Arbory Bar and Eatery is long — 150m long, to be exact. Stretching along the length of what was the old Platform 13 at Flinders Street Station, this is the perfect place for some old-fashioned promenading. That is, walking to see and be seen. Then, once you've got that out of your system, take a seat at the long counter-bench overlooking the Yarra, or grab one of the bigger tables and settle in.
Named for the leafy canopy, or arbor, that the plane trees create above, Arbory is a magical pocket of green goodness in the midst of a bustling city. It is even more enchanting as the sun goes down and the container housing the kitchen, two bars and the bathrooms emits an enticing golden glow.
Arbory is open from 7.30am for breakfast and runs right through until late with a concise and well-chosen menu from ex-Trocadero (now Fatto) chef, Nicolas Bennett. The offering is somewhat refined, but still a little cheeky; the steak tartare comes served on a cheese toastie, and the fried artichoke is perfect with fresh Buffalo mozzarella and green sauce. Both are spot on, and the bigger plates aren't far behind. Dessert takes a cue from Trocadero's old menu: a salted caramel sundae with popcorn crumb.
But the standout choice has to be the double cheeseburger. Word has it that the butcher makes the patties to Bennett's specifications, as to create the ultimate meat-to-fat ratio and — what's more — the perfect bread-to-beef proportions. Arbory treats its patties with the same respect as they might a fine steak; they're served still slightly pink and deliciously juicy. While the beef patty is definitely the star of this gig, the bacon, brioche bun, mellow and creamy Monterey cheese, sundried tomato relish, slip of lettuce and pickle all work together to elevate this burger to superstar status. The accompanying crinkle cut fries complete the dish — or should we say, the wooden board. And, from experience, more than one napkin is required.
With a state of the art beer system, fancy Hoshizaki ice machine, wine on tap (as well as some lovely local and Spanish wines by the bottle) and a cocktail list on the horizon, this is a well thought-out bar.
Quickly becoming popular for an after work wind-down drink, or a lunchtime escape for those doing 9-5, there is a happy mix of suits, jeans and frocks. For those who don't work in the city, it's still worth the trip. And, given it's right by the train station, there's really no excuse.
But wrap up. Leafy plane trees are all well and good, and certainly pretty, but it can get chilly by the river and the gas heaters can only do so much.