Late-night dining sure ain't what it used to be. Where a greasy burger was once the pinnacle, today's night owls have fancy-pants options like steak tartare, freshly shucked oysters and steak frites. And that's just a tiny snapshot of the post-dinner snacking menu at Mayfair — the French-accented bar, restaurant and late-night supper club from David Mackintosh (SPQR) and Romeo Lane's Joe Jones.
It's a place you can roll into past midnight and happily enjoy ham and brie toasties ($22), handmade sausage rolls ($12) and a rum-infused Jungle Bird cocktail ($21), all served with a side of sophistication.
If you're not a night owl, don't get too attached to the late-night options — they're only on offer from 10.30pm until 1am. The regular menu's a touch more serious, a reworking of familiar bistro flavours, along with a selection of steaks cooked over a wood fire.
At the lighter end, there are the essentials: steak tartare ($24) and oysters ($4.50 each), and caviar if you're keen to drop $90 for 12g. But for the ultimate French-inspired drinking snack, look to the confit duck croquettes ($6.50) — a little drier than you'd hope, but rocking a crunchy golden outer shell and a rich, meaty middle.
There's also a crumpet, though it's a wild departure from the honey-drenched treats of your youth; here, a fluffy homemade number is topped with a luscious spanner crab spread and a sprinkle of Yarra Valley salmon roe ($24).
Mains are refined without being overly fussy and there's a rotating special of the day. Duck, that French favourite, makes another appearance, this time crisp-skinned, moist and benefiting from a stint over that wood fire. It's paired with wilted cos and a generous slather of chestnut hummus ($35).
Like the menu, the space itself is a two-part experience. The dining room is all crisp white tablecloths, chandeliers and live jazz, while the adjacent bar area is a sleeker, cosier spot, better suited to those midnight fly-bys.
In both spaces you'll want something to drink. The wine list boasts a considered lineup, travelling across Europe and Australia. Though with Joe Jonas to thank for the sharp, snappy cocktail list, there's a very strong case for matching your meal to something shaken or stirred. Perhaps tap into those late-night vibes with a Stay Up Late — a heady blend of gin, cognac, lemon and soda ($21).
All up, consider Mayfair a guaranteed hit of classiness, no matter what time of night you rock through the door.
Images: Kristoffer Paulsen