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New Year's eve, with myself, in Melbourne?

susancinsf Dec 5, 2010 06:36 AM

Somehow, saying I'd be alone sounded inaccurately sad...:-)

Anyway, at home in California I tend to avoid New Year's Eve dining: too crowded and expensive for food produced for masses of revelers, even at most of the otherwise good spots. However, I will be in Melbourne for two nights, one of which is New Year's eve, and would like to find a place that feels celebratory but where the real focus is the food. I'd prefer contemporary Australian, pan-Asian, Vietnamese, or perhaps French (?) to Italian, which I can readily get at home. Seafood particularly welcome, though I will eat almost anything. I'd prefer a mid-range place given the weakness of the dollar, but it will be New Year's eve, after all....Have to admit that despite higher prices than I hoped for, the menu at Embrasse, reported on below, looked interesting, but it is closed over the holidays.

Will be staying in South Melbourne near the botanical garden, but on the tram line, and willing to venture anywhere that is reasonably accessible via public transportation.

Or should I give NYE a pass, have a special meal on the 30th, and just wing it on the 31st?

Suggestions for places for coffee and pastry or breakfast to start the New Year also welcome!

Thanks, all!

  1. m
    mr_gimlet Dec 5, 2010 09:14 AM

    A large proportion of places will be closed, as the normal annual restaurant shutdown is christmas eve to 11th Jan or even a week later. The exceptions are venues that put on something special (read: expensive, due to staff costs) for xmas and NYE, never close (hotels) or want to tap into the cricket crowds from 26-30. Your special meal on 30th plan might be stillborn...

    Given where you are staying, I would suggest you try and find out if France-Soir is open. There are fireworks on Southbank, so plan to take the tram and see those, but don't even think about eating there as it will be heaving.

    10 Replies
    1. re: mr_gimlet
      susancinsf Dec 5, 2010 12:24 PM

      oh, that's a little discouraging.... Surprising to hear that with some many hotels almost fully booked that there wouldn't be more food options open, other than on the actual holiday (in SF that's a prime dining out time, but of course it is winter here, not summer vacation....), but I was assuming that the large number of bookings was just holiday related; clueless as to cricket matches.

      I've also resigned myself to the idea that everything will be expensive, so I am willing to go higher end if necessary. Or perhaps a low end place with great food?

      France-Soir looks nice, but I was really hoping for Australian or something less straight up French. Would going further afield or into the city center help? I am going to assume that 'heaving' means 'ridiculously crowded'.? Would rather eat well than watch fireworks!

      There is apparently availability at Quaff, and at Bacash in Melbourne, for either night. Bacash looks very appealing other than the cost. Any thoughts?

      1. re: susancinsf
        m
        mr_gimlet Dec 5, 2010 12:58 PM

        It's not an area I hang out much in, FranceSoir is my 'open all hours' fallback - and Da Noi which is Sardinian. The area you are staying in is one of the wealthiest parts of Melbourne so you may want to hop on a tram to save some money.

        Is Cumulus in the CBD open (edit:No)? Bacash is very good but as you say expensive (this also reflects the higher price of seafood in Aus restaurants).

        What about a mod oz pub? Middle Park Hotel, the Station in Footscray and the Terminus in Clifton Hill should all be open. Cafe Vue on St Kilda Road is part of the Vue de Monde empire, Bistro Vue I expect will be open as well (VdM proper is out of budget).

        Chunks of Chinatown and Victoria St Richmond will be open (Vietnamese)

        1. re: mr_gimlet
          susancinsf Dec 5, 2010 01:54 PM

          love the idea of a mod oz pub actually. and hmm...my favorite restaurant in San Francisco is Sardinian (one of only perhaps two or three, if that, in California). Will have to take a look at that one. Thanks!

          1. re: susancinsf
            m
            mr_gimlet Dec 5, 2010 04:02 PM

            Middle Park will be closest of thoise three. The Albert Park Hotel, The Graham and The Palace are also tipped by my south of the river friends.

          2. re: mr_gimlet
            kersizm Dec 5, 2010 10:20 PM

            Cafe Vue is doing an interesting looking Cocktail night for NYE - http://vuedemonde.com.au/the-restaura...

            1. re: kersizm
              susancinsf Dec 6, 2010 08:32 AM

              thanks, that does look interesting!

          3. re: susancinsf
            susancinsf Dec 5, 2010 01:51 PM

            Take that back, Bacash is closed...their online booking was taking reservations, but got an email saying they are closed until January 11th.

            1. re: susancinsf
              janetofreno Dec 7, 2010 10:46 AM

              Susan: I have written off-line to some Melbourne friends of mine for ideas; will let you know. Knowing them, any ideas they have will probably be lower to middle-end. But who knows, they might even know of a good party :-) I'll let you know what they say....

              1. re: janetofreno
                m
                mr_gimlet Dec 7, 2010 11:04 AM

                Just for some cultural context, NYE isn't a very big event in Australia - the risk of bad weather (in Melbourne) is very high and the temperatures are often extreme (often 30C at midnight). Because it is the height of summer, there are often fire bans which prevent bbqing in public places.

                1. re: mr_gimlet
                  PhilD Dec 9, 2010 11:03 PM

                  ....but MrG I think we have a few fireworks in Sydney...?

        2. o
          oz_girl Dec 10, 2010 04:38 PM

          I'm looking at a similar thing, so I'll throw out a few suggestions that I've been looking at for myself...

          Pearl: would be easy to get to by tram and they're doing their infamous mudcrab night for new year's - not sure about single people, we usually book a table. But worth an ask!

          Fog Dining Room: would be a great atmosphere for new years as they have a bar and restaurant. The food there is consistently good and on the mod oz innovative side.

          The Point Albert Park: have great food and are really good at functions. They have a new year's celebration with a chinese theme to it this year that would be interesting if you are up for a party.

          Hope this helps some!

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