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The Royal Botanic Gardens' Newly Transformed Cafe and Events Space Opens This Weekend

Launching December 17, Darling Group's latest hospitality project is a leafy wonder, serving elevated brunch classics and a swag of picnic-friendly takeaway fare.
By Libby Curran
December 14, 2022
By Libby Curran
December 14, 2022

With a (hopefully) balmy few months of summer stretched out ahead of us, Melbourne's just scored a blissful new spot for those sun-drenched brunch sessions and pre-picnic pit-stops. Or at least, a new 'old' spot. Darling Group (Higher Ground, Kettle Black, Stringers) has been busy transforming the Royal Botanic Gardens' iconic lakeside venue into their latest project, the Terrace Cafe — and it officially opens its doors this Saturday, December 17.

Surrounded by greenery, the team's all-day cafe and adjoining event space have been designed in a nod to their lush outlook, with interiors by Technē featuring plenty of botanical references throughout. The 234-seat Terrace Cafe sports a palette of natural hues, with terrazzo-topped benches and an idyllic al fresco area spilling out amongst the gardens.

Elevated classics drive the conservatory-inspired cafe's food offering, starring produce-led options like Turkish eggs with roast chorizo, tahini yoghurt and an aleppo pepper dressing; an avocado tartine (French-style open sandwich) and sumac-dressed fattoush salad with toasted pita.

You can aim a little less green with likes of the cheeseburger and fries, and chilli-scrambled eggs atop house-made ciabatta. Or perhaps the homemade scones — a nod to a much-loved offering from the site's previous life. Meanwhile, Darling Group's signature coffee blend will star on the cafe's broad-ranging drinks list, with two coffee carts soon set to take up residence at Gates A and D of the Gardens for customers on the go.

Of course, this is prime picnic turf and the Terrace Cafe's expansive grab-and-go lineup makes for an enviable rug set-up. Choose from the likes of loaded baguettes, pinsa romana (a style of fermented-dough pizza) and pastries, or a Terrace-To-Go box containing your choice of sandwich or salad, a juice and a sweet treat.

Then, there's function venue The Terrace, where Technē's vision of gold detailing and polished concrete will play the backdrop to private shindigs and soirees of up to 300 guests (or 150 seated), overlooking the Ornamental Lake. It's an impressive space, complete with huge central skylight, a 10-metre-long bar of two-toned marble and a similarly leafy outlook to its next-door sibling.

Find the Terrace Cafe and The Terrace at Royal Botanic Gardens, Alexandra Avenue and Anderson Street, Melbourne (best entry is via Gate A). The cafe will open daily from 8am–4pm.

Images: Griffin Simm

Published on December 14, 2022 by Libby Curran
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