It may only be October, but it feels like 2024 is fast approaching. Shops have started putting out holiday decorations, Mariah Carey is getting ready to chart again and we’ve already drafted our OOO responders.
This year has seen some great new Melbourne venues open (check out of best of lists from the first half of the year) but there are still plenty of new openings, and reopenings, to come before the new year. These are the restaurants, bars and an ice-cream shop we’re excited to visit before we draw the curtain on 2023.
Vue de Monde and Lui Bar
Fine-dining institution Vue de Monde closed its 55th-floor Rialto Tower digs in late July for a refurb.
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While Vue is in the middle of a serious revamp, sibling venue Lui Bar (also on the 55th floor) will be utterly transformed.
“[I]t’s fundamentally a completely new venue,” executive chef Hugh Allen told Broadsheet back in July, before renovations started.
The $3 million-plus renovation is being overseen by Elenberg Fraser, the multi-award-winning architecture firm that oversaw Vue de Monde’s move from Normanby Chambers in the CBD to its current location in 2011.
What can we expect from the fine diner when guests are welcomed back on October 28th? A serious equipment upgrade in the kitchen, new sound and lighting in the dining room and new dishes that Allen has been working on while the restaurant was closed.
We’ve been waiting almost all year for this Collins Street basement bar from Joe Jones (Romeo Lane) and Maurice Terzini (Sydney’s Icebergs) to open. Purple Pit is due to open in the heritage-listed space next month, and Jones tells Broadsheet it was born out of the duo’s love of hotel bars and dive-y clubs with great music and purposeful drinks.
While there’ll be a small menu, the venue will focus on minimal, easy-to-enjoy European cocktails “with the occasional vogue ingredient thrown in”, Jones says.
A theatrical Sri Lankan diner – where hoppers are the hero – is coming to Melbourne.
Jason Jones and Brahman “Bremi” Perera – the pair behind Entrecote – are bringing Hopper Joint to Greville Street, Prahran.
“It will be pure theatre,” Jones told Broadsheet earlier this year. “Loud, sexy and delicious... with the hoppers being made in the middle of the restaurant, people ringing little Sri Lankan antique bells for service, and arak and gin cocktail creations by the incredible Joe Jones, of Romeo Lane fame.”
The kitchen will be doing three kinds of hopper (a wafer-thin, bowl-shaped rice-flour pancake): plain, egg, and string. “The menu is a nod to Bremi’s heritage, growing up in an extended Sri Lankan family in Doncaster,” Jones says.
A recent trip to Sri Lanka inspired the fit-out, which was led by Perera, a prolific interior designer, behind the beautiful Ursula’s in Paddington, Sydney. Jones says Hopper Joint is influenced by colonial architecture, with a “modern Geoffrey Bawa/Perera edge”, referring to the influential Sri Lankan architect.
Maggie’s Snacks and Liquor
Brunswick East is getting a new neighbourhood bar at the end of the month, when Maggie’s Snacks and Liquor – the latest venue from Nathan Toleman (Square One Rialto, Hazel) – opens in the former Alehouse Project space on Lygon Street.
Cocktails – including the Margot Robbie, which blends rhubarb, pistachio, vodka and citrus – make use of seasonal ingredients, while the food is influenced by Blomfield’s New Zealand upbringing, with plates like ika mata (a ceviche-like dish from the Cook Islands) and apple shortcake expected to appear.
Next month, Shani and the team are opening a second location in Collingwood, meaning north-siders will no longer have to schlep to the city to pick up a pita filled with Miznon’s rotisserie chicken, ratatouille, hot chickpeas and more.
The scoop shop is known for Japanese-inspired flavours like matcha pistachio, sweet potato kuromitsu (a Japanese sugar syrup similar to molasses) and fuji apple sorbet. And soon we’ll be able to get Kori cones and cups in the city, with the duo planning to open a second store in the CBD this December.
An earlier version of this story stated that two new venues from the 1800 Lasagne team would be opening this year. We have amended the story to reflect they are due to open next year.