If you’re planning on heading to Firelight Festival opening weekend and looking for somewhere nearby for a little foodie indulgence, our guide to dining at Docklands will help. Over the weekend, some venues will be only be taking walk-ins, so call ahead to check.
We can all agree there’s nothing quite like a hearty, warm meal on a cold winter evening. Fill those cravings for warmth and carbs at Cargo, where sharing is caring and comfort food takes on a whole new meaning. The mac and cheese croquettes are a perfect starter to tantalise your taste buds and get you excited for your main. If you’re feeling adventurous, try one of the three delicious paellas, or stick to Aussie classics with the chef’s personal twist, like fish and chips or open souvlaki. You’ll also find some drool-worthy stone-oven pizza offerings, beautiful desserts and a kids’ menu to keep the little ones satisfied. Cargo is not taking reservations for the Firelight Festival weekend – just drop in.
If you’re craving Vietnamese food, head to Banoi. The menu fuses generations of Vietnamese family recipes with Melbourne foodie favourites, dishing up a modern street food. Start your culinary experience with crab and prawn imperial spring rolls, pork and prawn wontons and maple sriracha chicken ribs. Choose one of their speciality dishes as your second course, for a whole new perspective on Vietnamese food. If you’re longing for that always sought after pork crackle, head to the restaurant on a Friday, when the menu offers crispy pork belly in every dish.
Did someone say “dinner with a view”? Berth is located right over the water at New Quay Docklands and offers spectacular city and waterfront views. Your stomach will start rumbling at the very first read of their sophisticated Mediterranean menu. Whatever you choose – you can’t go wrong. Enjoy mezze boards to share for starters, beautiful pastas, risottos and protein dishes and desserts that’ll make you wish you’d worn stretchier pants. You’ll leave with a grin on your face! Berth is not taking reservations for the Firelight Festival weekend – so just drop in.
All meat lovers out there won’t want to skip this one. Does the mere sight of charcuterie make you weak at the knees? It’s time for your mind to be blown. After years of mastering the art of salami making, Saluministi broadened their horizons to deliver other Italian old-school classics – and we’re talking even better than whatever Nonna’s got cooking up in the kitchen. Head down for breakfast or a midday treat. Their paninis and antipasto platter are all delizioso. Buon appetito!
There’s a reason Woolshed is one of Melbourne’s gastronomic pubs of choice. Located in a stunning heritage-listed building, their menu specialises in local produce, aged meats and fresh seafood, with options to suit every taste. On their menu, you’ll find pub favourites with a sophisticated twist, like free range chicken parmigiana with mozzarella, provolone, bacon, tomato, garden salad and rustic fries. Or whole baby snapper, crispy fried with garlic, coriander and chilli sauce. Need more? Try the braised beef cheek with sweet potato purée, sautéed greens, popped vine tomatoes in a red wine jus. If you’re still a bit peckish, or simply can’t put your fork down, try a dessert or finish your meal with a selection of beautiful Australian cheese.
Authentic Australian cuisine galore should probably be Plaform 28‘s slogan – they serve up Aussie classics to satisfy the little vegemites in all of us. From a delightfully filling parma to pan roasted lamb rump or fish and chips, you’ll find a main dish to please everybody. With scrumptious dessert options like sticky date pudding, warm chocolate and hazelnut brownie, a fancy take on strawberries and cream and more, your sweet tooth will be more than content. Don’t forget to pair your dish with something from their extensive wine list.
Although the Squires Loft call themselves “the steak specialists”, we like to call them all-round legends. If you’re looking for some grilling magic, this is the spot for you. All mains are served with your choice of chips or baked potato and are grilled with the chef’s special basting sauce. Desserts include favourites such as sticky date pudding, double chocolate fudge cake and Belgian waffles.
The Hof Downtown
Love a good bratwurst, craving a schnitzel or dying for a schnapps? Head to the Hof Downtown, where traditional Bavarian food awaits with open arms and overflowing bier taps. Bigger appetites can take on their famous crispy pork knuckle served with sauerkraut, mash, pork jus and mustard, or try one of their schnitzels. Beer lovers will relish in the ten imported Bavarian boutique beers on tap and cider drinkers will be quenched with Hof’s apple cider. How do you say “I’ll take one of each”, in German?
Fusing the simplicity of Japanese food with the modern flavours of western cuisine, Kobe Jones is designed to be shared with good friends and family. We suggest you sit back, pick one of the set menus to share, and just wait to be delighted, dish by dish. Start with edamame and a hot mushroom salad, enjoy house-made pork dumplings or a soft shell crab and polish it all off with green tea ice-cream. Not a set-menu kind of person? Pick from a huge range of signature dishes, tasting plates, sashimi, or even try a ‘hotrock’ dish and self-cook it at your table just the way you like it. With picturesque views of the Yarra, it’ll be a night to remember.
Diner, bar and grill, food hall, watering hole, food and dining mecca – however you want to describe it, Hightail is definitely worth a drop in (or a regular weekly visit!). Catering for up to 1000 patrons, this huge space is filled with mountains of tap beer, an extensive wine list and enviable cocktail menu. The food is everything you want it to be – bangers and mash, scotch fillet steak, chargrilled chorizo, jerk chicken and more. You’ll be sure to find your happy place at Hightail (it gets even happier from 3.30pm – 6.30pm weekdays during happy hour). Perfect for an after-work wind-down or long overdue catch ups.
Finally on our tour of Docklands, we take a little detour through Spain to Bar Nacional. Fancy yourself a bit of a grazer? Well this one’s for you. Their tapas menu features beef brisket, calamari and wood roasted octopus. Or try something a little more substantial and go for a traditional paella or whole roasted chicken. It can’t be a Spanish influenced bar without a generous serving of house-made Sangria, or a lovely Spanish red. Not sure what to order? Take the pressure off with the ‘feed me’ menu and let the good stuff come to you!
Head to What’s On Melbourne for even more Docklands dining options.
Can’t make it to Firelight Festival opening weekend but still keen to enjoy some of the fiery festivities? There are plenty of foodie events happening in Docklands throughout winter including progressive dinners, long table dinners and more.