Melbourne's a dream in winter, where everyone rugs up for the footy or the film festival and the city's pockets transform into fireside nooks. Here are 10 toasty, tasty suggestions to make your winter that bit more delicious.
Raclette at Smithward
Dip into this intimate, European-inspired wine bar and the first thing that hits you is the swoony smell of funky cheese. Smithward's raclette – grilled golden and scraped over potatoes and cornichons with a side of housemade bread – is warming and indulgent, especially with a good red recommended by owners Graham Hill and Georgina Russell from their Victorian-only wine list. On Thursdays, the melted cheese is draped over macaroni cheese. Not hungry? Get a winter negroni, where they sub in whisky for gin.
48 Smith Street, Collingwood, smithward.com.au
Spiked ramen at Shizuku
Winter = soup weather, so why not supersize your soup with this king of broths, that bisected jammy soft-boiled egg glowing like a proud jewel on top? Shizuku is a knockout ramen and craft beer bar bang in the middle of the Vietnamese hub of Victoria Street. The broad ramen range includes whisky ramen ($25) with creamy pork bone broth pepped with Japanese single malt whisky and Junmai sake. Soft noodles, pops of goji berry and sparks of kizami chilli complete this winter warmer.
309 Victoria Street, Abbotsford, shizukuramen.com
Tempranillo at Moat
If you could capture the Melbourne winter experience in a snapshot, it would be being wrapped up in your coat and scarf, ducking down the stairs below the writing temple of the Wheeler Centre and into this glowing red and gold subterranean lair. Moat is a popular pre- or post-literary event meeting place, where you can warm up with a glass of red, such as a tempranillo that's full of rich, dark flavour.There's a house shiraz on the Happy Hour menu, too.
176 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne, themoat.com.au
Fancy fries at Leonard's House of Love
Part club house, part crazy mate's log cabin, Leonard's House of Love does its laidback, come one, come all, and bring your dog thing, in South Yarra's back streets. With patio heaters, an open fire, couches and an enclosed backyard with a window kitchen slinging American-inspired dishes, it's one good time, winter hideout. Order a basket of chipotle bolognese loaded fries, find a corner and make a new pal.
3 Wilson Street, South Yarra, leonardshouseoflove.com.au
Sunday roast at the Railway
South Melbourne's award-winning Railway Hotel has been around since the 1850s and it's one of those perfect, old-school Melbourne pubs – fireplace, pool table, a good dash of retro kitsch and a cracking menu. So where better to hole-up on a chilly Sunday than here with a good old Sunday roast with all the trimmings? Just $20 will get you there. Available until sold out, so make a booking.
280 Ferrars Street, South Melbourne, railwaypub.com.au
Campfire hot chocolate at Mork
Fancy a hot chocolate around the campfire but can't quite make it happen in your 12th floor studio apartment? No problem. You can get all the charm without the muddy boots, by heading to Mork in North Melbourne for their signature Campfire Chocolate. You'll get a wooden board with an inverted glass of wood smoke, a small jug of thick hot chocolate, some smoked sea salt and a toasted marshmallow on a stick. Lift the glass and pour in the chocolate, letting the smoke plume, and top with a sprinkling of salt. Eat the marshmallow as is, or stir it in for added smoky-sweetness.
150 Errol Street, North Melbourne, morkchocolate.com.au
Pizza by the fire at Lazerpig
Look for the neon pig in a cape, nip into this corner pizzeria and bar with its bare bricks, drippy candles, disco balls and chequered tablecloths and breathe in. Smell that charry pizza baking, watch that open fire flickering and flick through that pizza menu. Warm up with the Ronny J – hot and sweet with pork and fennel sausage, roasted jalapenos and honey.
9-11 Peel Street, Collingwood, lazerpig.com.au
Whisky experience at 1806
Winter is all about warming the cockles, and whisky does a fine job of just that. City cocktail bar 1806 has an epic list of more than 100 whiskies from around the world and one way of discovering the right one for you is their whisky experience – you'll get a whisky cocktail on arrival, then you'll be taken through a tasting session, with canapes to match ($60). That'll keep your cockles warm 'til spring.
169 Exhibition Street, Melbourne, 1806.com.au
Smoky meats and sides at Fancy Hank's. Photo: Josh Robenstone
Barbecue at Fancy Hank's
Summer is all about chewing the fat around the barbie, but winter can harsh that particular buzz – unless you head upstairs to Fancy Hank's. At the top end of Bourke Street, this barbecue joint goes next level with its handsome, heritage surrounds given a cheeky lumberjack feel. But while there's humour on the walls, there's serious business in the kitchen, with low, slow meats loaded with spiced rubs and meltingly tender brisket slices with sweet, smoky "red-eye" coffee gravy.
Level one, 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne, fancyhanks.com
A pint and a platter at the Pig and Whistle
If you want to double-down on your winter, head to the misty Dandenong mountains, wherewoodsmoke scents the foggy air and cute tavern the Pig and Whistle riffs on cosy English pub food. Order a pint of Old Speckled Hen ale, nab a spot near the fire and tuck into bangers and mash or share a Pommy Platter with a mate, complete with fixings for a build-your-own chip or bacon butty.
1429 Mount Dandenong Tourist Road, Olinda, pigandwhistletavern.com