Good Food Guide 2022: The It List - new and noteworthy restaurants in Melbourne and beyond

Sunda's new fired-up sibling Aru.
Sunda's new fired-up sibling Aru. Photo: Eddie Jim

Exciting new restaurant openings since the Good Food Guide 2020.

Aru

Khanh Nguyen turns up the volume on his pocket rocket diner Sunda with this crowd-pleasing sequel. Dishes from Vietnam to Malaysia are reimagined with native Australian ingredients, and include Insta-famous dishes such as the pâté en croute with all the flavours of a pork banh mi baked in pastry. Go, and then go again.

268 Little Collins St, Melbourne, 03 9939 8113, aru.net.au

The famous pork en croute at Aru.

Aru's famous pâté en croute with all the flavours of a pork banh mi baked in pastry. Photo: Eddie Jim

Gimlet at Cavendish House

Dazzlingly decked out in marble, terrazzo and brass, with telepathic waiters, Andrew McConnell's latest blockbuster showcases the excess of 1920s Chicago, complete with caviar service and lobster grilled on a custom-built wood-fired hearth. With a swinging cocktail bar, plush velvet booths and a late-night snack menu, it's a paean to the golden age of dining.

33 Russell St, Melbourne, 03 9277 9777, gimlet.melbourne

Gimlet at Cavendish House

Gimlet at Cavendish House. Photo: Sharyn Cairns

Moonah

Down a dirt road in wetlands outside Torquay, this rustic dining room on the edge of a billabong is a quiet revelation. Chef Tobin Kent uses biodynamic produce from his Winchelsea farm to create an artful degustation for 12 diners per sitting. It might be hand-dived sea urchin, samphire-spiked carrots, or new-season potatoes in rich stinging nettle reduction. Understated excellence.

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95 Minya Ln, Connewarre, moonahrestaurant.com

A dish from Tobin Kent's new Bellarine restaurant Moonah.

A dish from Tobin Kent's new Bellarine restaurant Moonah. Photo: Peter Foster

Public Wine Shop

Campbell Burton, once the wine sorcerer for the Builders Arms Hotel, and chef Ali Currey-Voumard, formerly of Tasmania's The Agrarian Kitchen, unite at this pint-sized, perfectly formed package. The menu changes daily, but might include oeufs mayonnaise, buttery crab tart, a bright broad bean salad, or stuffed porchetta. Whatever it is, expect it to be in season and on-song.

179 St Georges Rd, Fitzroy North, publicwineshop.com.au

Public Wine Shop in Fitzroy North.

Public Wine Shop in Fitzroy North. Photo: Eddie Jim

Society, Lillian Terrace, Yakimono

Chris Lucas's epic enterprise may have farewelled chef Martin Benn, but the grand vision remains. It's more than a single restaurant, with the main dining room, Society, turning out luxurious, technically brilliant dishes, the Lillian Terrace serving brasserie classics, and younger sibling Yakimono slinging fire-licked Japanese fusion. Each is worth a separate visit.

80 Collins St, Melbourne (via Benson Wk), 03 8618 8900, societyrestaurant.com; yakimono.com.au

Yakimono in the 80 Collins precinct.

Yakimono in the 80 Collins precinct. Photo: Supplied

The It Lists are brought to you by Citi

This article features in the Good Food Guide 2022 magazine, published on November 30 with presenting partners Citi and Vittoria Coffee, and free with The Age. Also on sale from December 7 in newsagents and supermarkets.