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.

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It’s a retro revival at Etta this weekend. Off the back of two sell-out Chinese banquets – drawing on head chef Rosheen Kaul’s roots – the team is going all-out with Australiana. The Brunswick East diner will be putting its spin on classic, nostalgic dishes from the ’80s and early ’90s. That means a mini sourdough cob loaf with whipped-spinach-and-cheese butter; fancy kabana (aka LP’s Quality Meats’s pig’s head sausage) and cheese toothpicks; a kitsch-AF prawn cocktail; a riff on the Chiko Roll; and a fairy-bread cake with mascarpone frosting and sprinkles (obv).

Order online for pick-up at 60 Lygon Street, Brunswick East, or delivery within 10 kilometres, Friday to Sunday. It’s $75 per person.

Ansari at Home
Last year, Sunda sous chef Nabil Ansari started selling refined Indian takeaway from his tiny Carlton apartment. This weekend, he’s bringing back some favourites – and there’s finally delivery. The 15-hour butter chicken returns alongside an okra fry with turmeric and chaat masala; dum biryani with lamb shoulder; dal; naan with confit garlic and butter; raita; and kheer pudding with basmati and saffron. You can also add sides (such as seekh kebab skewers with lamb mince and cumin, and malai kebab skewers with chicken wings and hung yogurt) as well as mango lassi and wine. The best part? There’s no prep involved – the dishes just need a quick reheat.

Order online for pick-up at 111 Spring Street, Melbourne, or delivery within 10 kilometres, Friday to Sunday. It’s $120 for two people, plus extras.

Big Esso
Nornie Bero’s Big Esso – a new all-day diner and bar all about the Torres Strait, where the Mabu Mabu chef-owner grew up – was open in Fed Square for just a week before lockdown. “But every cloud has a silver lining,” the team wrote on Instagram. Pivoting, the restaurant is now doing some of its most exciting dishes in heat-and-eat form as part of its new (cocktail-inclusive) meal boxes. Pescetarian and vegan options are available; think yam croquettes, fried Jerusalem artichokes with macadamias and purple-yam pate, and charred prawns with lemon aspen. Meanwhile, Big Esso is hosting an IRL fry-up with grilled emu, crocodile, periwinkles (sea snails), “island-style” damper and more.

Order heat-and-eat boxes online for pick-up at Mabu Mabu or Big Esso, or delivery within five kilometres, Friday to Sunday. It’s $150 for two or $250 for four. The fry-up is Friday to Sunday from 12pm to 6pm.

Neri’s Hummus Bar
This newly opened shopfront – on Centre Road in Bentleigh East – slaps a welcoming public face on previously wholesale-centric company Tahini Neri, which specialises in hummus, tahini and harissa. Find Neri’s Hummus Bar in the front section of the company’s factory. The recipes come via founder Neri Lipshatz’s grandmother; she taught them to him before he moved from Israel to Australia. And here you can try them all at once. The team is so confident in what it does, it only serves one thing: $10 hummus bowls with tahini, red and green harissa, falafel, pickles and warm pita bread.

Pick-up at 937 Centre Road, Bentleigh East, on Fridays from 9am to 3pm.

Sugar Nomad
Melbourne is firmly on the Basque-burnt-cheesecake bandwagon. For the uninitiated, it’s less sweet than its North American relative, the New York cheesecake, and also lacks a biscuit-y base. Instead, it’s all caramelised and glossy on the outside, and wobbly and custardy on the inside. New Instagram-born bakery Sugar Nomad is taking the dessert’s Spanish origins and injecting some Asian influences. Pastry chef Ivy Yap bakes a handful of flavours; there’s the standout hojicha and the vibrant green matcha, as well as Thai milk tea, coffee and the OG.

Order via DM for delivery within 20 kilometres of Bulleen, or pick-up at Ima Project Cafe or Dodee Paidang.


Additional reporting by Chynna Santos and Nick Connellan.