Stuck for easy dinner ideas? Have a less-than-well-stocked pantry and can’t be bothered messing around in the kitchen? Or maybe you just want to splash out for no reason?
Melbourne’s restaurants have got you covered. While we wait with bated breath and crossed fingers for dine-in service to make a comeback, there are tons of options from the city’s best to enjoy at home.
Here are our top takeaway picks for this week.
Terror Twilight x Meatmaiden
Head chef at Collingwood cafe Terror Twilight, Dale Kemp, and executive chef at city steakhouse Meatmaiden, Tom Johnson, are teaming up for a (mostly) un-vegetarian sandwich pop-up this weekend. Called “Two Mates Meat”, they’ll be serving a one-off menu featuring dry-aged rib eye and brisket, courtesy of Gippsland’s O’Connor Beef. The rib eye will be fried and served with smoked buffalo mozzarella and salsa verde, while the brisket will be hot-smoked for 20 hours and slapped with a stack of pickles. Also find lobster-mac‘n’cheese croquettes and, for the meat-averse, eggplant schnitzels.
Pick-up at 1–13 Johnston Street, Collingwood on Saturday and Sunday from 10am to 2.30pm (or sold out).
Ten Minutes by Tractor
One of the Mornington Peninsula’s finest dining (and drinking) destinations, Ten Minutes by Tractor, has been put through the wringer. There was a fire, a rebuild, and then Covid. But the team has managed to persevere, and it’s just relaunched its high-end, at-home dining service The Art of Dining In, which is now delivering across metro Melbourne. The menu changes weekly, but right now the focus is Japanese. Snacks include a beef katsu sando with white cabbage and tonkatsu sauce, and charry chicken-oyster yakitori, while the main course is all about rich shio (salt) ramen with chashu pork. There’s a matcha-and-chocolate terrine for dessert, and an array of wine-pairing options.
Umberto Espresso Bar
A 100-year-old former shoe store in Thornbury is the newish home of Umberto Espresso Bar, which moved across High Street from its snug original digs earlier this year. The Italian favourite has been doing its usual, pasta-heavy menu in takeaway form during lockdown, but it’s also running a regular pop-up with panini, house-made focaccia and Aperol Spritzes to go. Stars of the panini menu include the crisp veal cotoletta and the mortadella with stracciatella and pistachio. Meanwhile, the circular, perfectly oily focaccia Pugliese comes with a number of different toppings; you can buy it by the half or whole, though we recommend the latter.
Pick-up at 917 High Street, Thornbury on Friday and Saturday from 11.30am to 2.30pm.
Extravagant, family-owned wedding venue Quat Quatta – a refurbished Victorian-era mansion in Ripponlea – has also been hit hard by the pandemic and its resulting event cancellations. To keep the business afloat, the team got innovative, turning its grand drive-through into a pick-up point for take-home meals. Choose from slow-cooked lamb shoulder for two, eggplant parm with a crusty baguette, ginger-soy salmon with rice noodles and wok-tossed greens, and more. But there was also a charitable aspect to the launch of the drive-through; last year the team donated close to 20,000 meals to charity, working with the Salvation Army and Port Phillip Community Group.
Billy van Creamy x Birdsnake
Earlier this year, local chocolate brand Birdsnake released a squeezy, Ice Magic-esque choc sauce called Strange Magic (with the serving suggestion, “drown your pancakes, cereal, morning oats or sorrows”). But Nutella-lovers will be pleased to know it’s launching a new flavour: hazelnut. And to celebrate, it’s doing a special at northside ice-creamery Billy van Creamy, which has locations in Fitzroy North and Brunswick. Available this weekend only, the Cookie Bowl is a freshly baked choc-chip cookie topped with hazelnut ice-cream and glug of nutty Strange Magic sauce.