Until recently, us Melburnians spent significant chunks of our lives in our city’s world-renowned restaurants, bars and cafes. Drinking and dining out is part of our DNA.
Right now, we’re settling into a new reality – one where picking up or ordering in is the new dining out – and some of the best venues in town have adapted with creativity and innovation.
Got an excellent new takeaway suggestion we should check out? Let us know.
At the end of last year, chef Reuben Davis transformed fine-dining institution The Press Club – originally fronted by embattled celebrity chef George Calombaris – into modern-Greek eatery Elektra. Now, after Made Establishment (which owned the restaurant, among others) collapsed, and Covid-19 hit in the months that followed, Davis is applying his fine-dining skills to the French comfort classic that is the quiche.
Cooking out of Matt Wilkinson’s Pie Shop in Brunswick East, Davis takes a classic base of eggs, butter and cream, and adds either smoked ham and cheddar; chorizo, roasted red pepper and manchego; camembert with caramalised onion and thyme; or leek and comte. Just add a green salad with a tart, punchy dressing, and a glass of something cold.
It’s tough to imagine the Flower Drum experience anywhere but its Market Lane home, where – in normal times – you’d enter through its iconic red door and take the elevator up to the dining room for a night of flawless Cantonese food and first-rate service. But at least if you order from the internationally acclaimed restaurant’s finish-at-home menu, you don’t have to dress up.
Start with steamed dim sum (scallops in silky rice noodle rolls or delicate pork and prawn siu mai); then move onto barbeque-pork fried rice; saltbush lamb fried with leek, ginger and garlic; and smashed cucumber in aged black rice vinegar.
Mains might include steamed wild-caught barramundi with a simple soy, spring onion and ginger dressing, or egg noodles in oyster sauce with shiitake and roast duck (the Drum’s signature Peking duck is absent from the takeaway menu, but this is a pretty decent second prize).
Available for delivery through Providoor within a 35 kilometre radius of the CBD.
This breathtaking underground diner pays homage to kaiseki (a Japanese haute cuisine tradition), normally serving meticulous, degustation-style dinners and world-class sashimi to just 16 diners each night.
Now it’s doing triple-decker bento boxes to-go, stacked with sashimi including abalone from Flinders Island and Tasmanian uni (sea urchin), plus chicken katsu, braised duck, miso salmon and sticky rice cakes for dessert.
There’s also a 500-gram roast Wagyu striploin with truffles and miso, and sukiyaki (Japanese hotpot) – just heat up the kombu dashi, mirin, sake and soy broth at home, then dip thinly sliced raw Wagyu, fresh vegetables, mushrooms and fish cakes in until they’re just cooked.
Dessert-wise, there’s persimmon poached in an umeshu (Japanese plum wine) and vanilla syrup, and a sweet-sour sorbet made from blood peaches and amazake (a low-alcohol drink made from fermented sweet rice).
Order ahead for delivery within 14 kilometres of the restaurant, or pick up from B01/139 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
Sardinian-born chef Andrea Serreli had been heading up the pasta section at CBD Italian spot Trattoria Emilia for just shy of a year when Covid-19 hit. Finding himself unemployed overnight, and without any idea of when things would get back to normal, Serreli and his partner decided to go it alone, and they’re now creating fresh, handmade, restaurant-quality pasta for customers at home.
The menu is mostly vegetarian with a few vegan options. Think smoked eggplant and ricotta tortellini; cestini (Italian for “baskets”) filled with goat’s cheese and chives; pumpkin and gouda tortelli; and strands of bright red tagliatelle flavoured with oven-roasted organic beetroot.
Sauces lean classic: there’s napoli, sage butter, and a seaweed-flecked butter that makes quick mates with the cestini.
Everything arrives in plant-based compostable packaging, a welcome move in the current plastic-dominated climate.
Delivery only between 9am and 5pm on Thursdays and Fridays. Delivery fee is $5, minimum order of $50.
Chef Clare Duncan got her start at just 15 with an apprenticeship under highly awarded chef and Middle Eastern food authority Greg Malouf. Earlier this year, finding her herself out of work due to the pandemic, Duncan launched Minimum Dips, an all-vegan dip delivery service that draws on the flavours of Egypt, Iran, Turkey and beyond.
From a Collingwood kitchen, she’s making classics – including creamy hummus and smoky baba ganoush – as well as artichoke and white bean with lemon and parsley; beetroot and dukkah; slow-cooked carrot and fava bean; and muhammara, made with chargrilled capsicum and walnuts.
Add-ons include veggie-loaded soups, sumac-dusted flatbread, and a saffron-custard flan with burnt caramel for dessert.
Dips come in 300-gram packs and cost between $10 and $12 each. Delivery within eight kilometres is $5. Pick-up is not available.