Dining With A View This Winter At Southgate

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MELBOURNE | Winter in Melbourne can seem synonymous with fireside bars, intimate spaces and piping hot drinks. But just because the temperatures are dropping, the social calendar doesn’t need to be defined by cozy dark rooms. How about an evening spent with an expansive view of the Yarra River and a gin martini in hand, served at minus 17 degrees? We were invited to experience this winter opulence at Southgate, the food and entertainment precinct on the bank of the Yarra River, through a progressive dinner tasting at five venues.

First stop was Metropolis Events, the recently completed function space in Southgate. The top floor venue hosts wedding, conferences, and events. Unsurprisingly, the view is phenomenal. Eight meter high windows make up nearly the entirety of the north side wall, capturing Flinders Station, Princes Bridge, Federation Square, and the CBD skyline. A 17 meter high dome in the middle of the space and mirrors extending along the back wall create a room that feels both endless and uninhibited. It’s a statement venue—ideal for functions designed to impress with sophisticated grandeur.

Next up was a visit to ENA Greek Street Food for a tasting of entrees. The casual atmosphere is suitable for both a quick lunch during the workday or a leisurely three-course meal. However, I think the views of the Yarra River will keep you lingering a bit longer. Though inspired by the food served on the streets of Greece, I found the entrees to be delightfully unusual. We tried a melon and ouzo sorbet shooter that usually tops the Watermelon Salad and a bowl of avgolemono (egg, lemon and olive oil soup), among other inventive dishes. The Greek band playing under a wall of black and white family photos had a charming appeal partnered with the high caliber cuisine. Nonetheless, it was hard to remove myself from the feeling that we were dining in an offshoot of a shopping mall.

P.S. Bar & Kitchen, where we stopped for a tasting of mains, recently reopened after renovations to double the size of the more formal Pure South. Split between two floors, P.S. Bar & Kitchen serves reliably delicious food in a chic but neutral setting. Don’t expect any innovative touches here; the décor is simple—concrete walls, black tables, functional overhead lighting. However, the dishes merit applause. Head chef David Hall sources his meat and produce from Tasmania and refers to the producers on a first name basis. Shipments are received a couple times a week to ensure ingredients are fresh and flavorful. We received a tasting of a few mains, including Grilled Hardy Family octopus with chorizo and pesto and gnocchi with pumpkin and Grandvewe Primavera cheese. Reliable food in an elegant but unnoteworthy setting.

Dessert found us at Tutto Bene, and Italian restaurant specializing in risotto and sweets. The theme persisted—enjoyable food with an unremarkable backdrop. The interior is cozy and casual, catering to both families and couples. With a neutral interior, your focus is turned outwards again, towards the wall of windows facing the Yarra River. Our beautiful view was matched with a Tiramisu and Lemon Tartalletta. Despite feeling full from our previous stops, I still managed to finish both dishes (an indication of the food’s distinction).

We made our final stop at Waterslide Bar. This cocktail hub is undoubtedly worth a stop, if even just to read the menu. Every winter cocktail is named after a bar patron persona, from The Brunswick Hippy to Daddy’s Girl. You can skip the theater and post up here for the night instead; drinks are presented in an entertaining fashion, making this a true theatrical event. Take a seat in one of the cozy corners as you peruse the menu and assign a persona to all your drinking mates. Warning—feelings may be hurt.

Consensus? There’s some great food on offer at Southgate, and if you are in the area, or a visitor who is staying nearby, there’s a lot to recommend. This recommendation does come with a caveat thought – be aware that the atmosphere does suffer from sterility of the shopping mall setting.

Metropolis is located on Level 4 of Southgate, P.S. Bar & Kitchen is on the River Level, and ENA Greek Street Food, Tutto Bene, and Waterslide Bar are on Midlevel. Check individual restaurant websites for specific contact details.

Southgate

3 Southgate Avenue
Southbank
Victoria 3006
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9686 1000
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

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