For a little while now, Melbourne has been Australia’s most populous city. And while we love our city, there’s no denying that as the crowds swell and the inner city becomes denser and more expensive, there’s less reason for many of us to trek it into places like Collingwood or the CBD – particularly when there’s so much to do, eat and drink in our leafy outer suburbs.

Such is the case in the City of Knox, a bustling area in the outer east that includes suburbs like Wantirna, Bayswater and Boronia. It’s a melting pot of old-school Melbourne and new arrivals, and a recent upgrade to its Westfield hub has made it easier than ever to see what all the fuss is about. So, regardless of where you live, both locals and those further out should take note – here’s how to spend a day around Wantirna South.

Oushou Japanese Restaurant

Oushou has been sharing its intricate-yet-approachable take on Japanese cuisine through its outposts in South Yarra and Brighton for a while now, so we knew what to expect when it arrived at Westfield Knox. The signature of Oushou is the way the restaurant blends classic Japanese flavours and techniques – fresh sashimi, tempura, high-grade Wagyu beef – with original touches. Expect to find classics like fresh seafood from the sushi bar and crispy pork tonkatsu alongside more modern takes like truffle Wagyu beef fried rice and a Japanese take on tacos.

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Chi-La Hunan Cuisine

If you’re new to Hunan food, here’s a heads-up: the regional Chinese cuisine is famed for its spice. Not every dish at Chi-La Hunan Cuisine will set your tongue on fire, but it will certainly give you a crash-course in the region’s flavours and techniques. You’ll find regional classics like braised pork belly, Changsha stinky tofu (one of Hunan’s signature dishes, a pungent, crisp-skinned black tofu) and a host of potent stir-fries using the bright red yongfeng chilli sauce that is a local specialty.

Augustus Gelatery

While Melbourne’s inner suburbs are jammed with gelato, Augustus Gelatery is the outer suburb’s sweet tooth saviour. Founders Joe Milinaro and Paul Vernuccio wanted to bring the goods out to those who’d been missing out. Augustus has blown up at the Pascoe Vale original, and is now sharing Italian gelato staples like pistachio and bacio – as well as more eccentric flavours like cotton candy and bubblegum – with Knox locals. Augustus does a range of plant-based gelato, too (don’t skip out on the sticky date pudding), so no-one has to miss out.

Urban Alley Brewery

Since it opened its Docklands doors in 2018, Urban Alley has led the charge among casual, modern breweries. Sure, the beers are the draw (and they’re brewing everything from easygoing lagers to fruited sours and a tequila-infused ale) but Urban Alley Brewery is more like your local pub or beer hall. The Westfield Knox outpost retains everything that has made the Docklands spot so popular – beer and gin tasting flights, a massive pub-style menu, live music – making this a brewery for more than just the beer geeks (although there’s plenty for them, too).

Timezone

For those of us of a certain age, there’s a pang of nostalgia waiting amongst the arcade games and prize tokens at Timezone. For everyone else, well, it’s hard not to get caught up in the flashing neons, dopamine-triggering sounds and endless prizes of the long-running arcade. Timezone has an outlet in Westfield Knox, meaning you can spend an afternoon working on that Daytona high score (you’ll get it one day) or get a gang together and head for laser tag – but no running, okay?

This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Westfield Knox.