Melbourne loves, loves, loves Asian food, which is why there are always more eateries, more cuisines and more creativity. Add these fresh options to your wish list.
It’s inspired by Singapore and Malaysia’s hawker centres, but instead of stalls that become institutions over decades, HKWR curates and rotates their vendors. Khao by Rice Paper Scissors. Bread & Beast’s Asian-style sandwiches. Chanteen by Diana Chan. A hybrid of Sydney favourites Koi Dessert Bar and Monkey’s Corner. That’s your selection until the end of April, plus the permanent coffee-by-day, cocktails-by-night joys of Manymore.
We have more Japanese joints than you can poke a chopstick at, but only recently has the art of kaiseki emerged here. Ishizuka reveals this high-end Japanese style of degustation with exquisitely prepared food served on dishes custom-made by hand in Kyoto. The architect-designed subterranean space is as artful as what’s on the table, and with only 16 seats, you best book well ahead. Find them in the basement of 139 Bourke Street, Melbourne.
East China Trading Company
Handmade dumplings and handcrafted cocktails: two of life’s great pleasures, yet Melbourne hasn’t been good at putting them in the same room. Until now! The folks behind Golden Monkey bar give you the best of both worlds upstairs at East China Trading Company.
Much-loved modern Thai restaurant Longrain now has a little sister upstairs: Longsong. Her take on a night out is as much about drinks as food, which roams beyond Thailand for dinner and bar-snack inspiration. It could be a long night out too, as the kitchen opens til midnight seven days a week.
Melbourne and Tokyo love a good laneway, where great food and drinks can be found in unassuming little establishments. Yokocho, a restaurant named after the Japanese word for laneway, celebrates this shared passion, but also embraces Melburnians’ obsession with alfresco dining. Whether seated inside or out, say konnichiwa to some modern and eclectic Japanese treats, perhaps over a sake cocktail jug.
Sunda (coming soon)
Due to open on 26 March on Punch Lane, Sunda is the latest eatery taking Melbourne’s Asian dining experience up yet another notch. Named for a group of islands in the Malay archipelago, it will play with the cuisines of Indonesia, Malaysia and Vietnam. Add some native Australian ingredients and open flame, and you’ve got yourself a new foodie hot spot.