The end of summer in the Victorian capital signals the start of a happening new chapter.
There’s rarely a dull moment in Australia’s secondlargest city but this month a slate of events ensures Melbourne retains its crown as the culture capital. The ICC Women’s T20 World Cup culminates on the 8th, while the Melbourne International Comedy Festival kicks off on the 25th. The Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix will speed things up between 12 and 15 March (see page 40), with the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival whetting appetites from 19 to 29 March. If that’s not enough, one of the city’s favourite sons is set to reveal a new restaurant and the Lancemore group will launch its first Melbourne CBD hotel. Here’s how to soak up the scene whether you’re visiting or a local.
Where to stay
Bespoke artworks in the rooms and a sweeping mural at the rooftop bar will set the mood at Lancemore Crossley St., located within Melbourne’s East End Theatre District. Check in for exquisitely designed rooms, a striking lobby and have we mentioned the skyline views from that happening rooftop bar?
The restaurants to visit
From the group behind Liminal, Hazel on Flinders Lane is an ideal spot for a laid-back yet refined lunch amid high-ceilinged contemporary interiors flush with daylight. White wine and tarragon mussels on sourdough are a highlight. You can’t really choose your poison at Byrdi on La Trobe Street, where the cocktail menu makes no mention of spirits, focusing on flavours instead. “I don’t want people to be swayed by what they like,” says owner and bartender Luke Whearty. “I want them to be surprised.” And you will be when your Weis Bar (mango, white chocolate and milk) comes with a splash of rye whiskey.
The man behind Cumulus Inc., Cutler & Co. and Supernormal, chef Andrew McConnell is opening a fine-diner at Cavendish House in the CBD this month. The name hadn’t been announced at time of press but here’s what we know: it’s a dramatic departure from anything McConnell has done previously, with the menu focusing on fastidious European fare and a drinks list featuring Australian and European wines.
Things to do
Grab tickets to the Melbourne International Comedy Festival (Daniel Sloss is a headliner), catch a race at the Formula 1 at Albert Park or succumb to temptation at the Queen Victoria Market, HQ for the Melbourne Food & Wine Festival. This year’s program has more free and family-friendly events than ever and The Big Spaghetti on 28 March ticks both boxes. Purveyors from 10 of Australia’s best Italian restaurants, including Rosetta and Tipo 00, will be plating up pasta while Matt Preston gives a live demo of his bolognese sauce.