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Half Acre

A dilapidated mill that's been transformed into a top-notch wining, dining and partying destination.
By Libby Curran
October 16, 2018
By Libby Curran
October 16, 2018

You've got a new reason to venture into the backstreets of South Melbourne, now the ever-evolving, multi-faceted Half Acre has opened its doors to the public.

Named after the impressive size of the inner-city block of land it calls home, the new venue sits in the site of a former mill. Here, hospitality veterans Adam Wright-Smith (ex-Fat Radish, Silkstone NYC), Leigh Worcester and Asaf Smoli (of catering company food&desire) have transformed an unloved industrial site into an inviting assembly of indoor and outdoor spaces, that we're forecasting will get a serious workout in the months to come.

Across its two buildings, it has an events space, bar and all-day eatery — and it's a design lover's dream. Modern design blends effortlessly with nods to the past, exposed brick and reclaimed timber complemented by contemporary finishes, including handmade light fittings by the likes of Henry Wilson and Anna Charlesworth. A lofty events space breathes new life into the former mill, all stained timber ceilings and exposed beams, linking through to an open courtyard and the intimate front bar. Considering it's in South Melbourne, inside, it feels surprisingly secluded.

At the site's heart, a greenhouse-inspired space holds the open kitchen and restaurant, where Head Chef Eitan Doron is turning out a share-friendly offering that slips easily from lunchtime to night. Expect fare that's approachable, yet elegant, in dishes like whole roasted cauliflower with dukkah and tahini, roasted pumpkin flavoured with blood orange and thyme, grilled king prawns with harissa oil, and a vanilla flan teamed with elderflower jam and almond tuile.

A range of pizzas and house-made breads sail from the custom wood-fire oven, and you can watch (and smell) it all being baked from the comfort of your table.

Imagery: Tom Ross

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