Six surprising places for a $20 express lunch

If life is a delicate juggling act, lunch is often one of the first balls to fall. If you’ve forgotten lunch, here is where to treat yourself to a lavish meal for a budget-friendly twenty-dollar bill.


A casual, hawker-style Thai restaurant running alongside the Yarra, expect popping flavours at BangPop. The most recent addition to the menu, a $19 lunch special comes with a glass of wine or beer. Inside is cosy and intimate, while you can soak up the last summery rays outside. Monday to Friday – 12 – 3pm.

A table with several Thai dishes on it



Unrestricted, fresh, vibrant food at Maha has made chef Shane Delia a household name. Scratch the surface of Middle Eastern spices with the coveted ‘bar special’, a burger and beer for $20. Turkish beef, sujuk relish, smoked mozzarella and spiced tomato sauce is paired with Almza pilsner. The new chicken with smoked pepper burger and Cisk lager is also on offer. Available at the bar, Monday-Friday, 12-3pm.

Mr Mason

Mr Mason is a French-inspired bistro combining a lounge, outdoor terrace and dining area. The express lunch menu rotates weekly, so you’ve got an excuse to keep coming back. Past dishes include the steak sandwich with sourdough, melted cheese, caramelised onions, lettuce, tomato and shoestring fries. Lunch includes a glass of house wine, beer or soft drink, perfect for a lazy Friday. Monday to Friday, 12 – 3pm.

Ludlow Bar & Dining Room

It’s difficult to compete with a classic pub meal. Ludlow is serving up your choice of four bar meals with a beer or vino for $20. Expect dishes a cut above your local, with rich braised lamb shank or pan-seared barramundi. Nibble your way through excellent cheese boards from Tasmania, Victoria and South Australia. You’ve saved, after all. Monday to Friday.

A buger and chipsm, a bowl of pasta and two other dishes on a table

Ludlow Bar & Dining Room

Campari House

Running parallel to Hardware Lane, Campari House is designed as a nod to classic Italian bistros. The rooftop is decked in beachside blue chairs, while inside you’ll find no-fuss timber tables. Three main options rotate weekly, and your twenty will buy a house beer or wine with lunch. Monday to Thursday, 12 – 3pm available in the restaurant and on the rooftop.

Tazio Birraria and Pizzeria

Nestled along Flinders Lane among some of the best restaurants in Melbourne, Tazio’s express lunch is great value for money. Choose any pizza with a pot of tap beer, house wine or soft drink for $20. Long share-style tables are ideal for a casual work lunch, so bring along your favourite colleagues. Monday to Thursday, 12 – 3pm.


Looking for more?

Bluetrain – this Southgate stalwart offers a $20 express lunch special – choose any burger or pizza from their menu and enjoy with a glass of house red, white, beer or soft drink.  Monday to Wednesdays, 11am – 3pm.