Now Open: ANTARA 128 Has Arrived in Melbourne's CBD with a Rule-Bending Bakery and a Lavish All-Day Eatery
The long-awaited arrival of ANTARA 128 is finally here — and it stars artisanal bakery goods and a contemporary Australian take on European-centric dishes.
October 18, 2023
This dough-fuelled Melbourne project has been baking in the oven for a while — and has now finally risen to perfection. Since Tuesday, October 17, ANTARA 128 is dishing out an array of tempting baked goods and woodfired plates to citygoers on Exhibition Street.
While much has changed since news first dropped about the venue's arrival — with Head Chef Allan Doert-Eccles (ex-Gimlet, Embla and Lesa) now leading the charge alongside Head Baker Didiet Radityawan (ex-Vue de Monde, Cobb Lane, Penny for Pound and STREA) — what has not changed is the bakery and all-day eatery's commitment to a bountiful supply of baked goods and carefully crafted dishes that stray from tradition.
The star-studded team behind ANTARA 128 also consists of baker Michael James (ex-Tivoli Road, Bourke St Bakery, Baker D. Chirico and MoVida) and Group Development Chef Joel Alderson (ex-Attica, Stellar, Paringa Estate and more).
Thanks to Kerstin Thompson Architecture, the bakery's fitout takes a sophisticated approach, as centred around creating a viewing space for guests. The mezzanine features contemporary stone benches, plus a glass-front room where you can enjoy the baking process in full. As you wait, expect scenes of chefs and bakers preparing menu items, with some hitting the woodfired oven and others in the laminating stage.
The accompanying eating house goes with elegant, earthy interiors paired with timber furniture, dark green drapery and high ceilings.
ANTARA 128's menu — described as "Melbourne" by Doert-Eccles — stars artisan-crafted baked goods and produce-forward dishes that draw inspiration from its locality — but don't just do the usual. During the day, you'll stumble across a selection of seasonal viennoiseries alongside a rotating menu of varying bread loaves. The crowd favourite is the city loaf, which caters for one to two people and is made with local Victorian flours.
Plus, there are also breakfast and brunch options to choose from, including several egg options, fruit-topped coconut yoghurt, and a vegetable plate paired with cheddar custard and braised onions — all of which showcase European-centric dishes with a modern Australian twist.
For those dining at the all-day eatery, this theme continues. While a woodfired selection and wholefood goods feature heavily, each dish benefits from a ANTARA 128 twist. Take your pick from snacks like the anchovy twist with miso cheddar onion, and sides such as the sugarloaf cabbage with fermented cream and mushroom oil.
Or, opt for heftier selections like the stone-ground conchiglie with roasted duck and a mushroom broth, or the slow-roasted and generously glazed wagyu short rib.
To top it off, bakery staples make an appearance on the eatery's menu. Sourdough in particular features creatively — infused into the ice cream paired with the woodroasted apple tart, for instance — and is also used to thicken sauces and in miso.
Find ANTARA 128 at 128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne — with the bakery open from 8am–2pm Sunday–Monday, 7.30am–5.30pm Tuesday–Friday and 8am–5.30pm Saturdays, and restaurant breakfast service from 7.30am–11am Tuesday–Saturday, lunch from 12–3pm Tuesday–Saturday and dinner from 5.30–10pm Tuesday–Saturday.
Images: Chris McConville and Haydn Cattach.
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