We’re getting deja vu this footy season – as with last year, there’s no cheering at the MCG, no watching the game at the pub, no mates over at your place for party pies and sausage rolls.
What you can do on Saturday September 25 is scream at the telly and barrack for your team with your family or housemates, or hit the park with pals (just one other if you’re both not yet fully vaxxed, or up to five adults plus dependents from two households if you all are) to escape the sports madness.
Some of Melbourne’s best restaurants and hospo businesses are also here to help level up your footy snacks and picnic spreads. Here are eight of our top picks.
Attica’s nacho footy loaf, $85 for two to four
Ben Shewry kicked a goal when his nacho footy loaf debuted during last year’s grand-final weekend. Now it’s made a comeback. The hollowed-out cob loaf is filled with beef and black bean chilli, sour cream, jalapenos, cheddar, guacamole, peppered pickled onions and coriander; there are also corn chips on the side for dipping. Available from Thursday September 23 to Saturday 25 for pick-up, or delivery for $15 to certain postcodes.
Romu’s grand final pack, $50 per person
Michelin-trained fine dining chef Romuald “Romu” Oudeyer is cooking a casual – but still pretty fancy – menu for the grand-final weekend. His snack pack includes chicken wings with sour cream, fermented chilli and tomato sauce; a pork belly sausage roll with rhubarb sriracha; a Wagyu beef burger with black-pepper-veal-jus mayo on a Martin’s potato bun; twice-cooked potato with native furikake and sour cream; and for dessert, a chocolate hazelnut creation called Kat Kat. Pick-up in Braybrook or order for delivery within 15 kilometres of the CBD.
Update (9.44am, September 20): Romu's grand final pack has sold out.
Half Acre's grand final day 1kg Tomahawk Steak with all the trimmings, $135 for two to three people
The rustic South Melbourne diner is offering a banquet centred around a hulking one-kilo tomahawk steak. Expect it cooked medium-rare with a bunch of housemade condiments, including chimichurri, a killer caramelised-onion jus and assorted pickles. The feast includes: soft za’atar bread with smoked butter; fried sebago potatoes with housemade barbeque sauce; grilled brussell sprouts with a sesame-lemon yoghurt; a light leafy salad; plus, for dessert, a gooey chocolate "nemesis". Bonus: all dishes come ready to eat, so you can leave the oven off. Order online for pick-up at Half Acre.
Cookes Food’s grand final feast, $130 for two
The expert caterer has partnered with Pidapipo to make sure your footy dinner also comes with delicious dessert. Bar snacks include wild olives, housemade pickles, Q Le Baker bread and beet-cured ocean trout, while the main event features flathead schnitzels, slow-roasted lamb with wood-fired flatbread, little gems with Russian ranch, roasted spuds, and asparagus with breadcrumbs and parmesan. Pidapipo’s contribution is a bombolone doughnut with vanilla and raspberry jam gelato. Orders close on Thursday September 23 for pick-up in St Kilda or delivery within 10 kilometres.
Stokehouse’s grand final barbeque box, $300 for four
Trust Stokehouse and executive chef Jason Staudt to turn the footy final into a luxe affair. This surf and turf barbeque box includes skewers of Fremantle octopus, butterflied king prawns, local calamari, pork neck, Wagyu beef and a mix of swordfish and kingfish bellies. As always, you can add half a dozen oysters and a bottle of champagne to up the ante. Available for pick-up at Stokehouse or delivery within 10 kilometres on Saturday September 25.
Mabu Mabu Big Esso’s snack box, $55 for four
Nornie Bero opened this sibling eatery to her Yarraville cafe, Mabu Mabu, right before lockdown, but it’s already knocked it out of the park with its takeaway game. Its new snack box is perfect for watching the game at home or enjoying a park picnic. There’s taro chips with native dips, lemon aspen- and gin-infused olives, karkalla pickles, bush tomato goat’s cheese, wallaby salami and emu kabana. The pescetarian option replaces the meats with namas (coconut-cured fish), and there’s a fully vegan menu available, too. Cocktails made with native ingredients can also be ordered. Available for pick-up only from Fed Square, Thursday to Saturday.
Chin Chin’s specialty pies, $29–$39 each (feeds four)
Chin Chin is combining its flavourful Southeast Asian fare with footy classics: the meat pie and sausage roll. For a whole month, it’s selling family-sized pies filled with rendang, yellow vegetable curry and butter chicken, plus four-packs of Thai pork sausage rolls. Each order also comes with a free four-pack of Coopers. Available for pick-up in the CBD or Richmond, or delivery within five kilometres of either location.
Friday Pie Day’s build your own menu
For the last few weeks, Friday Pie Day has brought together some of Melbourne’s best bakeries and pie makers and delivered their creations to your door in time for the footy. It’s going big for the grand final, with 18 creations to choose from courtesy of Falco, Pie Thief, Smith & Deli, Cobb Lane, Munch Bakery, Wonder Pies, Udom House, Johnny Ripe, Magnum Pi, and Wildflour Bakery. Plus, doughnuts from St Gerry’s, a cheese platter from Maker & Monger and local booze, including a beer by Brae. Available for delivery across Melbourne or pick-up from nine locations.
Prince Dining Room’s grand final pack, $130 for two or $260 for four
The restaurant inside St Kilda’s Prince of Wales Hotel is making grazing easy with a snacky spread of mini prawn cocktail rolls; sausage rolls with house ketchup; spiced meatballs with tomato sugo, olives and basil; blistered bread and dips; and a platter of charcuterie. Add beers and wines from adjoining bottle-o, Little Prince, as you please. Available for delivery from Thursday September 23 to Saturday 25.