’s leading shopping destinations, Cityfields is an all-day diner which could very well suit the opulent settings of Harrods or Saks Fifth Avenue. The European-style brasserie has been developed by the respected team behind South Melbourne’s restaurant and events space, Half Acre. Across a colossal two-floors, Cityfields caters to 600 hungry (and discerning) shoppers from midday to the late evening. But even if you’re not in the mood to shop, it’s a venue certainly worth checking out.
There’s a light and airy central public bar, sky-high ceilings and indoor and outdoor seating options — including a rooftop garden with panoramic views of the city skyline — to accommodate for Melbourne’s rain, hail and shine lifestyle. Designed by Pasquale Cook and Studio Manifold, the space welcomes diners with a grand entrance featuring large timber double doors and awnings, reminiscent of a Parisian brasserie. A European theme continues throughout with warm interiors, splashes of green and a vintage Murano chandelier suspended above a staircase.
The menu equally evokes authenticity and charm, while showcasing the best of seasonal produce. There’s an array of snacks and share plates to start such as olive gildas with guindilla pepper and anchovy or housemade potato cakes with goats milk yoghurt and sweet pickle relish; as well hand-made pastas and freshly-made salads. Larger meals include brasserie classics, with a variety of steaks served with French sauces, as well as the most indulgent cheeseburger. Desserts are also a Cityfields experience with a roving cart dedicated to the unmissable course. There’s daily housemate cakes, slices and tarts to choose from. Of course, everything is washed down with a thoughtfully-curated drinks and cocktail menu, guaranteed to be “the perfect Insta moment.”
For more information and booking, click here.