Another iconic Melbourne site, another Shannon Bennett-backed cafe. Jardin Tan at the Royal Botanic Gardens is the same genus as other Vue Group venues - the kitchen wields elaborate techniques, and uses top ingredients from ethical producers - but instead of Euro-French food, it has branched into Vietnamese.
"Shannon and I didn't want to do Vietnamese-French fusion; we wanted to take traditional Vietnamese and add real technique and great produce," says head chef Michael Reid.
Stage one opened on Friday. The kiosk is a walk-up, windowed booth on the deck of the main eatery (due to open August 8), loaded up with banh mi ($12.50) filled with wagyu brisket and pâté, barbecue pork, or barramundi fish cake. There are rice-paper rolls ($10.50) and pho (beef, $14 and mushroom, $12.50). Joggers can run in for cold-pressed juices; tourists and garden-goers can stop by for coffee (filter and espresso) and a dragonfruit doughnut.
The kiosk seats around 100 outdoors among the edible plantings, but everything's in disposable packaging and good to go. The cafe will seat another 200 in its airy, glass-walled dining room and rear garden area; there'll be table service and dishes like 18-hour braised pork cheek in young coconut juice.
Open daily: kiosk 8am-4pm, cafe 10am-4pm, Jardin Tan, Royal Botanic Gardens, Birdwood Avenue, South Yarra, 9691 3888, jardintan.com.au