As with most holidays and special occasions, grand-final weekend is shaping up to be very different this year. Lockdown restrictions have eased, but you still can’t watch the game at the pub with your mates – or have them over. And, weirdly, there won’t be any cheering at the ‘G.
What you can do is shout at the TV and barrack for your team with your housemates, or hit the park for a picnic with up to nine pals (provided the group only comes from two households). (Find out where your 25-kilometre radiuses meet using these free tools.)
And luckily, some of Melbourne’s best restaurants, cafes and other hospo businesses are here to help you level up your footy feasting. Here are 15 of our top picks to enjoy at home or at the park.
Sunda’s grand final feast ($149 for two) and party experience ($140 for two)
Chef-owner Khanh Nguyen has put together two menus for the weekend: a hearty feast and a snacky spread of elevated party food. The first – perfect for lunch before all the action goes down – includes nasi lemak (Malaysian coconut rice) with burrata; Wagyu beef cheeks; smashed cucumbers with jungle curry; noodles with XO sauce and chicken crackling; and condensed-milk mousse. The party pack includes cheeseburger roti, Laotian pork-sausage buns, Vietnamese black-pudding sausage rolls, duck-rendang party pies and sticky wings with tamarind and chilli jam. Order by Thursday for CBD pick-up or delivery from Friday to Sunday.
Attica’s Nacho Footy Loaf ($85) and The Premiership ($150 for two)
If Melbourne’s takeaway-only period was a footy season, then Attica’s a serious contender for the Brownlow. Ben Shewry and his team have been smashing the to-go game since March, and this weekend is no different. The Grand Final Day menu includes a cob loaf-nacho hybrid – a hollowed-out sub roll filled with chilli, sour cream, jalapenos, cheese and guac. Or for something bougier, The Premiership pack includes a cheesy potato-and-leek-bake, Crystal Bay prawns in lettuce wraps, glazed beef short ribs, a chocolate-wattleseed tart and more. Available on Friday and Saturday for pick-up in Ripponlea or delivery to select suburbs.
Chin Chin’s grand final weekend special, $150 for two
Skip the queues at the ‘G and at this perennially packed Thai eatery with this grand-final special. It comes with pork-and-chive dumplings; beef martabak (savoury meat pancake) spring rolls; roasted chicken wings; butter-chicken pies; chargrilled brisket sliders; and crab fried rice. Plus, two tins of Hawkers beer. Order by 12pm Wednesday for delivery on Friday.
Nobu’s Footy Favourites, $200 for two
The Melbourne outpost of upmarket global restaurant chain Nobu is bringing Asian flavours – and sushi – to your grand-final barbie. There’s pastrami-salted edamame, house-special maki rolls, the signature miso-marinated black cod, Wagyu tacos, chicken wings, pork belly, and Skull Island prawns with yuzu koshu and seaweed butter. You just need to throw a few things on the barbeque. Order by 12pm Wednesday for CBD pick-up or delivery on Saturday.
Builders Arms Hotel’s Mighty Mixed Grill, $45 per person
It’s not a pint and a pub meal at your local, but it’s the next best thing. Andrew McConnell’s Builders Arms has put together a barbeque spread for all three days of the long weekend. It’s complete with Meatsmith pork, fennel and espelette sausages; a double-loin chop of Suffolk spring lamb; marinated Wagyu steak; Skull Island prawns; scallop skewers; and housemade mustard. There’s also a trio of dips, some sides and an option to add on growlers of Young Henrys lager or pale ale. Available from Friday to Sunday for pick-up in Fitzroy from 12pm to 7pm.
Gingerboy x The Emerson’s Commiserate or Celebrate Dinner Pack, $190 for four
Teague Ezard’s Gingerboy has joined forces with rooftop bar and club The Emerson to bring you three Asian street-food snacks and three cocktails – a pairing for every break between quarters. Start with duck-leg bao and smoky, gingery vodka lemonades; move onto hotdogs (with pickled wombok and tamarind relish) and gin cocktails with cherry and pineapple; and finish with char siu (barbequed pork) buns with a spicy whisky number. Order by Thursday for pick-up in South Yarra on Friday and Saturday.
Stokehouse’s seafood boxes, from $325 for four to six
Bayside institution Stokehouse has teamed up with high-end restaurant supplier Clamms Seafood on three fancy seafood boxes for the long weekend. There’s a barbeque box with Wagyu beef and seafood (calamari, king prawns and octopus) on sticks; a pack with oysters, crayfish, prawn cocktails and tuna crudo; and a next-level option with spanner crab and a bottle of Bollinger champagne. Available on Friday and Saturday for pick-up in St Kilda or delivery to metro Melbourne, Geelong, the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas, and the Yarra Valley.
