Arbory Afloat's Mediterranean-themed sixth season, Turquoise Coast, will end on Monday, June 13. But don't worry – it'll be back with a fresh new look in time for summer.
You know summer is near when Arbory Afloat starts kicking again. Every year the whopping Yarra River bar is completely rebuilt and reopens with a fresh look inspired by a balmy international spot.
In the past we’ve seen the 69-metre-long pontoon kitted out to evoke Palm Springs, the French Riviera and Italy’s Cinque Terre region. Last year’s Aussie theme was fitting, given the fact that domestic travel was the only kind of possible holiday on the cards for the forseeable future.
For it’s sixth season, the team have returned to form by taking Melburnians to the Turquoise Coast of Turkey. The fit-out is dominated by aqua, honey and pistachio hues, with 80-year-old olive trees (brought in from Swan Hill) a more literal nod to the Turkish Riviera. Meanwhile, tasselled umbrellas and thatched roofing add to the Mediterranean-beach-club vibe.
One notable mainstay is Afloat’s rooftop pool. But even if you’re not getting wet and wild, it’s the perfect backdrop for a boogie; there’ll be daily live DJ sets from now until it shuts up shop in autumn.
Spearheading the food offering are Turkish-born chefs (and siblings) Nada Thomas and Salim Gafayri. Highlights include tombik – a style of doner kebab where shredded lamb is stuffed inside a fluffy, house-made flatbread along with chips and salad – and balik ekmek, a popular street food that swaps lamb for grilled fish and pepperoncini.
Plenty of vegetarian and vegan options round out the menu, along with Mediterranean-inspired pizzas with toppings such as tomato, burrata, Tulum cheese (traditional Turkish goat’s cheese) and pomegranate molasses.
Across two bars, there are eight cocktails on tap including a Turkish Delight Sour flavoured with rose liqueur, rosé vermouth, sour cherry and Davidson’s plum, plus “strong” Turkish teapot cocktails. There’s also another edition of Arbory Afloat’s exclusive pink gin, created in collaboration with Four Pillars.