A modern Chinese diner from the Hanoi Hannah crew, housed in a two-level, heritage-listed art deco building.
Libby Curran and Gary Brun
Published on June 01, 2023
Updated on July 18, 2023


The Commune Group has proved it's got the goods when it comes to contemporary Vietnamese and Japanese flavours — see Tokyo Tina, the Hanoi Hannah stable and Firebird. But the team has crossed the continent and embraced a modern Chinese angle for its Balaclava venture, Moonhouse.

Residing in the heritage-listed art deco building formerly home to Ilona Staller, the 110-seater boasts a sophisticated look by renowned studio Ewert Leaf. Heritage features have been carefully refurbished, now complemented by colourful onyx marble counters, custom vinyl tabletops and pendant lights hung like tiny lunar spheres. An upper level houses a 30-seat private dining room, alongside a separate cocktail bar complete with roaring fireplace.

Moonhouse - Chinese restaurant in Melbourne

The kitchen's playing to Melbourne culinary nostalgia by dishing up a contemporary reworking of some classic Chinese flavours — think, a roast duck pancakes, braised beef cheek in black bean sauce and lamb shoulder with spring onion pancake and black vinegar. The roasted duck pancake with peach hoisin and plum salt is the main event here. 

Moonhouse - Chinese restaurant in Melbourne

And expect to finish your meal at Moonhouse on a high note — perhaps with the five spiced pear tarte satin with black pepper ice cream. 

The mindfully-sourced, all-Aussie wine list is a standout, as the martini bar menu with Melbourne's dirtiest martini a surefire way to spark conversation.

Moonhouse - Chinese restaurant in Melbourne

Images: Parker Blain, Jana Langhorst and Leah Traecey.


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