Tokyo Tina believes it’s one of the first venues to introduce the Japanese-inspired Hawaiian dish poke (pronounced “pokey”) to Melbourne. Similar to a ceviche rice bowl, poke contains plain rice, marinated salmon, sesame oil, fresh onion, mango puree and a coconut-and-lime ball on top. “You crush it all up and it’s tropical, Japanese-y and summery – all in one container,” says co-owner, Simon Blacher.
How about a lamb souvlaki and saganaki croquetas with peppered-fig dipping sauce? Gazi only brings out its lamb souva on special occasions. “This is definitely one of those times!” says Bianca Carrettin from Gazi.
Ruyi’s favourite menu item is its chilli wonton. It can be enjoyed any time of day and night. Made from Greenvale pork and fresh vegetables, it’s wrapped in a silky-smooth skin and dipped in a hot rock-sugar sauce. “It tastes zingy and feels like a kick to your taste buds,” says co-owner Qianqian Luo-Fang.
Bluebonnet Barbecue’s pick from its Royal Croquet Club menu is the smoked pork belly with cheesy cornbread waffle, sweet corn, sour cream and porcini popcorn. It would make a great dinner choice, but for something a little lighter, and more suited to lunch, you could try the smoked-trout salad with tomato, peach and basil.
For gluten-free options (and anyone who loves tacos), Mamasita will serve its new Baja-influenced fish taco with a double crumb of polenta and potato starch. “They’re light and texturally right on point,” says co-owner Matt Lane. “They have a crunch from the crumb, succulence from the fish, and are encased in softness from the tortilla with optional heat from the ghost-chilli, smoked-jalepeno mayo.”
It’s ice-cream weather every day of the Royal Croquet Club, no matter the forecast. Pidapipo has created a peanut butter and chocolate fudge gelato sandwich. “We’re trying something new for the event that we’ve never done before,” says owner Lisa Valmorbida. There will also be six gelato flavours on offer for the purists: passionfruit sorbetto, chocolate, hazelnut, salted caramel, Nutella swirl and a top-secret flavour, exclusive to the Royal Croquet Club.
We’re curating the cocktail menu too, so after you’ve eaten, have a drink with us at the Broadsheet Bar.
Royal Croquet Club runs from Thursday December 10 until Sunday December 20 at Birrarung Marr. Entry is free.