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Wendy Hargreaves: Five holiday escapes on a plate

Denis Walter
Article image for Wendy Hargreaves: Five holiday escapes on a plate


Overseas holiday just out of reach? Save yourself the airfare and transport yourself with a plate of something delicious. Whether it’s Japanese noodles or French frites, there are holiday escapes on a plate right across Melbourne, and here are five of the best.

Mykonos Restaurant Bar
58 Portman St, Oakleigh, (03) 9569 6767

Walking into this Oakleigh taverna is like stepping out of Dr Who’s Tardis onto the Greek island of Mykonos, all bright white and turquoise. Mykonos is made for a long, lazy spit roast with all the trimmings. In-the-know diners also go for the slow-cooked lamb shanks (a house specialty). It’s all best shared in a group as the servings are generous.

Also try the Cretan food at Elyros (871 Bourke Rd, Camberwell, 03 9882 8877), a stylish restaurant and bar with an excellent lunch special  – three generous courses with meze, roast meats and dessert for $45 a head.

French Saloon
First Floor, 46 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, 03 9600 2142

Possibly Melbourne’s prettiest dining room, the French Saloon is a little hard to find, tucked in a loft at the top of a dodgy flight of stairs on Hardware Lane. Full of light and a constant buzz, this classic bistro has a few menu items you must try, including warm potato and horseradish blinis and one of the best steak tartares in town.

Any discussion on French food in Melbourne must also include France Soir (11-13 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, 03 9866 8569), where oh-so French-speaking waiters deliver a true Parisian experience to a packed dining room every night.

17 Liverpool St, Melbourne
131 Smith street Fitzroy, (03) 9973 9486

Watching Shimbashi’s Japanese chefs roll and hand-cut pure buckwheat soba is almost hypnotic, and sure gives you an appetite for fresh noodles. These rich, fragrant noodles are made with this autumn’s buckwheat harvest, giving them even more snappy flavour – just how they’re served in the best soba shops in Japan.

For a fancier Japanese experience, head to Minamishima (4 Lord St, Richmond, (03) 9429 5180) and insist on a seat at the bar to experience the drama and beauty of chef Koichi Minamishima’s omakase.

2/377 Little Collins St, Melbourne, (03) 9606 0642

Hidden down an alley off Little Collins St, this little slice of Rome with excellent hand-made pasta is only a year old, but already feels like part of Melbourne’s culinary furniture. Warm service and flashes of brass, terrazzo and pink marble take you straight to Italy.

For a Sardinian bent, head to Da Noi (95 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, 03 9866 5975) for a cosy and delicious meal.

Le Bon Ton
51 Gipps St, Collingwood,  (03) 9416 4341

Open until 5am at weekends, Le Bon Ton’s menu is a love letter to the American South with Texas-style brisket, Louisiana blackened fish and crab cakes, southern fried chicken and smoked beef short rib.

Wendy writes online at

Denis Walter