Melbourne restaurants go the extra mile to reach customers

Park Tanpapat of Jinda Thai restaurant which is delivering to guest suburbs more than 5km away.
Park Tanpapat of Jinda Thai restaurant which is delivering to guest suburbs more than 5km away.  Photo: Simon Schluter

Favourite food businesses are delivering far and wide during the stage four restrictions, bringing joy to customers beyond the five kilometre limit.

Premika Tanpapat and her family, owners of Jinda Thai restaurant in Abbotsford, learnt something new about their customers during the first days of Stage 4 lockdown. "We were shocked how quiet the restaurant was," says Tanpapat. "In Stage 3 we were doing OK but as soon as our customers couldn't travel more than five kilometres to pick up food, we realised they didn't just live in Abbotsford, Richmond and Collingwood. We decided we have to go to them."

Choosing a few suburbs each week and promoting them on Instagram, they've now covered Preston and Epping to the north (20 kilometres) Essendon and Footscray to the west (14 kilometres away) and Keysborough to the south-east (36 kilometres away) with more suburb requests coming every day. "We feel lucky that we can still bring joy to people," says Tanpapat.

It's also a way of showing appreciation to customers who previously trekked so far for boat noodles and jungle curry. "When we were packed and there was a queue outside, I never thought that people would have travelled so far to get to us," she says. "We feel these people are really amazing."

Tanpapat has also found it interesting that suburbs order very differently. "In Footscray, everyone ordered tom yum soup," she says. "Keysborough had deep-fried fish and when we went up to Epping where there are a lot of Thai people, everyone was ordering boat noodles. I can see the flavours of each suburb."

Lune croissant queen Kate Reid decided to give 'hot suburbs' a go for stage 4, travelling far beyond the Fitzroy bakery to select postcodes each week. "Rather than delivering within five kilometres to people who could come to us, we decided to deliver to those who couldn't," she says.

Lune trialled Doncaster and Donvale, sold 75 slots in an hour and found that delivery was actually more efficient because orders are concentrated in one or two postcodes.

Reid jumps in the car herself a couple of times a week. "You feel like croissant Santa," she says. "And also a little bit like the Easter bunny because contactless delivery means we text when we're close, drop pastries on the doorstep, then ring the doorbell and run off like Usain Bolt."

Vue de monde is taking its retro bistro menu bayside this weekend, announcing the southern push with an Instagram message that commenced, "Attention Karen from Brighton." It's a logical move. "A lot of our guests live along there," says executive chef Hugh Allen.

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Generally, this lockdown is 20 to 30 per cent down on the first shutdown but the Vue crew is finding bayside take-up is good. "They seem to be bigger orders and they're buying more expensive wine which is great for us," he says.

Deliveries are handled by front-of-house staff including highly qualified French wine waiter Dorian Guillon. "They have no idea where any of the suburbs are," says Allen. "They are constantly on Google maps working out where they're going, but it's not too bad having a master sommelier dropping off your dinner."

Treat yourself to a lobster roll from Pinchy's Champagne and Lobster Bar

Treat yourself to a lobster roll from Pinchy's. Photo: Supplied

Hot suburbs

Free to Feed: This social enterprise showcases the food of refugees and people seeking asylum, delivering to selected 'Brave Burbs' launched each Friday. Manel's Malaysian curries are selling out each week. freetofeed.org.au

Mr Miyagi: The cheeky Japanese fusion restaurant is indulging in One Night Stands, partnering with restaurants far distant from their Windsor location. Tonight they're at Ringwood's Leaf & Vine. mrmiyagi.com.au

San Telmo: The South American grilling group has collaborated with restaurants at all points of the compass to supply its meal boxes. Themed meals include a 'romantica' menu and Father's Day collections. thesantelmogroup.com.au

Pinchy's: Swimming around town, the lobster roll specialists are on a Made By Sea Tour, heading to Camberwell this weekend (sold out) and Bentleigh next weekend. Crustacean fans are encouraged to vote for their postcode's inclusion. pinchys.co

Sakana: Daylesford's casual Japanese restaurant has popped up for stage 4 pick-up at its Carlton sister restaurant Kazuki's, which normally offers upscale Euro-Japanese fusion. Right now, it's Japanese curry on rice, steamed dumplings and miso-baked salmon. Kazukis.com.au

Tonka: The city Indian restaurant is looking after its western fans with curry drops to The Fresh Food Merchant grocer in Geelong. Options include duck curry, butter chicken and potato samosas. thefreshfoodmerchant.com.au