Pure South

Taste of Tassie: Pure South in Melbourne's Southgate has views of the Yarra.
Taste of Tassie: Pure South in Melbourne's Southgate has views of the Yarra. Photo: Eddie Jim

3 Southgate Ave Southbank, VIC 3006

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Opening hours Mon - Fri 7:00 AM – 12 Midnight, Sat - Sun 8:00 AM – 12 Midnight
Features Licensed, Accepts bookings, Outdoor seating, Views, Pre-post-theatre, Breakfast-brunch, Wheelchair access, Bar, Vegetarian friendly, Gluten-free options, Private dining, Romance-first date, Events
Prices Moderate (mains $20-$40)
Payments Diner's Club, eftpos, AMEX, Cash, Visa, Mastercard
Phone 03 9699 4600

When visitors arrive in Melbourne so does the where-to-eat wondering. A laneway coffee is probably compulsory. Splashing out somewhere like Vue de Monde or Grossi Florentino will appeal to some. Chasing a food truck or queuing at Chin Chin is as uber-Melbourne as waiting for an Uber. And for a high quality, upmarket-but-not-overwhelming experience, Pure South is an excellent pick.

Southgate's sterile interior doesn't appeal to me but Pure South is on the riverside promenade, opposite the pedestrian bridge weighed down by thousands of love padlocks. The restaurant seats 110, including a lucky 30 on its sheltered terrace with views of Yarra amblers (and New Year's Eve fireworks). It's a lively setting.

The food and much of the wine is from Tasmania, which gives Pure South a conceptual anchor and produce-driven ethic that's been consistent through its ten years of operation. Melbourne-born chef Ashley Davis started 18 months ago.

Pure South's take on Australian staple, the pavlova.
Pure South's take on Australian staple, the pavlova. Photo: Eddie Jim

Unlike many chefs who wangle Michelin stars onto their CVs, he earned his chops as head chef of Helene Darroze in London, taking it from one to two stars. His food is considered, deft and truly seasonal.

Edgy dishes wouldn't fly here but Davis finds byways and detours within broadly classical terrain. I loved the pork loin: perfect crunchy crackling playing off lightly crisp Vietnamese pancakes, meat juicy, seasoning bang on. The seafood 'charcuterie' plate is a spin around Tassie without the trouble of plane or ferry; the salmon rillettes are a rich highlight. Pepperberry pavlova is a pristine dome with a nicely judged spicy jab. The only misstep was a smoked Scotch fillet: infusing a beautiful grass-fed prime cut with oak smoke didn't make sense to me.

Pure South is a tasty package; service is assured and the food has a story. Whether you're treating yourself or bringing sightseers, you'll enjoy Melbourne hospitality with a bonus gastronomic trip to the apple isle.

Rating: Four stars out of five


Correction: the rating in this review of Pure South, Southbank, should have read four stars. The error occurred in production and has been amended here.