Putting excellent food into boxes and bags isn’t what Australia’s culinary capital wants to be known for, but there’s no doubt Melbourne eats well in lockdown.
By lockdown five, restaurateurs are exceptionally well drilled: even as announcement press conferences drone on, ordering platforms are resurrected, ingredients are repurposed, waiters put petrol in the tank and menu announcements start scrolling by on social media.
As always, remember to support your local restaurants so they’ll be there for you on the other side. If practical, ask them how they would prefer you to order: going directly usually works best for small businesses.
Normally, Balaclava’s Tulum does Turkish fine dining, but its lockdown drill is to wheel a food vendor’s cart onto Carlisle Street and sell boreks, tarts and fish sandwiches, just like you’d get on the banks of the Bosphorus in Istanbul. Everything is delicious but look out in particular for the filo scroll stuffed with celeriac and hazelnuts and the simit, a sesame-studded bread ring (217 Carlisle Street, Balaclava, @tulumrestaurant).
If you’re looking to brighten someone’s day (even your own), try Goldeluck’s. This suburban bakery has gone gangbusters through the pandemic, turning a modest family business into a nationwide success story. It delivers “cake explosion boxes”
Ladro slings pizza both sides of the river and it’ll bring it out to your car for contactless handover. The Badabing is the all-time Ladro classic: sugo, provolone, fennel-and-chilli pork sausage does the job. Add spritz cans and casks of vino and your next lockdown evening is looking rather lovely (162 Greville Street, Prahran; 224 Gertrude Street, Fitzroy).
The CBD has done it super-tough since the start of 2020. Show some love to businesses such as Thai Tide (yellow curry mud crab and crab fried rice), Miznon (Israeli pitas and gorgeous Friday night dinners), Bar Lourinha (romantic weekend meal boxes), and Di Stasio Citta (spinach and ricotta dumplings). And see you back out there soon, Melbourne!
This beautiful contemporary Japanese restaurant has supported staff and suppliers with take-home meals. The menus are delightful: think Moreton Bay bug dumplings, roasted duck breast with winter vegetables and baked choux with chocolate and miso custard.
121 Lygon Street, Carlton, 03 9349 2223, kazukis.com.au
We can’t go to Tasmania but we can eat beautiful Bass Strait and Apple Isle produce, thanks to this Southbank restaurant. There are Tassie oysters, Southern Rock lobster and King Island beef to cook at home plus lamb roast dinners where all the work is done for you.
River Level, Southgate, Southbank, 03 9699 4600, puresouthkitchen.com.au
Flipping quickly from neighbourhood wine bar to lockdown cult takeaway means cheeseburger bagels, triple-cooked chips with shaved truffle, and spicy chicken ribs, all great for nibbling as you stroll your Moorabbin five K.
2 Station Street,Moorabbin, 03 9503 4238, wearecomma.com.au