The Barre, Theatres Building
Running the curve of the ground floor of the Theatres Building, The Barre is a favourite meeting spot for theatre goers before shows, when intrigue and excitement run high, and after, when deep chats and reflection are often on the cards. Both bar and eatery, its modern Australian menu emphasises fresh seasonal ingredients in small bites, and larger offerings for sharing (or hungry types). The wine list favours local vintners, craft beers and ciders, small-batch Australian gins, and single-malt whiskies from Australia and New Zealand. It’s worth visiting regularly because it often creates cocktails to complement shows.
Fatto, Hamer Hall
Overlooking the Yarra River and the Melbourne skyline, this Italian bar and eatery comprises two distinct spaces, The Cantina and The Bar. The Cantina offers table service and signature Italian dishes that cover the full gamut of Italian classics, including pasta, steak, salad and dessert. The Bar has an extensive drinks list, snacks, antipasto and specials, and an outdoor heated terrace runs the length of the building for al fresco dining all year round. Both are overseen by head chef James Kummrow, whose experience takes in The Royal Mail Hotel; Fenix; Journal Canteen; Church St Enoteca; and The Square, London and The Vineyard, England (both two-Michelin starred). Kummrow’s contemporary menu is packed with pasta, handmade fresh every day on-site, and seasonal produce.
Cumulus Inc., Flinders Lane
Cumulus Inc. was so ahead of its time that it's largely escaped major overhaul. Aside from Cumulus Up in 2013, the more casual upstairs wine-bar (another trend set by Andrew McConnell) as well as periodic tweaks to the menu, not much has changed since opening day. Probably the most recognisable dish on the menu is the slow-roasted lamb shoulder, but there are plenty of hits in the Cumulus back catalogue too: like the steak tartare served on a small, crispy cracker of toast, chorizo stuffed dates with cider onions and tuna tartare with crushed green pea salad.
Saké Restaurant & Bar, Hamer Hall
A la carte or banquet dining are both the go at this modern Japanese restaurant’s Hamer Hall location – one of six award-winning Saké locations in Australia (Hamer Hall, Flinders Lane), Brisbane (Eagle St Pier) and Sydney (Double Bay, The Rocks, Manly). Traditional Japanese dishes are given a contemporary twist – think miso glazed toothfish cooked in bamboo leaves with miso butter, or nori crisps with tuna, kingfish, green onion, togarashi and sesame dressing. At Hamer Hall an expansive restaurant seats 120 and is perfect for drop ins, and the mezzanine (seats 40), Hachi private dining room (seats eight) and Hotaru private dining room (seats 16) are more suited to private, planned dinners. There is of course plenty of premium Japanese sake on the drinks menu, along with a number of shochu varieties, wine and boutique beers.
Teatro, Hamer Hall
Nestled under Hamer Hall on the Southbank Promenade, overlooking the banks of the Yarra, and with stunning views of the city of Melbourne, Teatro infuses fresh Australian produce with European flair, particularly the flavours of Spain and Italy. Spanish cheeses, such as manchego; aged jamon; and Andalusian olives can be followed by woodfired pizza. Or come for the Sardinian seafood stew or squid-ink risoni, or a large dish designed for sharing, such as paella. The impressive charcoal grilled meat platter is piled with veal and pork meatballs, chicken ribs, Spanish sausage, roasted chicken, and duck leg, and it’s complemented by a selection of sauces and a side of your choice.
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