Future Mountain x San Telmo’s grand final pack, $158
The classic Aussie barbie gets the Argentinian treatment with this collab from brewery Future Mountain and CBD diner San Telmo. The pack comes with a litre each of two Future Mountain beers (a white ale and a golden sour); beef and corn empanadas; chorizo; morcilla (black pudding); a 500-gram rib eye; roasted potatoes; and remolacha (beetroot with pumpkin and goat’s curd). Available from Thursday to Saturday for pick-up at Future Mountain, San Telmo or Asado, or delivery to select suburbs.
Dexter’s Footy’N Hot Pies, $13 per pie or $44 for four
“Non-traditional meatery” Dexter is putting its spin on the classic Four’N Twenty with these handmade pies. There’s a 16-hour smoked-brisket number with truffle and bone-marrow gravy; a caramel short-rib pie with Pedro Ximénez gravy; a lemony rockling version with Atlantic salmon and Tassie prawns; and a pie filled with smoked chicken, burnt-butter leeks and white-pepper gravy. Get one of each, or mix and match however you like. Available on Friday and Saturday for pick-up in Preston or delivery.
Fair Feed’s grand final barbeque, $60 for two or $90 for four
Fair Feed started as a way for Smoke and Pickles co-owner Tom Jacobson to keep his staff employed and create new jobs during lockdown, and now the team has put together a feast of barbeque favourites for the grand final. The all-Victorian pack includes sausages; a sandwich loaf; barbeque relish and housemade hot sauce; and heirloom beetroot and potato salads. Plus, half-time oranges, and beers from Moon Dog. You can also add pork ribs or slow-cooked lamb shoulder for a heartier meal. Available from Wednesday to Saturday for pick-up from Elsternwick or delivery to select suburbs.
Hop Nation x Pie Thief’s Game Day Sixpack ($45)
Carn the (meat) pies! Footscray brewery Hop Nation and neighbouring bakery Pie Thief are doing packs of pots and pies this weekend. The sixpack comes with six cans of Hop Nation’s signature brews or six cans of its hard seltzer, ‘Ray (your choice). And on the pastry side, get six mini-pies in three flavours: chunky steak, spag bol, and the Big Thief (inspired by the Big Mac). (Vegetarian and vegan options are available too.) Available for delivery to select suburbs on Wednesday and Thursday.
Doot Doot Doot’s tasting menu, $65 per person
While it’s hard to channel the opulence of this Mornington Peninsula fine diner at home, you can at least get a taste ahead of its reopening. The one-off four-course tasting menu includes asparagus with charred broad beans; smoked eel; roast lamb loin (and glazed rib); a number of sides; and Earl Grey custard with rhubarb. Paired wines, Flaggerdoot cocktails and cheeses can be added. Available on Friday and Saturday for pick-up at Black Star Pastry or Jackalope Hotel, or delivery across metro Melbourne and the Mornington Peninsula.
Palermo’s Footy Finals Snack Box, $85 for two
Palermo’s South American snack box is perfect to eat with your hands, so you can keep your eyes glued to the screen. It’s filled with street-food classics including two kinds of empanadas (beef, roast garlic and prune, and corn and mozzarella); lamb burgers; mini choripans (chorizo rolls); alfajores biscuits; and four Patagonian pilsners. Available Wednesday to Sunday for CBD pick-up or delivery to metro Melbourne, the Mornington and Bellarine peninsulas, Geelong, Bendigo, Ballarat and Shepparton.
Cookes Food’s footy boxes, $110 for two or $166 with sliders and beers
Catering and events company Cookes Food has put together two footy packs for the big day. Both come with mini sausage rolls; garlic-herb prawns with tarragon aioli; blue-cheese-and-onion tarts; and free-range chicken skewers. But the $166 pack also has smoked-brisket sliders and a sixpack of Peroni Red tinnies. Order by 12pm Thursday for pick-up or delivery on Saturday within 25 kilometres of St Kilda, the Mornington Peninsula and Geelong.
Chibog’s Filipino pack, $80 for four
Bring Filipino flair to your grand-final festivities with this feast from modern Filipino eatery Chibog. There’s pancit malabon (rice noodles with prawn and egg); crisp pan-fried pork belly; sticky chicken wings; pork-and-prawn spring rolls; and a mango float (layers of mango, sweetened cream and graham crackers). And you can add on Pinoy beers or jarred housemade cocktails. DM your order on Instagram or Facebook for pick-up on Friday.