Kate reviews: Melbourne’s best picnic options
Alright – we’re heading into picnic weather, and when it comes to socialising with family and friends, right now picnics are basically about the only activity we can do engage in. So, so this week I enjoyed a picnic option from Earl Canteen that I’ll share with you, but have also compiled a bit list of other al fresco options for you to try.
EARL CANTEEN – earlcanteen.com.au – So, I put the call out on Instagram for suggestions for great picnic offerings in Melbourne, with wide delivery options. Sandwich kings Earl Canteen came in on top for boasting some of the best value, quality food, plus they deliver to more than 100 suburbs across the city.
I ordered the Spring Picnic Share Platter to enjoy on a Friday arvo, and the $60 spread was easily more than enough food for two.
There was shaved Victorian prosciutto with cornichons, and local brie with quince paste, walnuts and crostini.
There are ubiquitous classic chicken sandwiches. Fresh, crusty Noisette baguettes are delivered daily, they’re filled with a creamy mix of shredded free-range chicken, house-made mayo, fresh parsley, spring onion & dill, plus some sea salt and rocket.
I loved the spring veggie tartlets, an free-range egg filling with edamame and peas, is topped with house-made basil pesto & some watercress. They, and the mini corn, herb & zucchini fritters, are made fresh on the day you receive them had plenty of bite.
And there were berry friands, and rich triple choc brownies to finish. If it’s a bigger hamper you’re after, this week Earl launched brilliant Spring Racing Hampers for up to six people. Real food, made in house with quality ingredients, at $30 per person – this is a great option for your spring outing.
OTHER PICNIC SUGGESTIONS:
HEMINGWAY’S WINE ROOM – This week Hemingway’s released their Picnic Bags for Two. You’ll get freshly baked bread rolls with whipped butter, half a dozen natural shucked oysters, duck parfait, rabbit rillettes, crispbread, cornichons, cheeses, quince paste, spanner crab tartine, and leek pissaladiere. Pre-order for pick up on Saturdays and Sundays, they’re terrific value at $99. hemingwayswineroom.com.au
NEPTUNE FOOD AND WINE – On weekends, Neptune Food and Wine have taken picnics to the next level. With a returnable cane basket, cutlery, plates, glassware, a rug and UNO, they’ll deliver to Victoria Gardens or Alma Park or you can pick up, and they’re great value too. For $65, you’ll get a couple of cheese and two charcuterie selections, a baba-hummus fusion dip, Chicken remoulade with pickled red onion and crispy capers, potato focaccia and crackers and an indulgent Pana chocolate bar. Plus, there’s a separate vegan offering. o.hungryhungry.com/neptunefoodwine/menu
BAR LOURINHA – Who says we can’t travel overseas? Bar Lourinha has launched “A Picnic in Sevilla”, giving you a little taste of Spain right here in Melbourne. You’ll get almonds & spice, Bar Lourinhã’s famous gildas, Basque anchovy montaditos,
Cantimpalo chorizo & guindillas, Ossau-Iraty cheese & quince paste, Spanish almond cookies, and your choice of Sherry. It’s just $75 for two. barlourinha.com.au
ROMU – One to keep an eye on if you’re in the Western Suburbs, last week Frenchman Romuald “Romu” Oudeyer launched his Pique-nique boxes. Romu has a private catering business and has been doing four course menus for home during lockdown, but he’s branching out into curated picnic menus for two, with dishes like trout rillette & Yarra Valley Trout Roe, hand-cut potato chips, green hummus with asparagus & celery; home pickled eggs, charcuterie and more. It’ll all come in a box designed to double as a picnic table, and will feature a Soothsayer DJs playlist to set the mood. instagram.com/romu_melbourne
