We're back in lockdown, but let's not forget how well Melbourne comes to the table when the chips are down. From unemployed visa workers to iconic restaurants, we have an army of chefs ready to make round two deliciously bearable.
Minamishima x Chotto
The second collaborative menu from Koichi Minamishima, owner of Melbourne's three-hat sushi-ya, and his friend and colleague Yoshiki Tano is a playful romp through some of Japan's classic dishes.
The new at-home menu includes a truffled chicken wing concealing a whole egg yolk, an impressive don (rice) dishes dressed in Japanese wagyu and Australian truffle, and the "otona banana" for adults – a parfait featuring whisky-infused banana, miso caramel and custard.
Quentin Berthonneau, a co-owner of Q Le Baker, has started a side hustle making Japan's incredibly soft and fluffy bread, shokupan. Better still, he's managed to make his from sourdough instead of instant yeast, and is using all local products, from Mount Zero pink salt to Wholegrain Milling's organic flour.
The loaves are handmade and hand-delivered and have garnered enough attention that you'll have to join a waiting list. But what else do we have but time. shokupan.com.au
Chef Andrea Vignali's takeaway pasta business is back. Photo: Joe Armao
Italian-born chef Andrea Vignali started a wildly successful pasta project during the last lockdown, having been stood down from his role at Grossi Florentino. With restaurants shut again, he is again firing up the website and moving into a borrowed kitchen to turn out weekly menus of finessed pastas, breads and sauces for the home. This time around, he's bringing another visa-worker into the fold, who, like himself, has no other financial support.
Albert Park Hotel's Peking duck pancakes are available for pick-up. Photo: Simon Schiff
Albert Park Hotel
Gosh the Albert Park Hotel has had a ride. It opened after a multi-year and multimillion-dollar renovation in March, and was immediately closed after patient 16 dropped in for one of their very first functions.
The restaurant, Happy Valley, has been able to serve guests in person for but a few weeks, so if you're in the area, give Spencer Gulf prawn har gau dumplings, Peking duck pancakes and XO pipis a chance. Order online, including drinks, but it's pick-up only. thealbertpark.com.au.