Melbourne’s most exciting new restaurant opening of the year (so far), an unmissable art exhibition where you’ll be engulfed by clouds and Monet masterpieces, a new spot that’s “like a hotel lobby in the Mediterranean”, and something spesh for Christmas-ham fans. Here’s what Broadsheet Melbourne editor Tomas Telegramma is checking out in Melbourne in July.
Sunda’s sultry sibling
Sunda is a restaurant I always suggest to out-of-towners looking to splash out. It’s an essential Melbourne dining experience. But now the maestro behind it, chef Khanh Nguyen, has opened a second spot – with all the same finesse, but a little more frivolity. And it’s one of the best meals I’ve eaten this year. At Aru, Nguyen riffs playfully on classics like banh mi, Peking duck and mi goreng. “But it never feels gimmicky – thanks to precision, technique and an obvious respect for the source material,” in the words of Broadsheet editor Chynna Santos. NB: there’s an unexpectedly extraordinary duck-sausage sanga, for which Nguyen pulled inspiration from both Vietnamese nem nuong (grilled pork sausage) and Bunnings snags – two foods I never thought I’d mention in the same sentence. Just get there.
Monet masterpieces – and more
An ethereal mirrored corridor where you feel engulfed by clouds. Soundscapes of birds chirping and projections of light filtering through imaginary tree leaves. Giant two-tone carpets. And that’s just the peripheral, scene-setting stuff. After a lockdown-delayed opening, the NGV’s 2021 piece de resistance, French Impressionism, is here. And it’s every bit the blockbuster we were bracing for. More than 100 masterworks – including 79 that have never been exhibited in Australia before – have made their way to Melbourne from the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston (which holds one of the most prized collections of impressionist art in the world). The exhibition is splayed across a number of spaces, but the show-stopping finale is a dramatically curved room dotted with 16 iconic Monets.
Suave new shopping spots
In Armadale, the first Melbourne store for Aussie leisurewear label Venroy is “like a hotel lobby in the Mediterranean” – complete with a very Positano lemon installation. Meanwhile, Takeawei’s first bricks-and-mortar ceramics shop, in Fitzroy, is full of eye-poppingly colourful mugs, tableware and “boobs” (plus there’s a petite, bookable one-bedroom hideaway upstairs). And in Brunswick, local jewellery label By Nye has opened a store that brings the outdoors in, selling stunning sculptural rings, droplet pendants and dangly stone earrings. Plus, a new grassroots project is reviving one of Melbourne’s most rundown strips with seven new creative businesses (including a postmodern furniture store, a plant shop and a streetwear retailer).
All hail the Christmas (in July) ham
I’m aware Christmas ham is just ham and ham is purchasable at any time of year. But any initiative vying to popularise eating it as ferociously outside of Christmas time is an initiative I can get behind. This July, one of the city’s (and my) favourite bakeries – All Are Welcome, which has locations in Northcote and Thornbury – is doing just that. Its Christmas in July specials will be bringing festive cheer to High Street every weekend this month. There’ll be weekly sanga specials heroing the almighty Christmas ham (and the second-fiddle-playing turkey), plus fluffy panettone, fruit mince pies and Eccles cakes.
Melbourne is one of the few lucky Aussie capital cities not to be struck by lockdown right now. But if last year taught us anything, it’s that (almost) anything can be done at home – exercise included. I don’t know about you, but dreary winter weather is one way for my outdoor-exercise (or gym-going, if you’re that way inclined) motivation to wane. So, we’ve rounded up nine virtual fitness classes that will help you work up a sweat in your living room – from learning to bust a move with the country’s top dancers to Pilates for every level and hardcore HIIT classes that’ll really get your heart pumping.