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Every New Melbourne Bar and Restaurant Opening to Look Forward to

From coastal pubs to inner-city Italian joints, these are the soon-to-launch spots that deserve a place on your to-do list.
By Libby Curran
November 03, 2021
By Libby Curran
November 03, 2021


From coastal pubs to inner-city Italian joints, these are the soon-to-launch spots that deserve a place on your to-do list.

While it feels like much of your year has been spent cooped up at home and dining in instead of out, a bunch of local and interstate names have been busy plotting and planning; cooking up their next big hospitality ventures to join Melbourne's celebrated food scene.

And trust us — there's a lot to look forward to.

From a world-class vegan dining hub courtesy of the unstoppable Shannon Martinez, to multimillion-dollar coastal pub makeovers and inner-city Italian haunts, we've pulled together some of the tastiest openings coming soon to Melbourne.

Get excited for these new restaurants, bars and pubs, all very deserving of a spot on your must-visit list.

  • 9

    From the mind of Chris Lucas (Chin Chin, Hawker Hall, Kisume) comes soon-to-launch 80 Collins Street venture, Yakimono — a two-storey Japanese diner with a street food menu fuelled by fire. An ode to the late-night izakayas of Tokyo, it’s serving a fresh riff on Japanese street eats, in an edgy, futuristic space.

    Head Chef, Huxtaburger‘s Daniel Wilson, will be plating up an adventurous offering, with bites like spicy beef tartare, whole miso-glazed chook, curried sweet potato gyoza with miso apple yoghurt, and skewers of wagyu beef intercostal in a smoky soy glaze.

    Meanwhile, the bar has both beers and wines on tap, alongside a selection of bottled vino, sake and Japanese-accented cocktails.

    Image: Tom Blachford

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  • 8

    In the former Bimbo digs, Australian Venue Co (Fargo and Co, State of Grace, The Smith) is launching Kewpie — a laidback neighbourhood boozer with cheap pizza and a weekly roster of DJ parties. Low booths are spread across the spacious ground-floor rooms, and a sunny bar and terrace offers prime position on the rooftop.

    An affordable offering of pizza and snacks mostly clocks in at $5. You’ll find a caramelised onion and potato number ($5), the Mexican-inspired Poncho topped with corn chips and jalapenos ($5), and a garlicky marinara creation starring calamari, prawns and capers ($8).

    The bar’s set to sling a simple mix of crowd-pleasing brews, craft tins, wines and classic cocktails, while a slew of music-focused happenings will run Thursday to Sunday.

    Top Images: Kate Shanasy

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  • 7

    Replacing CBD institution Ezard, is the first Melbourne outpost of Sydney’s much-loved Mediterranean restaurant Nomad. The Adelphi Hotel’s lower ground floor has been reborn as a new 100-seat southern iteration, replicating the ethos of the original via a new menu celebrating local produce.

    Head Chef Brendan Katich (Gingerboy, Ezard) leads a signature offering, centred around house-made cheese and charcuterie, and the kitchen’s wood-fired oven. Fans will find just a handful of menu mainstays, backed by a lineup of brand new dishes, with plenty of locally-sourced meat and veggies cooked over flames among the mix.

    Homegrown drops headline the wine list, with Victorian wineries and smaller producers given lots of love, and an extensive all-Aussie pouring list to rotate regularly.

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  • 6

    Joe Vargetto (Mister Bianco, Massi) and good mate Maurice Terzini (Sydney’s Icebergs Dining Room and Bar and CicciaBella) have teamed up for a new joint venture, reimagining Vargetto’s existing venue Massi as a cosy Italo-Aus diner. It’ll be a little bit punk and, as the name suggests, built on a simple ‘less is more’ approach to cooking.

    Cucina Povera is set to champion simplicity from its food right through to its styling — complete with a minimalist makeover by multi-disciplinary firm Latitude and sonic stylings from Mike Simonetti (techno label Pale Blue).

    A simple menu will showcase a modern interpretation of Italian peasant food, while a short, sharp drinks offering will feature around eight wines sourced hyper-locally and served by the carafe.

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  • 5

    Piccolina‘s spacious new Glenferrie Road flagship is set to serve up a subtly refreshed spin on the gelato brand’s usual concept. It’ll be scooping that full range of all-natural gelato, from crowd favourites to limited-edition varieties. A new series of special releases will also launch to coincide with the opening.

    The shop’s aesthetic comes courtesy of a collaboration with Hecker Guthrie and Projects of Imagination, though this time with a few considered tweaks to the chain’s signature stylings. There’ll be a tap pouring Piccolina’s warm homemade Better Than Nutella sauce, a machine churning out freshly whipped cream and a giant double-doored freezer to house the signature gelato cakes.

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  • 4

    Iconic plant-based venues Smith & Daughters and Smith & Deli are moving in together, into a huge new Collingwood home. The combined offering will span across a 500-square-metre ground floor site on Cambridge Street, encompassing a deli-cafeteria, restaurant and food store. Once complete, it’s set to be one of the largest vegan dining hubs in the world.

    Expect a Euro-inspired deli slinging grab-and-go eats and pantry items; a cafeteria-style eatery complete with vegan carvery and a daily-changing deli plate offering; and an 80-seat restaurant with a seasonal Mediterranean-accented menu and an aesthetic inspired by Vivienne Westwood.

    Top Images: Ashley Ludkin

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  • 3

    Renowned chef Scott Pickett (Estelle, Matilda, Pastore) is transforming his former Italian restaurant Lupo into the Parisian-inspired Smith St Bistrot.

    With Daniel Southern (Bar Margaux, Vue Group) as Head Chef, it’ll showcase classic French flavours across dishes like tuna tartare with pommes gaufrette, a chicken and tarragon fricassee, lobster thermidor and creme caramel.

    A matching wine offering favours local and international winemakers taking a hands-off approach to their art, all served in a gothic-meets-art-deco space by Anthology Studio’s Sarah Townson.

    Images: Alex Squadrito

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  • 2

    Opening in a 2000-square-metre Preston warehouse this summer, is this ‘all-in-one leisure centre’ complete with a reimagined vintage bowling alley, arcade, bar, bistro and beer garden.

    Its main persona is a retro bowling alley reimagined for the modern-day bowler, featuring twelve maple timber bowling lanes alongside retro arcade games, pool tables and a state-of-the-art sound system. The space also boasts a fireside lounge area, dance floor, dining zone, bar and a roomy beer garden with capacity for 450 punters all up.

    Across three separate bars, a hefty 48 taps will be largely championing local brewing mates, not to mention Big Lebowski-style White Russians. And the kitchen will be fuelling nostalgia further with a menu of revamped classics, pub favourites and New York-style pizzas.

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  • 1

    The multimillion-dollar redevelopment of Sorrento’s historic Continental Hotel will see the 145-year-old heritage building reopening in early 2022 complete with a multi-faceted hospitality offering headed up by renowned chef Scott Pickett (Estelle, Matilda) and publican Craig Shearer (North Fitzroy’s Terminus, The Plough in South Brisbane).

    Expect a slew of food and drink venues, such as the pub’s main restaurant — named Audrey’s, after Pickett’s grandmother and cooking muse — along with a public bar and beer garden, a late-night venue, poolside and in-room dining, and a rooftop deck. The lineup will range from upscale degustation menus through to casual pub fare, with an expected capacity of 5000 diners across the whole multi-venue site.

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Top Image: Yakimono, by Tom Blachford

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