• First Look: Moonhouse rises in Balaclava, bringing Chinese-inspired feasting to an art deco former bank. From the Hanoi Hannah and Tokyo Tina team, this alluring new bistro does old favourites in new ways – like reimagined prawn toast and a Hainanese chicken club sandwich that took 30 attempts to perfect.

• First Look: Straying from the pack, Zaubertrank is an eccentric new wine bar by the Carwyn Cellars team. “On paper, it looks a bit wack,” one co-owner admits. But in reality, the unlikely pairing works. Visit for aromatic German and Austrian whites poured alongside punchy, lesser-seen Malaysian-inspired bar snacks.

• Now open: Sunnyside Sliced, a killer new pizza joint bringing a slice of Manhattan to Mentone. The “destination” diner is worth the drive if you don’t live in the south-east. Visit for 18-inch pies (whole or by the slice) slathered in a cult hot honey, super cheesy “upside-down” grandma pies and three-day garlic focaccia.

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• First Look: A Lune alumnus gives her Instagram bakery, Holy Sugar, a bricks-and-mortar home in Northcote. Pastry chef Audrey Allard’s decadent dessert boxes were a lockdown saviour. Now, find her popular butterscotch crullers and nutty dulce de leche tarts – plus hulking focaccia sangas – at a homey new shopfront.

Longsong, but not as you knew it: Scott Pickett has reopened – and reimagined – Longrain’s upstairs bar. Drawing inspiration from downstairs, it’s now more Thai-heavy than it was when star chef David Moyle was at the helm. Find a $10 drink-and-snack happy hour, crispy popcorn chicken, and DJ sets till late.

• Behind a faded pink facade, Cafe Piccolina continues the legacy of a corner store that opened in 1884. On a leafy residential street, this homey neighbourhood cafe might be “new”, but the beautiful old building it inhabits has been a hub for the Parkville community for more than a century.

• Footscray’s new bar and live music venue Mamma Chen’s might be small, but it makes room for everyone. It’s an inclusive, accessible space that the owners – a go-getting family duo – hope will help enliven the music scene out west. Grab an $18 jug, see a gig, then plonk yourself down in the colourful beer garden.

Bam is a milk bar for the modern day in Essendon, with lofty club sandwiches and fancy pantry staples. The new family-owned corner store – a blue beacon on a residential strip – is like the pantry you wish you had. Come for bread and milk and leave with a whole lot more than you bargained for.

• First Look: A cocktail bar with no ice or cocktail shakers? The innovation is above par at this new Fitzroy spot. At a glance, Par appears like a rudimentary cocktail bar. But look a little closer – everything comes in the same kind of wineglass. With some serious technique, the team wants to broaden our ideas of what a cocktail can be.

• Now open: twice-fried tonkatsu is king at Ichi Katsu, Glen Waverley’s lively new Japanese diner. The breaded and deep-fried pork cutlet comes in many different forms – in fluffy katsu sandos, in warming katsu curries, or with rice, cabbage and thick, dark homemade tonkatsu sauce.

• The striking indoor waterfall at new Melbourne bar Yarra Falls isn’t a gimmick. It’s a journey back in time. Evoking a lost piece of Melbourne’s pre-colonial landscape, find it in the ornate, heritage-listed Tavistock House – alongside charry potato bread and cocktails made purple with pigface petals.

• Now open in the CBD: Hikari, a new pint-sized Japanese coffee and homewares shop. At the minimalist, timber-clad bolthole, sip a mesmerising matcha latte and snack on a Mork cake while you shop a carefully curated range of bespoke ceramics and glassware from Japan.

• Now open: Green Cup brings velvety acai bowls and vibrant smoothies to its first north-side cafe. On a sunny corner in Carlton, it’s the health-focused cafe’s fourth Melbourne outpost.