The first restaurants, cafes and bars at Melbourne’s ambitious new 5000-square-metre retail and dining precinct 80 Collins (on the site of the heritage-listed Le Louvre building) are now open.
When completed, the $800 million building will house a luxury boutique hotel; high-end retail shops; the new endeavour from Chris Lucas, Martin Benn and Vicki Wild; and Alejandro Saravia’s three-storey Farmer’s Daughters.
But you can already access a wide range of food options, from the fancy to the fast-but-wholesome.
Maverick, a new cafe from the team behind Mayday in Richmond, is now open, as is wellness-bowl cafe Bowls Baby and People’s Coffee (both by hospitality duo Dominic and Diana Caruso), and lunch spot Upstate Coffee.
Here’s our pick of dishes to try – all for less than $20.
Lemon-meringue porridge from People’s Coffee, $12
Coffee is the top priority at this cafe, with beans sourced from local roaster Five Senses. For something a little unusual, give the lemon-meringue porridge a go. It’s served with lemon curd, Italian meringue, cinnamon crumbs and buckwheat.
Confit duck with pickled garlic from Nick & Nora’s, $16
Sample your way through the 50-odd champagnes on offer at this decadent cocktail bar, and graze on the menu of small plates and canapés, all served cold. There are lots of snack-y, seafood-y plates, but try the confit duck for something a little more substantial. It comes served with pickled garlic, smoked almond and fermented chilli.
Miso-glazed eggplant bowl from Bowls Baby, $14.9
As at the original Essendon location, this Bowls Baby outpost specialises in quick and flavoursome salad and veggie bowls. You can build your own, or order one from the menu – such as the miso-glazed eggplant and roast veggies served on quinoa and topped with toasted sesame, crispy shallots and a nashi-pear dressing. There’s also a peanut butter and house-made strawberry jam smoothie bowl.
Strawberry-maple waffles from Maverick, $17
Maverick serves classic cafe fare, and has a rotating list of single-origin brews from roastery Axil. Its waffles come with strawberries and maple double cream. (For something savoury, there are mushrooms on toast with smoked curd, hazelnut, vincotto and sage.)
Roasted eggplant and prosciutto focaccia from Upstate Coffee, $12
Upstate is a solid option for those looking to pick up a coffee and lunch to go. It has a selection of baguettes, brioche rolls and sandwiches on offer, including a roasted eggplant and prosciutto focaccia. Pastries and pies are also baked in-store.
The remaining venues and retail stores at 80 Collins are set to open later in 2020.