When we were young, we used to build things with Lego – cars, houses and small towns for Lego people to live in. Taking these childish building blocks and bringing them into the really world, Paul Mathis has built his first bar made of Lego, the centrepiece for his new restaurant down at South Wharf, The Sharing House.

The home of 12 new restaurants and bars, South Wharf Promenade includes a host of venues that have opened over the last few months such as The Boat Builders Yard, Japanese izakaya Akachochin, Spanish eatery Bohemian and the Meat Market steak house. It’ll be a tricky task to get our city slicking diners down to the docks, where the cargo sheds stored Melbourne’s wool and gold supplies many years ago, but the line-up is pretty smooth and it’s well worth a look-in.

The newest addition and real hero of the area is The Sharing House, a slick but casual eatery which is doing a contemporary reinvention of European classics, such as moules marnier, sardine fish fingers, chicken pies, duck a l’orange and a ploughman’s plate. Chef Mark Briggs, formerly of Vue de Monde, is in the kitchen here, creating simple, colourful food that is elegant but much more casual than at his previous locale. It’s fun and sweet, and like Shannon Bennett, Briggs is talking simple pleasures and tricking them up with things like ‘The Ice Cream Man’, a selection of mini cones filled with flavours like Pedro Ximenez and Limoncello, perfect for sharing.

The space is open and light, with mod grass spanning a wall that looks right into the kitchen on one side, and a wall of glass doors than open out on to the wharf on the other.

They’ll tell you that South Wharf is only a two-minute walk from Spencer Street Bridge (just past the Convention Centre), and that it’s “not the The Docklands”, but make it five and you have a nice little walk back to the city after lunch (or dinner).

There’s certainly some promise down here at South Wharf, so we’ll be keen to see how it goes as the precinct finalises its last building blocks and, hopefully, comes into its own down on the Yarra’s edge.

The Sharing House
35 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf

Hours
Daily midday–11pm

southwharfpromenade.com.au