It may seem an odd proposition, but Melbourne’s Noodle Kingdom empire has just opened a charming new bar above its Swanston Street shop. And rest assured, it’s better than you think.

Headed by bar manager Lou Dare (ex-Amelia Shaw, New Gold Mountain and Double Happiness ), Goldilocks is a place for fun and adventure, where the drinks list is limited to six rotating cocktails and customers are encouraged to interact with roaming staff, who will astutely recommend concoctions based on individual preferences, tastes and sensibilities. Put simply, the idea is to choose your own adventure, while the bar staff act as your guides.

With a want to do things differently, Goldilocks features creative alcohol infusions and interesting flavour matches involving fresh fruit and veg. Think capsicum and ginger, as well as everyday treats such as chocolate and strawberry jam. If you’re in the mood for something more conventional, there are plenty of basics and classics on offer too.

In keeping with the nursery rhyme theme, chef Katie Marron (ex-Eau De Vie and MoVida ) has designed a playful menu of dishes that you could imagine in Little Red Riding Hood’s picnic basket, such as ‘three little pig’ pork belly sliders, truffled popcorn, a seasonal crudité plate and her famous fried chicken.

With its intimate booths and comfortable leather sofas, the indoor ‘cottage’ makes for a fantastic winter escape, suited to small groups and couples. But all the fuss will be reserved for the rooftop ‘forest’ that is set to open in just a few weeks.

Level 4, 264 Swanston Street, Melbourne (Above Noodle Kingdom)
(03) 9654 7878

Daily 5pm–late