Deck the halls and stuff the turkey – or get someone else to do the stuffing for you. With Christmas fast approaching, we’ve tracked down 13 of Melbourne’s best options for Christmas Eve dinner, or a slap-up meal on the day itself.
Christmas day lunch at George Calombaris’ very modern take on the taverna is a fun-filled affair with Greek updates on the classic prawn cocktail, a cross-cultural gyoza spanakopita, and lamb kalamaki. For dessert? Spit-roasted pineapple with yoghurt ice-cream and pistachio kourambiethes (biscuits). Opa!
2 Exhibition Street, Melbourne; (03) 9207 7444
For a typically sumptuous occasion, Crown’s flagship Cantonese fine diner is putting on an eight-course set Christmas lunch menu. East meets West with a menu that includes Coffin Bay oysters with passionfruit and Moutai granita, baked half lobster with black garlic and cheese, and foie gras and barbecued pork fried rice.
Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank; (03) 9292 5777
The Deck at Circa
Fancy Christmas celebrations on Circa’s lushly planted upper floor terrace, overlooking Fitzroy Street and the shimmering waters of Port Phillip Bay? The Deck will be going informal with a three-course shared lunch menu of seasonal bounty with dishes including mini smoked turkey croque monsieur, poached Crystal Bay prawns with orange and tarragon dressing, and glazed free-range ham with aged cheddar and pickled cherries.
2 Acland Street, St Kilda; (03) 9536 1122
Christmas lunch or dinner at Dutchess, the upmarket restaurant at renovated city pub the Duke, means grabbing a plush leather booth with seven family members and sampling a four-course sharing menu. Start with abalone and glazed ham, move on to crayfish mac’n’cheese and salmon en papilotte, and finish with Christmas pudding and eggnog.
2/146 Flinders Street, Melbourne; (03) 9810 0055
Celebrate the season in classic French style at Guillaume Brahimi’s classy riverside bistro. A luxury-laden set Christmas lunch includes freshly shucked oysters with Sterling caviar and escargots persillade, lobster with cos lettuce, avocado and Avruga, and beef Wellington with roasted shallots, Paris mash and truffle jus. Just add a glass of NV Perrier-Jouet Brut, naturellement.
Crown Towers, 10/8 Whiteman Street, Southbank; (03) 9292 5777
The Press Club
Many Greeks celebrate Christmas on January 7 but don’t let that get in the way of an extravagant multi-course Hellenic lunch at George Calombaris’ flagship fine diner on December 25. Expect a selection of mezethes, a play on pork souvlaki, oysters with smoked ham and prawn and spatchcock standing in for turkey.
72 Flinders Street, Melbourne; (03) 9677 9677
Join executive chef Tony Twitchett on Christmas Day for a five-course lunch celebrating the Asian-centric classics of Taxi Kitchen, the jewel in the Federation Square crown (and yes, the menu will include the candied pork with red nam jim). Feel like getting festive the night before? Christmas Eve will be a more traditional affair with a six-course tasting menu including crayfish, turkey and pudding.
Transport Hotel, Corner Swanston and Flinders streets, Melbourne; (03) 9654 8808
SEE ALSO: One Perfect Day in Melbourne
Shannon Bennett’s so-Frenchy-it-hurts bistro has its own tradition of choosing a theme to celebrate the season; this year it’s “French food around the world”, with dishes plucked from the French colonial diaspora. There will be matched wines, of course – and kids under four are free.
430 Little Collins Street, Melbourne; (03) 9691 3838
If you’re after Christmas lunch or dinner at a singular venue, The Arbory, which stretches along a former Flinders Street Station train platform, is the place for you. The menu has fewer surprises than the real estate: a sharing-style affair starting with a seafood platter including Moreton Bay bugs and Crystal Bay prawns, moving on to stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce and honey-glazed ham, and coming to the end of the line with peach trifle.
1 Flinders Walk, Melbourne; (03) 8648 7644
Hit the grand buffet at Crown’s elegant restaurant The Conservatory for Christmas lunch and or dinner. The lunchtime menu includes Queensland spanner crabs, South Australian oysters, pork terrine with pistachio and foie gras, roasted turkey and maple glazed leg of ham. For dinner, think duck rillettes with port wine jelly, wagyu beef carpaccio with truffle mayonnaise and shaved parmesan, and roast pork belly.
Crown Towers, 8 Whiteman Street, Southbank; (03) 8582 2009
Christmas lunch at Fitzroy North fine diner Matteo’s is such a Melbourne tradition that regulars like to book in for the following year as soon as they’ve finished their pudding – and with new head chef Buddha Lo in charge of the kitchen, this year promises to be a whirlwind of punchy Asian fusion food with wines to match poured by patron par excellence, Matteo Pignatelli.
533 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North; (03) 9481 1177
Have yourself a modern Australian Christmas dinner at Hotel Windsor’s One Eleven restaurant. Executive Chef Joel Alderson is giving tradition a good old update with a menu including house-cured ocean trout “ham” with roasted grapes, macadamia and radish. But he’ll be heading back to Christmases past for dessert with a classic pudding with chestnut crème and brandy sauce.
111 Spring Street, Melbourne; (03) 9633 6000
The arresting city views from the Sofitel’s marble-clad restaurant on the 35th floor will provide a fitting backdrop to a buffet lunch and dinner on December 24 and 25. Expect fresh seafood, a carvery and a huge dessert selection, plus live music – and every child will receive a personalised Christmas book featuring an adventure with Santa.
Level 35, 25 Collins Street, Melbourne; (03) 9653 7744
Top image: No.35