Melbourne spots to watch in 2017


Visiting my hometown in December after a two-year hiatus, it was clear a lot had changed. No longer is the city skyline a beautiful summer blue with a hint of the Rialto tower, instead a Chinese-inspired metropolis dripping in gold, glare and obstruction. Such influence is far from restricted to the architecture, bleeding into the many restaurants, cafes, bars and social dwellings around the city, where the flux of change is unforgiving.

From fine dining to street food, pub favourites, high end cocktails and the coffee scene, Melbourne is by far one of the leading innovators in food developments. With such diverse multiculturalism, the cities food scene is a melting pot of choice, flavour and opulence.


Phô nom

Phô nom rice paper rolls

Phô nom Lemongrass chicken and crispy prawn rice paper rolls

Organic, fresh, kitsch and delish. Located on the basement floor food alley at Emporium in the CBD, the relatively small storefront donned with a traditional street cart, cheesy tack and phenomenal Rauschenberg-esq, Viet-style, feminist comic art on the walls may be jovial in style but is dead serious about hawker food. From fresh phô bowls to a huge variety of summer rolls including crispy prawn, tofu and mushroom, grilled chicken lemongrass, and of course bahn mi, loads of salad dishes, buns and rice bowls it is a phônominal place for lunch.


Entrecôte staples with unlimited pommes fritês, eye filet steak and famous sauce

Entrecôte staples with unlimited pommes fritês, eye filet steak and famous sauce

Taking a complete 180 from the lively, bright and bold Phô nom, Entrecôte illuminates French elegant, chic and fine dining to a new level. Much like the mother-branch in Paris, there are developing locations all around the city. With a menu as simple as French fashion, little more than the famous namesake dish needs to be served. Slices of juicy medium-rare eye filet steak, served with unlimited thin, salty pommes-frites and a crisp, creamy green salad with the famous entrecôte jus. The wine list is divine as too is the freshly ground burger with sides.


Mountain goat

Despite selling out to the big guys a couple of years ago, this once niche microbrewery is doing a mighty fine job of keeping things that way. Opening the Richmond brewery to the public on Wednesday and Friday evenings, serving top notch pizzas and the freshest of tap beer, the Goat is more than a Men’s garage to hang out despite the vibe. On the stocktake floor, group size tree trunks form festive tabletops with an enormous amount of standing room. Beautiful with a breeze on a warm summers evening Friday nights are pumping with afterwork crowds at this local watering hole.


Maker coffee

Espresso & filter at Maker Coffee

Espresso & filter at Maker Coffee

Like many roasteries in Melbourne before it, Maker Coffee has found itself a third-wave coffee stronghold in the industrial Richmond backstreets. Sharing North Street with Mountain Goat, Maker is fresh blood in the Melbourne Coffee scene. The impressive space with polished concrete floors, crisp white walls and pine wood furnishings showcases the roastery out back. Offering a small sample of delicious sweet snacks as a side to a sizeable coffee menu, the young team have the highest quality of practices. The coffee is full-bodied  and dark but still maintaining the delicate notes maximising the third-wave requirements.