Nick Stanton’s got casual cool down pat: the tattooed, tousled Gold Coast native has made his name in Melbourne thanks to the spot-on ’70s nostalgia of log-cabin party bar Leonard’s House of Love in South Yarra and the enveloping home-style warmth of Leonardo’s Pizza Palace in Carlton. From the beer and cocktail choices to the meticulous details of the food and décor alike, both spots will reset your mood for the better.
After nearly a decade in Melbourne, does the city feel like home for Stanton yet? “It’s starting to now,” he says. “It’s a cool city, and I can duck back to the Gold Coast when I have time.”
With his stellar CV, you can be sure that Stanton’s top spots for late-night eats aren’t going to be duds: this guy knows what he’s talking about. It’s this type of insider knowledge that inspired the launch of MyBroadsheet, our new feature that will add a layer of personalisation to your regular experience of the site. With it you can discover, document and save your favourite elements of the city through customisable lists and bookmarks. You’ll never be stuck for somewhere to eat, drink, shop or visit ever again.
Here’s Nick Stanton’s guide to late-night eats in Melbourne.
“It’s one of my favourite restaurants in the city. I love that I can go here at 3am and get some of the best steaks in Melbourne. My go-to is the Daily Butchers Cut Steak, served with hand-cut chips and condiments. They take it straight out of the dry-aging cabinet – as it dry-ages over time, it creates a crust around it and encases this funky umami flavour. It’s diner-style: bright lights, with one big sharing table. I love everything about it.”
“It’s a cool little laneway bar run by the Grossi family. It’s quite intimate – it definitely takes you away from the hustle and bustle of the streets late at night. They have an awesome late-night menu until 3am. Their Midnight Spaghetti is great – it’s really simple, with tomato and basil. It’s the kind of food I crave at that time of night. They also do a bolognaise jaffle that’s a nice little booze snack. Their food is super fresh, with really good ingredients. These guys take their cooking seriously at a late hour, and it’s incredible.”
Ling Nan Restaurant
“I love the interior in this place: it’s all pink and peach. It’s great to go here with a large group or after service with staff. I’ve been going here for years. The go-to dish is the sweet-and-sour pork, it’s absolute crack! It’s a classic dish we grew up with in Australia, especially in our hometowns, but it’s done 100 times better in this joint. It’s crunchy, it’s sticky, it’s very, very addictive. Sometimes you roll in and the dining room is 50 to 60 per cent people who have been partying, or you get a dining room full of hospitality people that are all knocking off work. You get a bit of everything.”
“It’s a cool little basement hideaway [with] a great vibe. You’re taken away from the outside world. When I was there last, there was a Thai cover band banging out the hits! My go-to dishes are the Tom Yum noodle soup and the Chicken Larb – it’s dried chicken mince they cook in a wok with lime and chilli and fish sauce. It’s a very authentic Thai dish [with] a savoury sweet-and-sour vibe. Really, really good stuff.”
Dragon Hot Pot
“People queue to get into this place. It’s a buzzy joint – it’s always busy [but] worth the wait. Basically you pick from a range of meats, seafood or veg, then choose your spice level and style of soup base, and away you go! My go-to is The Dragon Hot: they cook it all and then bring it back to the table for you. It’s a different, fun way to be eating late-night food. It’s super spicy though – you’ve gotta like spicy food to want to eat hot pot, especially at that hour.”
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