Stuck for easy dinner ideas, have a less-than-well-stocked pantry, and can’t be bothered messing around the kitchen? Or maybe you just want to splash out for no reason.
Melbourne’s restaurants have you covered. While we wait with bated breath and crossed fingers for dine-in service to make a comeback, there are a ton of options from the city's best to to enjoy at home.
Here are our top takeaway picks for this week.
Chef Jerry Mai’s rowdy Vietnamese beer hall, Bia Hoi, might be quiet for now, but in the kitchen her team is cooking up a storm. The Bia Hoi at Home menu features a four-course meal for two people that’s easy to finish at home, with dishes changing fortnightly. Each iteration draws on the comfort food Mai’s mum used to cook for the whole family.
For the next couple of weekends, dip pho cuon thit bo (rolls with silky pho noodles, beef and herbs) into salty-sweet nuoc mam fish sauce; slurp up a hot and sour soup with barramundi, taro and tangy tamarind in canh chua ca; feast on thit kho trung cut, or pork belly braised in young coconut water; and finish off with a jiggly coffee crème caramel.
Bia Hoi at Home costs $60, including delivery to anywhere within 20 kilometres of Glen Waverley. Order your pack by 4pm on Wednesdays for delivery Fridays and Saturdays. The full Bia Hoi menu is also available for local takeaway.
Cannoleria by That’s Amore
Holy cannoli, Batman. The tiny shop dedicated to deep-fried pastry and creamy ricotta by cheese titan That’s Amore has launched new celebration cakes made of – what else? – cannoli.
The cannoli cakes stand in piede or on foot, with the crunchy tubes held upright by ribbon. Each shell is chock-full of either Sicilian filling (sweetened ricotta with cinnamon) or a chocolate ricotta cream. There’s a small size with seven cannoli, a larger 18-piece number, and gluten-free options for both. Now that’s amore.
In Piede cannoli cakes start at $55 for small and $95 for large; gluten free costs extra. Cakes must be ordered a week in advance; delivery is $5 to metro Melbourne. These are not available for purchase in-store.
Rice Paper Scissors
Southeast Asian diner Rice Paper Scissors wants you to spend weekends in with its new Weekender Boxes. Choose any five signature dishes from the extensive menu – including sticky pork belly, Sri Lankan beetroot curry, snapper ceviche, or Crying Tiger beef brisket – to finish cooking at home for dinner, plus two breakfast items for the next day (we’ve got our eyes on the Thai chicken congee and pandan pancakes).
Each dish can be sized up or down depending on how many people are sharing, and there are options to add DIY Bloody Mary or Vietnamese Espresso Martini kits, bottled cocktails, or a gin gift pack from Dr Neptune.
The Weekender Box starts at $100. Delivery is free for orders above $125, with a flat rate of $15 for smaller orders. Delivery is available to suburbs within 20 kilometres of the CBD. The cut-off time for pick-up and delivery is 2pm the day before; pre-orders can be made up to four weeks in advance.
Malatang chain Dragon Hotpot, which is renowned for its fiery, face-numbing broth, has nine outposts around Melbourne, but if they’re not within your radius you can get DIY Hotpot at Home kits delivered.
Take your pick from six broths (including the signature malatang, Sichuan hot and sour, or Thai tom yum) and 85 add-on ingredients, such as thinly sliced meat, fresh seafood, vegetables, noodles, tofu and fish balls. There are also 500-gram sets with pre-picked ingredients to take the guesswork out of building your bowl. Get them precooked, or there’s an easy DIY option to heat up and prep at home.
Delivery is available across 200 Melbourne suburbs, with free delivery for orders over $50 for a limited time only. Orders must be placed by 8pm the day before; check here to see when they’re heading your way.
Top event caterer Cookes Food is known for its elevated offering, and that holds true for its picnic hampers, too. With warmer weather and more relaxed restrictions coming (fingers crossed), the company has launched three curated picnic boxes you can enjoy at the park.
There’s a brunch box with mini croissants and local butter, shaved ham from Donati’s, and ocean trout with dill horseradish cream; a grazing platter with the trout plus charcuterie, three kinds of cheese, two dips, anchovies and pinot noir; and a Euro grazing box with woodfired flatbread, pickled octopus, cheese and onion tartlets, spanakopita triangles, Basque cheesecake and a bottle of nebbiolo rosato.
Each pack also includes baby tomatoes with buffalo mozzarella and EVOO, brie with fresh seasonal grapes, sourdough demi-baguettes, gluten-free biscuits and crostini. Bamboo serving tongs and biodegradable plates and bowls come complimentary.
Picnic boxes start at $120. They’re available Fridays and Saturdays, and can be picked up from Cookes Food’s St Kilda headquarters or delivered for $15 – either to your doorstep or directly to the park.