The rooftop of a shopping centre in suburban Melbourne is not the most obvious site for an edible garden and cafe, but that’s what makes Burwood Brickworks’ 2500-square-metre urban farm and eatery all the more special.

The project is an extension of the shopping centre’s sustainability ethos and a chance for guests to immerse themselves in an urban green space in an unlikely setting.

“In the suburbs, it’s always hustle-bustle and this is one of those places where you can really go to escape that,” centre manager Robert Breda tells Broadsheet.

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The rooftop is split into three sections – new all-day eatery Rombe led by head chef Jerry Yi (ex-Shihuishi at Hotel Sorrento), The Glass House (previously an actual greenhouse that will now operate as an events space) and a lush garden.

The garden is managed by Cultivating Community, an organisation focused on community gardening that provides employment and social connection for culturally and linguistically diverse communities and those who are d/Deaf or hard of hearing.

The garden primarily coexists alongside Rombe without much crossover, though some items do make their way onto the menu, including herbs for use in cocktails and seasonal vegetables for the salads.

Though not all food is sourced on-site, there is a strong emphasis on provenance and seasonality. Vadouvan eggs (poached eggs with labneh, smoked carrots and an Indo-French spice called vadouvan) and pastrami-style cured salmon, soft-boiled egg, pickled fennel and rosti are fixtures of the all-day breakfast menu.

Lunch ranges from braised beef short rib and gruyere burgers to raw marinated yellowfin tuna spaghetti with fermented chilli and heirloom tomato. Drinks also reflect the produce-driven ethos, with lemon myrtle and lime cold brew, cold-pressed juices and Victorian wine.

There’s room for up to 120 seated across the sprawling restaurant, which is light-filled with a barn-style A-frame and floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the gardens. The restaurant can also be booked for private events with room for up to 300 standing, while The Glass House is appropriate for larger parties, with room for up to 350 standing.

Rombe is currently open for breakfast and lunch and will begin dinner service from late April.

Rombe Rooftop
T38-39/70 Middleborough Road, Burwood East
No phone

Mon to Fri 8am–3pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm