St ALi’s Salvatore Malatesta, Jimmy Grants’ George Calombaris and Kong’s Chris Lucas have joined forces to create Rue & Co. This is a street food quarter where you can sip specialty coffee, down a souvlaki and drool over Korean BBQ, all prepared from three shipping containers lined up neatly in a row on freshly-rolled out Astroturf.

Jimmy’s is bringing the souvas and grain salad; while The Church of Secular Coffee – that’s what St ALi is going by – presents a playful mix-and-match breakfast menu from 7am to 11.30am, and a concise but fun burger menu until late (Seoul Searching with kimchi, Cheech & Chong’s Mushroom Trip). And for those who cannot wait for Kong to open its doors next month, the pop-up gods have answered your prayers. At the cheery, bright-green container there’s a taster of what’s to come with Korean-fried-chicken wings, kimchi stew, sliders, and a signature creation, the ssam roti roll.

“This collaboration means that foodies can try Kong’s Japanese and Korean barbeque flavours, Greek food or great coffee, all within metres of each other,” says Chris Lucas, the owner of Chin Chin, Baby and now, Kong.

When your eating frenzy has subsided, remember to raise your eyes skyward for L’inconnue de la rue (unknown girl in the street). It’s pretty hard to miss – the artwork is 35 metres high, spanning a colossal eight storeys.

“I wanted to create a gigantic, calming beauty and the idea of feeling close to someone so far away,” RONE says of the work. “The cropped composition is quite an intimate, close view but on such a grand scale it is best viewed at a distance.”

As day turns to night, diners can settle into custom designed seats by Northcote-based duo, Pop & Co and admire artist Joel Zika’s 20-minute video installation looping on the opposite wall to the RONE artwork.

The semi-permanent destination is set to trade from Friday May 2 until QIC Global Real Estate Initiative commence work on the reported $550 million, 39-storey tower in the next six to nine months.

Rue & Co.
80 Collins Street, Melbourne

Daily 7am–late