The Playmaker
Let's play
  • It's Friday
    What day is it?
  • Now
    What time is it?
  • Anywhere in Melbourne
    Where are you?
  • What do you feel like?
    What do you feel like?
  • And what else?
    And what else?
By Concrete Playground
December 08, 2016

Melbourne's Best New Restaurants of 2016

Honouring the best new arrivals on Melbourne's restaurant scene this year.
By Concrete Playground
December 08, 2016


Honouring the best new arrivals on Melbourne's restaurant scene this year.

It goes without saying, Melbourne's characteristically buzzing cultural ecosystem has thrived this year, with the city's most innovative, forward-thinking residents taking bold risks in their field. More inventive, forward-thinking and experimental than ever, Melbourne's newest restaurants have defied traditional fine dining, turning small dinner clubs into full-blown establishments, reexamining degustation formats and prolifically pedestalling barbecue.

At Concrete Playground we encourage exploration and showcase innovation in our city every day, so we thought it fitting to reward those most talented whippersnappers pushing Melbourne to be a better, braver city. And so, these six new restaurants, opened in 2016, have been nominated for Best New Restaurant in Concrete Playground's Best of 2016 Awards.

Vote for your favourite.

  • 6
    Nora - CLOSED

    Up until recently, Nora was a tiny, immaculate cafe in Carlton — from the outside, it looks like an art gallery. The white walls and simple furnishings faded into the calm ambiance and an arrangement of fresh flowers and raw ingredients that sat on a large dining table in the centre of the space. Co-owner and head chef Sarin Rojanametin comes from a photography and advertising background — and it certainly shows.

    Nora has a reputation among those in the know for being off-centre — as evidenced by the experimental Thai breakfast and lunch menu that earned them big ups in Melbourne’s food scene. But it seems they reached the creative boundaries of what can be achieved with a daytime menu. So they’ve packed it in and reopened as a degustation restaurant. “It’s Nora the nighttime girl now,” Sarin says. “We started a thing called Small Dinner Club, which was a Friday night event that stemmed from the frustration of the inability to create more.” The idea behind the dining club has now taken over, and the Nora team is unleashing their creativity over five courses every Thursday to Monday.

    Vote for Nora.


  • 5

    The team behind Peter Gunn’s new restaurant IDES must be really organised. Or really lucky. Or both. The ambitious new venue opened at the same time as the Ides of March — and while it was a disastrous time for Caesar, it’s proven to be rather fortuitous for the ex-Attica chef.

    Gunn, who’s spent the last five years as a sous chef under the legendary Ben Shewry at Attica, is striking out on his own with his new Collingwood restaurant with seating for just 36 lucky guests. But it’s not exactly a big risk for him, as Melburnians have been keen on what he’s got since 2013. Gunn’s already put in the leg work for IDES via his monthly pop-up dinners at Persillade that he organised while working in the kitchen at Attica (kind makes you feel guilty about lazily ordering takeaway, doesn’t it?). The dinners were always booked out months in advance, and his first permanent restaurant has been just as busy.

    Vote for IDES.

  • 4

    Madja and Nedim Rahmanovic have had us all on tenterhooks for the last nine months. In May last year they sadly announced their departure from North Melbourne’s Twenty & Six and tantalised us with talk of a new venue, ambiguously named Host. It may have taken a bit longer than anticipated, but the couple’s second Melbourne venture is finally up and running.

    Now open Saxon Street, Brunswick, Host runs on a five-day schedule. You’ll be able to sit down for dinner between Wednesday and Sunday, and lunch on Friday, Saturday and Sunday as well. The focus — and the major point of difference between Host and Twenty & Six — is on more sophisticated nighttime service. The mode of the venue is reflected in the name — a focus on hosting, hearth and home.

    Vote for Host.

  • 3
    Copper Pot Seddon

    It’s a self-described road trip across Europe. A celebration of the unusual and unexpected in cuisine, technique and style. On paper, everything about executive chef Ashley Davis’ Seddon restaurant Copper Pot shouldn’t work. Instead, the chef — who’s previously been awarded two Michelin stars while heading the kitchen at London’s Hélène Darroze — proves again why he, his team and menu are worthy of award.

    The Copper Pot team show a real dedication and belief in their cause. If the produce is not ready to come out of the ground, then they will not use it. You should expect the menu to be malleable as a result, and there’s an emphasis on local and gathered ingredients. Copper Pot Seddon is also delightfully unpretentious. The feeling throughout is cosy, and their passionate staff only help to complete the experience.

    Vote for Copper Pot Seddon.

  • 2
    Ôter - CLOSED

    Having trained under the likes of Alain Ducasse and Joël Robuchon, and honed his craft in the kitchens at Pei Modern and Vue de Monde, there was never any doubt that chef Florent Gerardin was going to bring something special to Ôter on Flinders Lane.

    The latest venture from Kate and Mykal Bartholomew of Coda and Tonka fame, this basement eatery serves up high-end French cuisine with just a hint of Japanese. The spanner crab, for example, is served with confit tomato and kombu, while the tête de veau (whole veal head) is finished on a teppanyaki grill. As for wine, you’re in good hands with sommelier Jordan Marr, who pulls his stock from the cellars of small but reliable French producers.

    Vote for Ôter.

  • 1
    Up in Smoke

    If you thought that Melbourne was anywhere close to smokehouse saturation point, you were wrong. The barbecue trend continues in all its meaty glory, with the latest addition drawing carnivorous punters even further west, to Footscray.

    Up in Smoke is the new venture from 8bit‘s Shayne McCallum. Having conquered the tastebuds of this burgeoning foodie suburb with drool-worthy burgers, he’s now decked out a prominent industrial space on Hopkins Street, stuck in a huge Yoder Frontiersman smoker and is serving up the smoky spoils nightly, from 5pm until they run out.

    Vote for Up in Smoke.

  •   shares
Tap and select Add to Home Screen to access Concrete Playground easily next time. x