No need to argue about the washing up if you book in for a Christmas meal out. Here's what's open on December 25 in Melbourne.
Akachochin offers a Japanese take on Christmas feasting. Photo: Roland J Dempster
For Christmas in Japan, there's a big tradition of ordering KFC - it's the result of a wildly successful marketing campaign from the 1970s. Of course, at this Tokyo-style izakaya, the offerings are much more impressive (and less greasy). Akachochin has a banquet that includes a raw fish appetiser, zucchini mustard yaki, grilled meats, Japanese salads, agedashi tofu and a green tea ganache or sweet potato brulee as dessert.
Price: $66 per person ($99 with beverage package), $29 for kids aged 12 to 16, $12 for under 12.
33 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf, 03 9245 9900, akachochin.com.au
Settle in for a riverside feast at Arbory Bar & Eatery. Photo: Simon Shiff
Arbory Bar & Eatery
Why sweat and slave over the stove when you can sit back, zone out and dine by a breezy, 150-metre-long deck on the Yarra River? At Arbory Bar & Eatery, your set menu includes a seafood selection (mussels in escabeche sauce, Crystal Bay prawns, Pacific oysters), holiday staples like honey-glazed ham and stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce, as well as side dishes and a summery peach trifle. There's a glass of Chandon to start with, but you can also shell out for the 'Classic' and 'Adventurous' wine programs or test out the 18 beers on tap if you'd like an extra boozier way to celebrate. Pick from sittings at midday, 3pm and 6pm.
Price: $65 per person
Arbory Bar & Eatery, Flinders Walk, Melbourne, 03 9621 2260, arbory.com.au
The lofty view from Eureka 89. Photo: Supplied
If you need to get away from annoying relatives - this seems like a good spot. Heading 300 metres above ground level to Melbourne's tallest observation point will give you a safe distance from judgmental comments by opinionated uncles and aunties. For this four-course lunch with matching beverages, you'll also be served spanner crab rolls with Yarra Valley salmon caviar and pickled cucumber, brined poussin with chestnut gallantine and Griottines cherry jus and more to go with your 360-degree cityscape view. A rum and vanilla sticky date pudding with walnut praline - and a well-timed prosecco - is not a bad thing to enjoy from a great height.
Price: $260 for adults, $160 for kids aged 13-17, $80 for children 12 and under.
Level 89, Eureka Tower, 7 Riverside Quay, Southbank, 03 9693 8889, eureka89.com.au
Settle in for a DIY feast at Munich Brauhaus, which offers plenty of appetite-stuffing a la carte options. Photo: Supplied
If being served The Schnitzelmeister, cheesy jalapeno pretzels and a Munich Brewers Platter of roasted pork belly and haus sausages is actually the Christmas lunch you're keen on, then head to South Wharf for a German-style lunch. (Although don't question too heavily how German the mac and cheese balls with blue cheese mayo and smoked bacon might be and just enjoy the amply-catered chance to "eat, drink and be merry".) It's not all bier and bratwurst, though. There's a kids' menu and activities, too.
Price: No set menu cost, the lunch is a la carte.
45 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf, Melbourne, 1300 686 424, munichbrauhaus.com
Too nice to hang: there are Christmas decorations you can eat at Om Nom. Photo: Supplied
Of course, this dessert bar has a blockbuster creation at its last course for Christmas lunch and dinner. The Black Forest Christmas Wreath is a sugary spectacular, with twigs whittled from chocolate and decorative baubles full of cherry sorbet, cherry pate de fruit and chocolate. Don't worry, there'll be savoury dishes as well - such as sherry-braised pork cheeks with caramelised apple, slow-cooked lamb shoulder with rosemary and lamb jus and vegetarian options, too (like a not-so-typical beet and goat's cheese salad with sweet onion hazelnut praline and beetroot foam).
Price: $155 per person (two-guest minimum). $45 children's menu also available.
187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, (03) 8080 8827, omnom.kitchen
You can settle in for a classy Christmas meal in the 19th-century surrounds of The Hotel Windsor. Photo: Supplied
One Eleven at The Hotel Windsor
This award-winning hotel dates back to the gold rush, and its four-course dinner is all about comfort food with an appropriately fancy twist. Think house-cured ocean trout "ham" with roasted grapes, macadamia and radish and potato salad with Western Australian marron, lovage butter and summer herbs. Of course, there's slow-cooked turkey with maple-glazed pumpkin and a traditional pudding that can be drizzled with brandy sauce and chestnut crème. Vegetarians can request a special menu, too.
Price: $299 per adult, $215 for kids aged 13 to 18, $125 for kids aged four to 12. Children under three dine for free.
111 Spring Street, Melbourne, 03 9633 6000, thehotelwindsor.com.au
Pascale Bar & Grill
On arrival, you'll be greeted with a flute of Perrier Jouët Champagne - not a shabby introduction. The following three-course lunch menu at this ritzy QT Melbourne venue will include foie gras and truffle puffs, a seafood platter featuring trout caviar and beer steamed prawns and the so-called "ultimate" turkey, if you're up for it - which is free range and served with black truffle gravy. And good news, you won't have to share your Christmas pudding and teetotallers can get into the spirit with a booze-free agave egg nog.
Price: $190 per person.
133 Russell Street, Melbourne, 03 8636 8814, qthotelsandresorts.com/melbourne/eat-drink
Expect a range of Asian-inspired dishes for Christmas at The Smith. Photo: Wayne Taylor
With starters such as scallops with yuzu mayo and caviar as well as Asian-style steak tartare on cassava crackers, this smart Prahran pub isn't resorting to predictable Christmas lunch cliches. Yes, there's a turkey, but it's stuffed with apricots and served with red cabbage and bread sauce. Mains include pan-fried salmon with in-house XO sauce and Cafe Grim Porterhouse with yakiniku dipping sauce and horseradish creme.
Price: $185 per person (including unlimited French sparkling wine and other drinks), $85 for kids 17 and under.
213 High Street, Prahran, 03 9514 2444, thesmithprahran.com.au