Lobster and champagne are most often associated with fine dining, but Pinchy’s combines the two – and a few other oceanic snacks – in a laid-back, neon-pink setting. Owner Jeremy Schinck and his wife Samara opened Pinchy’s in Bourke Street’s Midcity Centre arcade following pop-ups at HWKR, the Melbourne Cup Carnival, Night Noodle Markets and a six-month activation at Emporium.
The level-one eatery has a 100-square-metre open-air balcony with street views. Inside, the signature Pinchy’s neon claw sign is backed by a rose-gold mirror, casting the restaurant in a pink glow. There are velvet booths and tables to seat up to 75, with no trace of the room’s past life as an Asian restaurant.
The menu is made up exclusively of small plates, and is around 80 per cent seafood and 20 per cent vegan. Expect to use your hands or the only cutlery on offer – a small fork – as you work your way through lots of bite-sized snacks.
The prawn-head roll comes with sea-urchin aioli, and a bisque-y sauce piped into the fried the head of the prawn. The lobster for the main event – the lobster roll – comes from the Cozy Harbour Seafood in Maine in the US. Pinchy’s uses both the core and the knuckle of the lobster. It’s finished with mayonnaise, lemon, a drizzle of butter, and chopped chives.
There are also crab tacos with avocado mousse; natural oysters; sardines with tomato compote; and octopus with potato salad and capers.
There are two bars to choose from. One serves cocktails, craft brews and non-alcoholic drops, the other French champagne, local sparklings and an Italian prosecco.