If ‘all the world’s a stage’ in Melbourne, then the restaurants of our city are the perfect ensemble cast. With the winter chill increasing, it’s the perfect time to head indoors for some theatre, but first – food.
Wizard of Oz
Don your finest ruby slippers and gather your tribe as Anthony Warlow returns in Andrew Lloyd Webber’s London Palladium production of Wizard of Oz, at the Regent Theatre until 15 July. A revision of the classic screenplay with all the classic tunes, plus a few new surprises, you’ll be humming the tunes and clicking your heels the whole night long. But a night at the theatre isn’t complete without pre-show dining – check out these foodie gems nearby.
For pre-show food, there’s no place like…. Locanda. Try their specially designed pre-theatre menu, offering two or three courses. For the carnivores, try the 300g Angus steak, or go for a hearty homemade ravioli – their menu features the best local Victorian and Australian produce. Locanda’s dramatic design and décor will rival any on-stage production – step inside and you’ll know you’re not in Kansas anymore.
Oysters, steak frites and fromage, oh my! For classic Parisian pre-theatre fare, head to Entrecote Steakhouse and Café. Their signature dish is beautiful Cape Grim pasture fed beef, served with bottomless frites and a petit salad. You’ll think you’ve just walked over the rainbow and landed on a pot of gold!
St Petersburg Ballet Theatre presents the classic tale of Swan Lake. It’s the first time in 65 years that a traditional classical production of the world’s most loved and beautiful ballet has been seen at the Princess Theatre. Get wrapped up in the story of Prince Siegfried and Princess Odette, who has fallen under the spell of an evil wizard. Wrapped in Tchaikovsky’s glorious music, experience this unforgettable production of classical Russian ballet, on now until 28 June.
For a real indulgent start (or end) to your night at the ballet, swan into Siglo. With amazing views of Parliament, St Patrick’s Cathedral spire and the muralled brickwork of Princess Theatre, you almost won’t want to go to the show. Enjoy a glass of champagne and bar snacks, or really raise the barre with a Cuban cigar. With an enviable drinks menu and shareable bar snacks, it’s the perfect pre-theatre indulgence.
Take a culinary tour of Asia in the theatre district of Melbourne, at Red Spice QV. Their menu is bursting with flavours from Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, China, Burma, Laos and more. Located in QV, parking is easy and it’s just a short walk to the theatre. Whether you’re after a quick bite, a bar snack or a full-on feast, the food and experience at Red Spice QV is definitely en pointe.
Beautiful: The Carole King Musical
There are only a few weeks remaining of Beautiful: The Carole King Musical, on at Her Majesty’s Theatre until 30 June. Beautiful tells the true story of King’s journey from school-girl to superstar, and how her music ended up becoming the soundtrack to a generation. Improvising before the show and not sure where to head? These nearby restaurants are sure to wow the crowd.
For next level pizza, we can’t go past Tazio, a two-storey, 240 seat Italian pizzeria. If you’re after something a little lighter, go for the antipasto platter with cured meats, or marinated olives with Persian fetta. The team at Tazio are well known for their pre-theatre dinners and staff are happy to cater to any time constraints if you’re in a hurry.
In the heart of the theatre precinct lies Mezzo, a traditional Italian restaurant and bar. The express pre-theatre lunch runs from Wednesday to Friday, or dinner from Monday to Saturday. But if nothing tickles your fancy on the pre-theatre menu, the full menu is always available and full of classic Italian fare. They’ll cater to any time restrictions, but be sure to squeeze in enough time for a tiramisu. Beautiful!
Known for their sharing dishes, Gingerboy meals are inspired by the vibrant flavours, fun and colour of street kitchens and hawker markets across South-east Asia. Not sure what to order? Tell your waiter to ‘feed me’ and they’ll sort you out. Or head on upstairs for pre-theatre snacks, cocktails and people watching before the show.
The Ideal Husband
For a change of pace and a good injection of humour, Oscar Wilde’s The Ideal Husband, is on at Arts Centre Melbourne from 16 June to 18 August. Starring Gina Riley (of Kath and Kim fame), Michelle Lim Davidson and William McInness, this top shelf cast tells the story of a successful politician who has it all, until a dark secret from his past is threatened to be revealed. To prepare you for what is heralded as one of Wilde’s most serious comedies, bump-in to some of these great restaurants.
For pre or post-theatre dining, enjoy contemporary Japanese cuisine matched to a range of premium sake at Sake Restaurant and Bar at Hamer Hall. The ever-changing menu deserves its own standing ovation, offering small bites to eat, or a shared tasting menu if you’re after a little bit of everything.
Need to fill up on a feast before the show? Taxi Kitchen offers a three-course ‘Showbiz menu’. This fine dining, modern Australian restaurant and bar is surrounded by glorious views of Southbank, the Yarra and overlooking the Arts Centre spire. Fill up and wander on over to the Arts Centre for a good dose of wit and humour.
Miss any of these shows or just begging for more? Melbourne knows how to do theatre – check out these other great productions not to miss this Winter:
- Son of a Preacherman at Speakeasy HQ until 24 August
- Smells like a song at the Courthouse Hotel from 16 June to 18 August
- MSO’s Mid-season Gala at Arts Centre Melbourne on 23 June
- Swan Lake on Ice at Arts Centre Melbourne from 3 to 8 July
- Mamma Mia at the Princess theatre from 10 July
- The Rocky Horror Show at Her Majesty’s Theatre from 12 July
- Mork & Mind at the Courthouse Hotel on 21 July
- MSO’s West Side Story performed live to film at the Arts Centre Melbourne from 27 and 28 July.