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FOOD & DRINK

Seven BYO Lunch Spots to Hit with Your Colleagues When the Boss Isn't Paying

Celebrate making it through another week with your team — and an excellent bottle of wine or beer — at these wallet-friendly eateries.
By Leisha Kapor
February 28, 2020
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Seven BYO Lunch Spots to Hit with Your Colleagues When the Boss Isn't Paying

Celebrate making it through another week with your team — and an excellent bottle of wine or beer — at these wallet-friendly eateries.
By Leisha Kapor
February 28, 2020
  shares

SEVEN BYO LUNCH SPOTS TO HIT WITH YOUR COLLEAGUES WHEN THE BOSS ISN'T PAYING

in partnership with

Celebrate making it through another week with your team — and an excellent bottle of wine or beer — at these wallet-friendly eateries.

The joys of a well-rounded lunch shouldn't be relegated to just the weekends. Sometimes your working day calls for a midday bite to eat with your best workmates and bottle of wine to cheers to all the hard work you've been doing. It's not your fault if your boss doesn't realise that.

When the company card isn't on the table, you're going to want a lunch spot that caters to groups while keeping the final number on the bill low. In partnership with BWS, we've found a bunch of restaurants around Melbourne that deliver just that — made all the easier by the fact that they offer BYO. All you need to do is to find a date that's free of meetings and hectic deadlines, then make a stop at BWS on the way to pick up a cheeky bottle of vino.

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    If you’ve made it to Wednesday and you’re in need of a hump day feed, or you’re looking for somewhere to take the team to celebrate a successful week, take a turn off Chapel Street and head to Red Door Yum Cha. Doubling as an antiques and furniture store, it’s a cracking little restaurant serving up dumplings and larger dishes like the Chairman Mao hong shao rou — pork belly braised in Chinese wine, star anise and ginger. Bring the whole crew and a bottle of wine from BWS for $8 corkage. It’s open for lunch from Wednesday to Sunday and takes reservations, so you don’t have to worry about waiting for a (vintage) table.

    Need inspiration? Pick up a bottle of Yalumba Y Series Riesling.

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    One of the first in Melbourne to truly do artisanal pizza justice, D.O.C. Pizza and Mozzarella Bar is a favourite for top-notch Italian ingredients and recipes — the menu even has a map on it to show you where all the goods have come from. There’s a diverse selection of traditional and more modern toppings on perfectly crispy pizzas topped with mozzarella, plus a huge offering of cheese (including a mozzarella degustation), salumi and salads so you and the crew can mix and match to create your own giant banquet. The Carlton location is open for lunch between Thursday and Sunday, and only takes bookings for groups of six or more.

    Pick up a bottle of Chapel Hill Pinot Grigio.

    Image: Josie Withers/Visit Victoria

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    HuTong

    A long-standing favourite in the Chinatown end of the CBD, HuTong Dumpling Bar gets its name from the lanes and alleyways of ancient China — and it serves up delicious home-style Chinese cooking in its honour. With three levels of dining space and open for lunch every day of the week, Hutong is always a good choice for a midday feast. The restaurant is praised for its Shanghainese food, but it’s the dumplings that everyone comes for. Order a bunch of different styles and share with your teammates, from the soupy xiao long bao from east China and boiled dumplings stuffed with spinach of the north to the Sichuan-style wantons swimming in hot chilli sauce and Shanghainese pan-fried bites. And, of course, you’re allowed to BYO wine for a $4.50 per person corkage fee. Just be sure to make a booking.

    Pick up a bottle of La Planchelière Cabernet d’Anjou Rosé.

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    Unfortunately, Fitzroy’s Ladro is not open for lunch during the week — but it’s worth keeping this one in the back pocket if you’re planning a dinner instead. The Italian eatery is all about sustainability — it uses local produce where possible, sources fine artisanal goods from Italy and puts 100 percent of its organic waste into compost. The menu is super simple, offering a handful of starters, including calamari and polenta chips, a daily pasta special and just three main meals: pan-roasted barramundi, scotch fillet and a woodfired meat special. Things get a bit more inventive (and favourable for groups) when it comes to pizzas, with toppings like prosciutto, wagyu bresaola, prawns and ‘nduja making appearances across a few varieties. Oh, and pizzas are available with gluten-free bases for $2 extra, as is vegan mozzarella if you’ve got teammates with dietary needs. Be sure to save room for one of the traditional Italian desserts, too — our pick is the bomboloni. You can BYO to Ladro every day for $15 per bottle. On Mondays, the corkage fee drops to $5 and Ladro donates that to a local charity — not a bad excuse to be out on a school night.

    Pick up a bottle of Barefoot Chardonnay.

    Image: Tracey Ah-kee

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    There’s no shortage of great Lebanese joints around Melbourne, but probably the most well-known is Abla’s, which has been around since 1979. Its namesake and mastermind, Abla Amad, moved from Lebanon in 1954 at the age of 19. Influences from all over Lebanon mean her menu is packed with flavours from many regions and recipes passed down from one generation to the next. Load up on dips, makaneek (spiced lamb sausages), falafel, tabouleh and skewers of succulent grilled meats, then finish up with baklava and turkish delight. You can BYO wine for $10 per bottle from Monday to Thursday.

    Pick up a bottle of Zonin Friuli Pinot Grigio.

    Image: Tracey Ah-kee

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    The Potsticker

    In Melbourne’s southeast, you’ll find a blend of Malaysian, Chinese and Japanese cuisine at The Potsticker. It’s where you can have roasted peking duck in pancakes with nasi goreng or beef potsticker dumplings with black vinegar — or share all of the above. Unsure of where to start? Sign up for one of the banquets (starting at $39.50 per person), which will get you a selection of dishes from across the varied menu. There’s a decent range of vegetarian and gluten-free options on the menu, too. The Caulfield North restaurant is open for lunch (12–3pm) from Wednesday to Sunday, so there are plenty of opportunities to get your whole team out of the office to enjoy a huge selection of dim sum. And BYO a bottle of wine, of course — corkage is $8 per person.

    Pick up a bottle of Brown Brothers Refreshingly Light Sauvignon Blanc.

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    In Carlton, Melbourne’s Italian food hub, Tiamo has been serving pizza, pasta and coffee on Lygon Street for more than four decades. The super-popular family-run venture is cosy and comfortable, despite spilling over into the space next door and upstairs to a second level, making it the perfect spot for a big group affair.

    Take your pick of the two venues — Bistro and Cucino — and settle in for a classic Italian meal featuring antipasto, salads, pasta and simple (but delicious) pizzas. There is also a selection of mains available, ranging from authentically Italian (veal scallopine) to somewhat less so (wiener schnitzel). If you’ve got room for dessert, you can take your pick of cannoli with homemade ricotta, lemon ricotta cheesecake, house-made tiramisu or crepes. Tiamo is open from 7am–11pm every day of the week and you can BYO wine for $5 per bottle.

    Pick up a bottle of Lulu Belle Fleurieu Peninsula Rosé

    Image: Tracey Ah-kee

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Update: Due to the current situation, we understand that going out may not be a possibility right now. Keep this list handy so that, when it’s all over, you can get back out there with your mates (and a bottle) and support these BYO-friendly businesses. In the meantime, check out these venues’ takeaway options and get yourself a bottle to match with BWS online delivery.

Top image: Visit Victoria.

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