Half Acre, South Melbourne

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MELBOURNE | Half Acre is a restaurant, bar and event space in South Melbourne, located on a large half acre site in an industrial part of the suburb. Owners Adam Wright-Smith (ex-Fat Radish, Silkstone NYC), Asaf Smoli, and Leigh Worcester (food&desire) came across the run down site while driving past one day and knew that it was the right spot for their new venture. We were invited to come south side to check out the venue, and were very interested in seeing how the concept came together.

From the outside, unless you approach from the west, there’s not much to indicate that there’s actually something here. The site is hidden behind unmarked brick walls, and looks from the street to be just another industrial building like its neighbours. Walk through the arched entrance though and you’re transported into another world. The large, light filled glasshouse-like room is where you’ll find the main dining area and adjoining bar, while the event space next door is housed in the early 1900s mill that originally occupied the site, complete with original walls and wooden roof beams.

The main dining room has a very relaxed feel about it, with lots of wood, brick and earthy materials, along with vintage furniture, plants, and plenty of natural sunlight. Even the open kitchen has a homely vibe about it, which is what Wright-Smith told us was his intention. In fact, we kept looking at it and thinking to ourselves “this is exactly the kitchen we would want in our house” – if we had a house and money that is. There’s a multi level fire pit which allows wood and charcoal to be used and ingredients to be dropped into the pit at just the right level depending on what’s being cooked, and a huge bench for prep work.

What’s coming out of the kitchen? Head chef Eitan Doron, who hails from Tel Aviv, has put together a selection of contemporary Australian dishes with plenty of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean influences. Dishes are designed to share, and there are things on the menu to satisfy vegetarians, vegans, and meat eaters. In fact, many of the menu’s highlights come from the vegetable side of things. Grilled cabbage with torched goat cheese and chimichurri, a dish that Doron developed after accidentally leaving some cabbage in the oven for two and a half hours once, is a must order, with a wonderful combination of char, tangy, sweet, and salty elements and fantastic textures. Almost as good is the fantastic roasted cauliflower with dukkah tahini. Saucing on these dishes in generous, so make sure you grab some of the fluffy, almost doughnut like flat breads. The flat bread comes with smoked butter which is tasty, but is better used to mop up all of those delicious sauces.

Another highlight with an equally delicious sauce is the grilled king prawns with harissa oil and zucchini tzatziki, which again plays with your senses by mixing smoky charred flavours with sweet, salty and tangy elements. For meat, we opted for the ½ chicken with morels and oyster mushrooms – a deliciously simple and earthy dish with beautifully tender chicken and flavour filled skin and sauce. It was a close call between ordering that and the grilled hanger steak with burnt leek and romesco.

The menu also features a selection of pizzas with thin, crispy bases, ranging from the classic Margherita to the one we ordered, topped with pancetta, tomato, fior di latte, egg, black pepper, and oregano. This pizza is an outstanding choice – it comes with the egg in the centre, and you break it open and spread it across the pizza. It really adds to each bite.

By this stage we were absolutely stuffed so didn’t opt for dessert, but the choice that really stood out for us was the wood-fired pineapple with pecan crumble and yogurt ice cream. There’s also a chocolate nemesis served with creme fraiche and dulce de leche.

For drinks its a selection of commercial and craft beers, wine and cocktails, with a mixture of local and international choices, both familiar and unfamiliar. The gin and tonic, which combines gin with blood orange, lemon, black pepper, tonic water, and a roasted thyme garnish, is particularly refreshing and tasty.

Half Acre is an impressive space with food that matches the expectations that are set when you first see the fit out. The food is, at its heart, simple and produce driven, and it’s the kind of place that you can enjoy a full meal or just pop in for a drink or two and a snack. There’s a lot to like on the menu, and everything we tried was fantastic. We know we’ll be back again, after all there’s still that hangar steak and wood-fired pineapple to try, amongst other things.

Half Acre

112 Munro Street
South Melbourne
Victoria 3205
Australia

Telephone: (03) 9999 1191
E-mail: [email protected]
Website

Open
Tue – Wed: 4:00pm to 11:00pm
Thu – Fri: 12:00pm to 11:00pm
Sat – Sun: 11:00am to 11:00pm

Half Acre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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Paul
Paul
Paul founded The City Lane back in 2009 as a place to share photos of his travels around Europe with friends and family. The City Lane might have changed quite a lot since those early days but one thing that’s remained constant is Paul’s passion for food, travel and culture, and a desire to photograph and write about his experiences. Paul has a strong inquisitive nature that drives him to look beneath the surface in order to discover what really makes a city and its people tick, and what better way to do this than over a good meal or drink, with a city’s locals, at places that people who live in that city actually frequent. Paul is also a co-host of The Brunswick Beer Collective, a podcast that may or may not actually be about beer.

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