THE ESPY – St Kilda is a perfect spot to dine al fresco, so the Espy have launched some picnic hampers that feature some epic Espy faves, reimagined into outdoor essentials. Think whipped tarama with house-baked focaccia, roasted free-range chicken and tarragon baguette, and new season tomato, basil pesto and fior di latte on focaccia. Or there’s a bigger premium hamper that also boasts poached free-range chicken, cucumber and coriander noodle salad, spiced marinated olives and house-made pickles – it’s still a steal at $58. Order to pick up Friday to Sunday from 12pm. hotelesplanade.com.au/melbourne-picnic-hampers
MEATSMITH – If it’s quality you’re after, Andrew McConnell’s Butchers at Meatsmith have put together a fine looking Picnic Hamper complete with their favourite housemade small goods, artisan cheese and bread, and bottle of skin-contact wine to boot. Expect Baker Bleu bread, Wagyu Pastrami, Chicken Liver Pate, Duck & Pistachio Terrine, L’Artisan Petit Rouge Cheese, pickles, and the plonk – a 2020 Arfion Aromata; for $115. meatsmith.com.au/collections/picnic-season
EPOCHA HOPE FOOD & WINE – Who doesn’t want to spend time in the park on a sunny day? Epocha is situated right on the beautiful Carlton gardens and have a stellar Picnic Pack for two that includes a ploughman’s platter with house loaf, pickles & crudités,devilled eggs, cheddar cheese, grandmother ham, and chutney; two roast beef & mustard rolls; Spring vegetable quiche; Baby potato salad with parsley and shallots; and a salad of shaved fennel, pickled apple, walnuts and Gorgonzola. Brilliant value at $70, but you’ll need to pre-order for Saturday pickup. order.hungryhungry.com/epocha/menu
SALUMINISTI – These purveyors of stupendous salumi have put together an antipasto box perfect for outdoor dining. We’re talking three different cheeses, three of their cured meats, olives, marinated veg, bread, taralluci crackers and salted roasted fava beans. It’ll set you back just $60, and for a bit more they’ll deliver within 15km of the CBD. saluministi.com.au/
SUPERNORMAL CANTEEN – Given their location across the road from Albert Park Lake, it’s no surprise that Supernormal canteens have launched Picnic Packs to enjoy in the great outdoors. Theirs boasts iconic Supernormal dishes like Szechuan pickled vegetables, New England lobster roll; Szechuan pork dumplings, Valrhona chocolate & peanut butter mousse with salted caramel & peanut praline, and a bottle of Range Life Prosecco or Arfion ‘Aromata’ Pinot Gris. Great value at $75 for two. supernormalcanteen.com/take-away
BOOZY BRUNCH PICNICS – Melbourne-based hard seltzer, Splash Vodka, has teamed up with the brunch gurus at Tall Timber, Friends of Mine & BAWA to put on the ultimate boozy brunch spread. Their Boozy Brunch Box for two will set you back $35 and contains two Ham, Cheese + Tomato Croissants, two slices of Banana Bread, a couple of Double Choc & Walnut Brownies, and of course two cans of Splash Vodka. Or there’s a box for four that includes Breaky Sliders and more priced at $75. You’ll need to order direct from the venues – talltimbercafe.com.au/ ; bawacafe.com.au/ ; friendsofmine.com.au/ .
COOKES FOOD – These renowned caterers have launched “Park Life”, a series of three picnic boxes that you can enjoy in the great outdoors. Choose from a Brunch Box, Grazing Box and Euro Grazing Box with French brie with fruit crostini and fresh grapes, spanakopita triangles, Jimmy’s pickled octopus and Basque cheesecake. They’ll feed two to three people, and can be picked up in St Kilda or delivered for a small fee. cookesfood.com.au/
ENTRECOTE – Let’s be honest, Entrecote are just showing off. From their enviable location a stone’s throw from the King’s Domain and Royal Botanic Gardens, they were bound to come up with a pretty special picnic offering. They came up with a Parisienne pack that features Ned’s traditionalle baguette & French butter; Chicken & tarragon terrine; Camembert; Petit French Quiche Lorraine; rare roast beef baguette; salad, dessert, macarons and sweets. It’s $94.90 for that box of indulgence, or you can pay extra and hire Parisian bistro tables and chairs to set up in the park across the road. entrecote.com.au/pique-nique