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FOOD & DRINK

Eight Melbourne Restaurants Open for Christmas Lunch If You're Not in the Mood to Cook

Food and festivities sorted, zero kitchen mess to deal with.
By Libby Curran
December 15, 2020
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By Libby Curran
December 15, 2020
  shares

Whether you're separated from the usual family crew, or simply weary after months of home-cooking and washing up, the restaurant Christmas lunch looks set to be more popular than ever this year. And no matter what sort of festive menu you're craving, Melbourne's dishing up a decadent December 25 feed to suit. Settle into a fine dining feast spiked with Southeast Asian touches, book a contemporary Cantonese spread complete with five-spice Christmas pud, or even enjoy a coastal-inspired Aussie seafood lunch overlooking the water. Food and festivities sorted, zero kitchen mess to deal with. Here are eight Christmas lunch situations you can book right now in Melbourne.

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CHIN CHIN, CBD

This year, for the first time ever, you can book yourself in for Christmas lunch at legendary Flinders Lane restaurant Chin Chin. The kitchen is putting a modern Southeast Asian spin on the traditional December 25 feast, across two limited lunch sittings, with bookings available for tables of between two and 14. And you'd best wear your stretchiest pants. For $175, you will get a generous parade of dishes with those classic Chin Chin flavours, including coconut- and fennel-glazed ham served with savoury pancakes, red curry rotisserie chook with Thai basil, and a prawn and Moreton Bay bug stir-fry laced with 'hellfire' chilli oil. There's even a reimagined Christmas pud, paired with a boozy coconut whiskey custard.

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STATE OF GRACE, CBD

For a modern twist on some of those familiar Christmas flavours, book yourself in for a festive lunch at State of Grace. On December 25, the venue's putting on an indulgent four-course sharing menu, with sittings available at either 11.30am or 2pm. Part with $120 and you'll find yourself feasting on the likes of house-cured ham served with cheddar, piccalilli and clove lavosh; turkey ballotine featuring sour cherries and a roast chicken sauce; hot smoked salmon; and crunchy duck fat spuds. Christmas pudding and brandy snaps star come dessert time, and you'll get a glass of sparkling on arrival, with further drinks available to add on.

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NORTHSIDE WINES, NORTHCOTE

This neighbourhood restaurant, bar and wine garden won itself plenty of fans during lockdown and it's sure to gain even more with the family-style festive feast it's got planned for Christmas Day. With sittings at noon and 3.30pm, this one will set you back $150 ($45 for kids under 12), for a four-course menu filled with classic Aussie Christmas flavours. Think, goat's cheese tarts, loaded seafood platters with house-made thousand island dressing, roast turkey matched with a cranberry and native currant sauce, and mulled spice ham finished with tamarind gravy. You'll enjoy Christmas pudding and a vegan-friendly pavlova for dessert, a complimentary drink on arrival, plus access to a swag of great wine specials to pair with your lunch.

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SUNDA AT THE WINDSOR

Sunda is famed for its inventive, Aussie-accented riff on Southeast Asian fare and that's exactly what you're in for when the restaurant takes over The Windsor for Christmas lunch with a modern, fine dining twist. Chef Khanh Nguyen has put together a luxe six-course (15-dish) tasting menu matched with free-flowing drinks for $388, to enjoy either in One Eleven restaurant or the Grand Ballroom. You'll experience the classics, reimagined — tradition-bucking dishes like a revamped prawn cocktail featuring red curry marie rose sauce, glazed ham matched with pineapple and ginger flower, and turkey done with lemon aspen and coconut sambal. Settling in is encouraged — they're recommending you leave yourself a good three hours to tackle this feast.

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ARBORY AFLOAT, CBD

Spend Christmas Day right on the Yarra, tucking into Arbory Afloat's gin-matched four-course feast. The floating bar is teaming up with award-winning distillery Four Pillars to deliver a chic coastal-inspired spread, with three-hour sittings available from 11.30am to 9pm. You can look forward to the likes of woodfired pizzas, an array of chilled seafood, roast snapper and a pavlova with Four Pillars Christmas Gin custard. Your $250 ticket will also get you two hours of free-flowing beer, wine and bubbles, as well as a beautifully garnished gin and tonic, a White Christmas Negroni and a gin spritz. Prefer to stick to dry land? Neighbouring Arbory Bar & Eatery is dishing up a similar offering, though with three courses and drinks clocking in at $196.

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JIYU THAI HOT POT, CBD

If you fancy breaking free from Aussie Christmas Day tradition, you'll find a worthy feasting situation awaits at JiYu Thai Hot Pot. The Chinatown restaurant is open right through the festive season, serving up authentic Thai flavours and a glorious amount of fresh seafood, across a variety of share-friendly hot pot options and banquet menus. Christmas lunch here might see you digging into the likes of prawn pancakes and green papaya salad, followed by big serves of tom yum broth loaded with your pick of meat, seafood, noodles and fresh veggies. There's even a lineup of lively cocktails, like the Mermaid & Fisherman — a refreshing blend of vodka, lychee, cucumber and rosewater.

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Simon Shiff.

MYA TIGER, ST KILDA

Christmas lunch gets a modern Cantonese twist, courtesy of The Espy's upstairs restaurant Mya Tiger. Here, you can soak up those dreamy bayside vistas (and conveniently avoid washing up duties) while enjoying on a special festive menu featuring the likes of char siu-glazed ham, Cantonese-style roast duck pancakes and san choy bao done with Queensland tropical crayfish. You'll even enjoy a reworking of the classic Christmas pudding, infused with Chinese five-spice. Coming in at $190, the banquet also includes three hours of beer and wine, along with a glass of bubbly on arrival to get you in the festive spirit.
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SHARK FIN INN, CBD

If a hearty yum cha spread sounds like your kind of Christmas Day vibe, you'll find yourself in good hands at Chinatown favourite Shark Fin Inn. Come December 25, the long-running restaurant will be dishing up a classic dim sum banquet, as well as its signature yum cha offering, featuring a barbecue-themed lineup of all-you-can-eat plates. Sittings for the latter run for 75 minutes, from 12.15pm and 1.45pm. And, clocking in at just $46, it's undoubtedly of the more affordable Yuletide feasts on offer in Melbourne on the big day. See if you can nab a table in Shark Fin Inn's new streetside dining space.

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Top image: Arbory Afloat by Simon Shiff

Published on December 15, 2020 by Libby Curran

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