Alfresco dining takes off in Melbourne
Melbourne’s weather may be famously temperamental but that hasn’t stopped Victorians flocking to pathway diners, rooftop bars and beer gardens in search of fresh food experiences this summer.
Like many cities around the world, alfresco dining is helping drive Melbourne’s hospitality revival, and the enthusiastic response from locals and interstate visitors has prompted the City of Melbourne to continue its extended outdoor dining program until 31 March 2022. This means 16 laneways will remain dining hubs, and 200 parklets (footpath extensions) will be kept so that CBD businesses can offer more seating and safe physical distancing.
Open air fun
Among a number of new restaurants to open in Melbourne's CBD in 2021, Sojourn – the eye-catching blue restaurant and rooftop bar in New Chancery Lane – mixes a unique open-air ambience with a bold and playful menu that champions Victoria’s top winemakers, brewers, distillers, farmers and producers.
This pairing has struck a chord with Victorian diners, who have been quick to embrace the eclectic menu that includes Queen of the South cocktail (a summery splash of Starward whisky and orange bitters) and Tasmanian pacific oysters with Campari finger lime dressing.
City Club Executive Chef Jason Camillo says the new summer menu includes seasonal flavours that enhance the use of local produce.
“We’ve never had a summer at Sojourn, so the rooftop comes into play, and we have antipasto and small plates like Four Pillars gin-cured salmon,” he says.
“In the restaurant downstairs, we’ve introduced summer produce such as nectarines with roast pork and fresh Yarra Valley cherries with the new duck dish.
“For those people who haven’t experienced Sojourn, I think it’s perfect for summer.”