Victoria Harbour lies where Collins and Bourke streets connect. In the heart of the Docklands precinct, it boasts 2.5 kilometres of waterfront promenade and is five minutes by free tram from Melbourne’s CBD. The community here has long been defined by daylight options, such as communal gardens, spots for cycling and basketball, and even a club for Dragon Boat racing. So it’s easy to fall back into thinking its food scene consists of lunch spots than a reliable location for night-time dining.
But a series of new places are changing that – and there’s more on their way. Here’s five diners helping redefine the area after dark and on weekends.
Pony Boy Seafood Bar & Grill
James Nezos (ex-Hunky Dory) is responsible for bringing a brand-new Mediterranean bar to the neighbourhood: Pony Boy. In this case, Mediterranean means fish, fish and more fish, right down to the pasta menu, where highlights include marinara, chilli prawn and the spartan-yet-delicious anchovy.
Chicken parmas, salads and burgers are also available – the New England lobster roll is worth a try – and there’s the signature Pony Boy burger, featuring lean beef, lettuce, tomato, cheese, caramelised onion, bacon, free range egg, herbed mayo and the house-made smoked tomato sauce. If you’re out to welcome the weekend early, there’s a DJ on hand every Thursday and Friday nights.
Shop 4, 845 Collins Street, Victoria Harbour Docklands
Fitzroy’s popular hawker-inspired Thai Thani has opened up a new space in Victoria Harbour, but this time, it’s vibing off a Thai beach resort: think timber and marble interior, suspended rattan lights, and plenty of natural light.
Open from 8am until late every day, the menu is full of bold Thai flavours and fluro cocktails almost too pretty to drink. Massaman curry and a beautifully seasoned grilled chicken served with a side of coconut rice are menu highlights. With its big sister’s reputation as pedigree and Allpress coffee available, this neighbourhood outpost is a welcome addition.
Shop 3 851Collins Street, Victoria Harbour Docklands
This just-opened pizza place is already doing a tidy trade. As straightforward as they come, Pizza @888’s menu covers the full gamut of pizza offerings, from capricciosa and pepperoni to mediterranean lamb and meatlovers, as well as less traditional numbers such as peri-peri Chicken and Turkish-style sucuk. It also offers pasta, parmas and the kind of meal deals you’d expect from any self-respecting old school pizza joint, from 11am until 11pm, seven days a week.
888 Collins St, Victoria Harbour Docklands
Chilangos Mexican Cantina
This Mexican street-food inspired joint serves familiar favourites like burrito bowls, nachos, tacos and churros. Spice freaks will find plenty of hot chilli and jalapenos on the menu, but mild alternatives are available. As a counterpoint, the drinks menu includes cold Mexican beers, South American wines and modern cocktails. This is Chilango’s’ second venue (the other in Goldsborough Lane in the CBD), and, like the first, the decor is bright and colourful, and Latino music fills the air. As at a Mexican street-food stall, orders are prepared “live” (ie: immediately, as you watch and wait) for maximum freshness.
855 Collins Street, Victoria Harbour Docklands
Upstairs-downstairs outfit Tap831 established itself as the social mecca of Victoria Harbour several years back, making it an old timer in this relatively new part of town. Tap831’s menu features pizza, pasta and pub-like fare including a southern fried chicken burger and chargrilled pork cutlets. It also offers some decent salads and promotes seasonal and sustainable Victorian produce from the Yarra Valley, the Dandenongs and the Mornington Peninsula, while the wine list features a handful of popular vineyards and boutique drops. With capacity for 300 across both levels, there’s room for everyone. Upstairs is reserved for groups, bookings and table service, while downstairs operates on a come-on-in policy. A sports screen, a two-hour-long happy hour from 4pm Monday through Friday, and live music on Fridays and Saturdays invites lingering.
831 Bourke Street, Victoria Harbour Docklands
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