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FOOD & DRINK

A Rundown of All the Things You Can Eat at Melbourne CBD's New Food Precinct Ella

Korean-style fried chicken burgers, Nepalese dumplings, organic Israeli feasts — it's a lot.
By Julia Sansone
August 21, 2019
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A Rundown of All the Things You Can Eat at Melbourne CBD's New Food Precinct Ella

Korean-style fried chicken burgers, Nepalese dumplings, organic Israeli feasts — it's a lot.
By Julia Sansone
August 21, 2019
  shares

Gone are the days of walking around an uninspiring food court on your lunch break deciding what to eat. Now, CBD workers have Ella.

Located on the corner of Elizabeth and La Trobe streets, the sleek new food precinct opened its doors in May. In it, you'll find some of the cities most-loved eateries tucked away in the laneway setting.

Here, you can find Korean-style fried chicken, Nepalese dumplings, Chinese skewered meats and Israeli feasts. It's a veritable melting pot of cuisines. And it's not done yet, either. The bustling food precinct is welcoming more even vendors to the family in the upcoming months.

To help make your lunchtime (or post-work snack time) decision a little easier, here are our top picks for a guaranteed good feed at Ella.

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Julia Sansone

LOMAH

Described as fast food for slow living, Lomah works exclusively with organic suppliers to offer Israeli eats with a modern spin. Think falafel pitas ($12) and delicious trays of meats ($16), eggplant ($14) and hummus to feast on — while knowing the produce you're eating has come straight from the farm. With a selection of beers, wine and kombucha at the bar, this new spot by young gun chef Charlie Carrington (of South Yarra's hatted Atlas Dining) is the perfect destination for a post-work (or uni class) meal.

Open: 10am–10pm

What to order: Shaved lamb tray (with grilled vegetables, couscous salad, tabouli, hummus and more)

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Julia Sansone

PICK-A-STICK

If you're passing through Ella and need a quick fix before the train ride home, this Beijing-style eatery has got you sorted. The hole-in-the-wall is serving what's known as shao kao, an array of meats, seafood and vegetables skewered onto sticks. Here, these skewers ($2.80 each) are cooked to order (grilled or deep fried) and seasoned with a tastebud-tingling spice mix. Order a side of Crazy Potato Chips to go with it for a great snack on the go.

Open: 10am–10pm

What to order: Skewers and Crazy Potato Chips

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Julia Sansone

CHILLI EVEREST

Chilli Everest is serving up delicious Nepalese feasts. It has everything from handmade Nepalese dumplings (momos, $11.90) and lentil pizzas ($12.95) to rich curries on the menu. If you're hungry order the Thakali Khana Set ($14.95), it comes with rice, daal, pickles, papadum and curry in your choice of veg, chicken or goat — a Nepalese speciality. Short on time? Try a chatpat ($8.95): a popular snack among Nepalese locals, which combines puffed rice, ground spices and tangy masala.

Open: 11.30am–9.30pm

What to order: Momos and Thakali Khana Set

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Julia Sansone

SON IN LAW (THE PAD)

While the Collingwood establishment is known for colourful creations like fairy floss drinks and bao almost too cute to eat, Son In Law's new CBD sister specialises in the much-loved pad thai. You start with signature noodle dish (for $9.90), choose the spice level (mild to very hot) and can add on your favourite protein — tiger prawns ($4), pork belly ($5), soft shell crab ($4). If you'd like to make it even fancier, you can mix up the noodles with options like riceberry and butterfly pea. Elsewhere on the menu, you'll find gua bao ($6.50 or three for $17) — they're fluffy and packed with the likes of roasted duck, crispy pork belly or crispy black sesame tofu.

Open: 10am–1opm

What to order: Pad thai

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Julia Sansone

SAM SAM

Korean-style fried chicken and cold beer continues to be a hot combination with Sam Sam bringing its flavour-packed menu of the two favourites to the Ella party. Order a tray of boneless chicken ($18–33) glazed in one of six sauces — including sweet chilli, snowing cheese and lemon mayonnaise — or a bibimbap bowl ($12.80) loaded with rice, kimchi and veggies for vitamin-packed lunch. The Sam Sam Chicken Burger ($12.80) loaded with a crispy schnitzel, spicy mayo and crispy red cabbage is a sure-fire hit for the extra hungry.

Open: 10am–10pm

What to eat: Sam Sam chicken burger 

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REVERIE

A dessert bar and cafe by acclaimed French pastry chef Pierrick Boyer, Reverie is open for breakfast, lunch and afternoon pick-me-ups seven days a week. On the savoury front, it has smashed avo ($16.50), confit duck toastie ($17.50) and wagyu katsu burgers ($19.50). In terms of sweets, you'll find all of Boyer's signature cakes, such as the Charlotte Tiffany (filled with dark chocolate an jelly jam) and Hazelnut Soft & Crunchy (with hazelnut dacquoise, praline and chocolate chantilly).

Open: Monday–Friday 8am–6pm and Saturday–Sunday 10am–4pm

What to order: Hazelnut Soft & Crunchy

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Blackhearts and Sparrow

STAY TUNED...

Opening this spring is Byrdi, a much-anticipated cocktail bar run by famed bartender Luke Whearty (of Singapore's award-winning Operation Dagger). Expect creations like a fermented, fortified smoked pear and wattleseed negroni to feature on the menu. In terms of booze-slinging establishments, it'll join the already open independent wine, beer and cider store Blackhearts and Sparrows.

Both a new hospitality and entertainment centre for the city, Ella will also be bringing Melbourne's two other favourite activities to the table: music and art. Live music will pop-up several times a week — showcasing both emerging and established artists — and there'll be regularly changing art spaces and installations. A feast for all the senses.

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Ella is now open at the corner of Elizabeth and La Trobe streets. Opening hours are 10am–10pm daily. To check individual restaurant's opening hours, head to the website.

Images: Julia Sansone

Published on August 21, 2019 by Julia Sansone

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