Pop-up dining precinct Rue & Co has opened in the Paris end of Melbourne's Collins Street, and already city slickers are queuing for coffee, burgers, souvas and Korean cuisine.
Offshoots of Jimmy Grants, St Ali and the soon-to-open Kong sit side-by-side in slickly converted shipping containers.
Coffee lovers can worship at the counter of The Church of Secular Coffee aka St Ali. They're serving salted caramel-filled profiteroles and breakfasts such as a downsized version of their famous My Mexican Cousin corn fritters ($10) in the mornings, before firing up the grill and flipping burgers from 11.30am.
The jagged panda-plastered Kong container is helmed by the team behind Chin Chin, serving a sneak peek of tweaked dishes from their yet-to-open Kong restaurant in Richmond. Get messy with DIY bo ssam boxes with brisket, pork belly or peanut-butter crusted tofu, or heat things up with fried chicken wings and fiery gochujang paste. A signature ssam-style roti wrap stuffed with pulled pork and wombok cabbage kimchi has a pleasant burn courtesy of chilli-spiked mayo.
Souvlaki kings Jimmy Grants serve up slow-roasted lamb shoulder and a pair of souvas, the falafel and slaw stuffed Homer or the lamb-chicken combo Mr Papadopoulos. Steamed dimmies and a few sides, including the cult grain salad, and chips scattered with feta, are also available.
A beautiful large mural of a female face by street artist Rone overlooks the action, while a carpet of astroturf is underfoot and there's seating for 86 at simple matte black tables. Come evening, the surrounding trees sparkle with fairy lights.
With winter fast approaching, the gas heaters will be working overtime. Golf umbrellas are provided for patrons who can't nab a seat in the small undercover area.
The pop-up will remain for at least six months, until developers commence construction on the tower planned for the site.
Rue & Co, 80 Collins Street, Melbourne, open from 7am-late, Mon - Sun, facebook.com/rueandco