What we covered in Melbourne food and drink this week
•Arbory Afloat is back for its “boldest, brightest ever” season. And we had the first look at this year’s Mexican-inspired renovation. Step aboard for Spicy Marg carafes, tacos al pastor, and a brand new pool area.
•Iris the Bakery has opened in Brunswick – and it’s bringing a taste of Copenhagen’s bread and pastry scene with it. There are sticky sweet cardamom buns, huge artisanal loafs, plentiful croissants and more. And Iris bakes throughout the day – so no sell-outs by mid-morning.
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•A magic bar featuring some of Japan’s finest magicians has popped up on a Chinatown car park roof. Head over for sake and sleight-of-hand. Just remember: they’re not tricks, they’re illusions.
•The Abbotsford section of Johnston Street is a tight-knit community of venues, and new cafe Gilbees has just joined in, serving brunch classics and sangas in in its leafy courtyard.
•Stop by ’70s-themed speakeasy Bar Hiccup for a cocktail this weekend – if you can find it. There are retro drinks and bites, in a space modelled after the co-owner’s grandpa’s living room. The only thing missing is a shag carpet.
•Last week we said a fond farewell to Babajan, the Carlton North cafe that served Middle Eastern and Turkish food worth crossing town for.
•But we also said hi to Julie, the romantic new Abbotsford Convent diner from the crew behind Cam’s Kiosk.
•Good Heavens, the bar above Fancy Hanks, has just finished its expansion over a neighbouring roof. It’s now comfortably Melbourne’s biggest rooftop bar – and one heck of a good time.
You might have missed
•If you’ve never heard of Chauncy, in Heathcote, it’s time to fix that. Since opening in late 2021 it’s become one of Victoria’s best destination diners. Here are four reasons why you should make a booking at this French-leaning restaurant in wine country.
•This week on Broadsheet’s podcast Around Town we spoke to Melbourne Food & Wine Festival’s artistic director Pat Nourse about the food fest’s upcoming regional edition; talked to feted chef Josh Niland about his latest cookbook: Fish Butchery; and caught up with the founders of lunch-time favourite Fishbowl.
•Emily Kinsman is one of our favourite Victorian winemakers – if you haven’t yet sampled a bottle of her sublime ECK Wines, this weekend is your chance. On Saturday September 16, she's launching her three newest wines (a rosé, an outstanding pinot noir syrah and a rouge cuvée) at her Heathcote Cellar Door. There’s a free wine tasting and live music. Things kick off at 12pm. Grab a free ticket here.
•To celebrate Melbourne Cocktail Week, which kicks off on Monday, Smith St Bistrot’s upstairs dining room is becoming Smith St Boozerie. A ticket gets you three Gallic cocktails, charcuterie, chicken liver parfait and the bistro’s caviar-laden oeuf mayonnaise. Bookings are live now.
•After over 18 years, CBD stalwart Golden Monkey is closing at the end of September. “In the grand scheme of things Golden Monkey is just a small bar in a small lane – but I like to think it was home away from home for so many people,” said owner Adam Ong. Vale!
•Prahran wine bar Don’s has launched Austin’s Ambrosia: a fortnightly Sunday morning bake sale. There’s a new line-up of pastries each week, but Basque burnt cheesecake, Banoffee pies and focaccia sangas have all starred in the past.
•Having a think about your relationship with booze? With silly season around the corner, it’s a good time to try this new non-alcoholic dinner party series for the sober and the sober curious – tickets for the first dinner, on September 27, are on sale now.
•Silks at Crown Melbourne is launching luxe all-you-can-eat yum cha lunches from tomorrow. There’ll be black truffle bean curd skin rolls, prawn and chive dumplings, preserved century egg congee and more. And kids eat half-price.
•Poodle Bar and Bistro’s patio party is back for another year with a Sunday session on September 24. It’s collaborating with Lilac Wine Bar for a big sunny bash – featuring snacks off the barbie, fun Euro wines from the cellar and a range of DJs spinning disco.