Doubling down. Everyone's doing it. You can't leave your house without smacking into a Fonda Mexican, Huxtaburger or Meatball & Wine Bar.
ShanDong MaMa has just opened ShanDong MaMa Mini to cater to the lunch crowds in Centre Place and Jason Jones is taking a version of his casual Moroccan eatery B'Stilla across the river. There's also a rumour that Belle's Hot Chicken is going to be duplicated elsewhere soon, too, (though probably not in Melbourne).
But in Chapel Street, the trend seems to be more towards sprouting an extra limb when business proves so good that demand outweighs supply. Hanoi Hannah has Express Lane to act somewhat like a pressure release valve, Kid Boston has Boston Sub with Jungle Boy cocktail bar out the back, and following suit is mod-dumpling den Charlie Dumpling.
Opening a few doors down from the luminous High Street eatery this week will be Charlie Dumpling Jr, serving the more travel-friendly of chef Dylan Roberts' menu – that means a yes to the snapper dumplings and fried chicken ribs, but a no to the deep-fried milk chocolate dumplings – as well as takeaway beers and wines.
There will be a few seats if you want to sit in, and, just because this is Prahran and no venue is complete without one, there will also be a semi-concealed doorway leading to cocktail bar, Ba Charlie. Here you'll find Ally Casey (manager of this same space when it was Vin Cellar) serving beers, wines and the same kind of fruit-forward cocktails Paul Copec has been making at the main Charlie Dumpling restaurant, along with new snacks including cheeseburger dumplings.
Both businesses will open on Friday, November 14, with a private dining room and home delivery option to follow in a few weeks.
Charlie Dumpling Jr, 212 High Street, Prahran, 9510 6107. Open daily noon-3pm; 5.30pm-9pm.
Ba Charlie, 212 High Street, Prahran, 9521 3112. Open Wed-Sat 5.30pm-midnight; Sun 5.30pm-11pm.