Covid’s success story, Al Dente, pops up at The Belfry on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy until indoor dining capacity has a semblance of normal. It’s a serious barbecue menu from former Grossi Florentino Chef Andrea Vigliante: try scallops with macadamia, chilli, and garlic flowers ($ 5 each); his famous tortellini cacio e pepe ($ 22); or go all out with a Wagyu 9+ sirloin steak from Gary’s Meats, spooned with gremolata ($ 65). There are also take-away tinnies and cocktails like margaritas and the Bloody Lemon, which is made with Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz, lemon and tonic.
When: Friday 4pm to 8pm, Saturday 12pm to 8pm, Sunday 12pm to 6pm
Where: 272 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy
Image (above): Abacus
Abacus Bar & Kitchen
This Chapel Street restaurant cooks suckling pig on a skewer on the street and cuts it into tacos. It costs $ 15 for three with salsa valentina, coriander, and onions. There are also margaritas for $ 14 in coffee mugs that are flavored with either lemon myrtle or cockatoo plum. Get down early – they sold out in half an hour last week! Look for the pop-up taco and margarita bar in the rear parking lot as soon as the outdoor dining area reopens.
When: noon to sold out, Saturday and Sunday during lockdown
Where: 383 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Image (above): Brothl - Earl Carter
Brothl x Returnr Marketplace
Joost Bakkers Brothl, a zero-waste café that closed in 2015, is making a comeback tonight, just behind the Future Food Systems house on Federation Square to kick off the Returnr Marketplace. Returnr is an online packaging free grocer owned by KeepCup co-founder Jamie Forsyth. Joost, along with chefs Matt Stone and Jo Barrett, will serve three types of soups in reusable vessels. Everyone makes the most of herbs, products, garums and misos that are grown and made in-house. Flavors include a vegetarian mushroom and seaweed broth, venison, and wild boar (pests that destroy natural habitat but make for a lean and tasty meal). Mac Forbes will be selling its Yarra Valley wine and a limited edition Future Food System Spring Gin will be available for purchase. Only 400 bottles were made with the house botanicals, including magnolia blossom, lemons, rhubarb, fresh parsley and native thyme.
When: Friday, October 15, 3 to 8 p.m.
Where: Between Future Food Systems and Deakin Edge on Federation Square
Mischa Tropp Dosa Pop-Up
Mischa Tropp of Elsie’s Butter Chicken and We Are Kerala Pop-Up Fame teams up with the Molly Rose Brewery in Collingwood for their final roller shutter lockdown special. He makes Masala Dosa, South India’s answer to crepes from fermented lentil and rice batter, filled with curry potatoes. It’s served with coconut chutney for $ 13 a pop and is a treat with a hoppy, red baroness lager ($ 6.50). Vegetarian and gluten-free on top of that.
When: 12 p.m. to 3 p.m. or sold out, Saturday 16th and Sunday 17th October
Where: 279 Wellington Street, Collingwood
Image (above): Way Good
Way Good in Richmond launches its Swan Street Barbecue to grill cevapi (balkan sausage) with pickles and spicy pepper and almond sauce ($ 12) and steak baguettes with celery tartar sauce and mushrooms ($ 20). There are plenty of other dishes on offer, including egg and kimchi rolls and sourdough potato cake with tartare sauce, both $ 10 each. Add take-away cocktails and gallons of wine to get the weekend off to a solid start.
When: October 15 & 16, 12:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m., October 17. 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 213 Swan Street, Richmond
Image (above): Halicarnas
Halikarnas Café & Restaurant
This Turkish restaurant opened earlier this year and has an ornate Anatolian-style barbecue on the weekend. For around $ 13-15, they make adana kebabs, fish, and sauteed lamb kavurma rolls; Charcoal skewers with lettuce, rice, dips, and fries; Gozleme; and $ 60 family mixed grills (charcoal lamb skewers, chicken, Adana kebab, sausage, dips, salad, and bread). Look out for midye dolma (stuffed clams).
When: on the weekend from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m.
Where: 71 Lygon Street, Braunschweig Ost
This weekend, Joey Vargetto is selling rotisserie chooks out of the window at Mister Bianco, whose roast juices drip onto boiled and vinegar potatoes. The menu also includes croissants filled with mozzarella and pressed porchetta, cavatelli from a huge pan, and cannoli with iced vovo filling for a touch of nostalgia. And let’s not forget the splashes to take away.
When: 11.30 a.m. until sold out, October 16 & 17
Where: 285 High Street, Kew
Picture (above): Good Ragazzi
This is for everyone who has asked me where to find something delicious on a Monday evening when everything seems closed. Chef Charlie Snadden-Wilson (who also cooked at Etta and is head chef at The Moon wine bar) has a ripper cheeseburger with extra Gruyere throughout the patty, a vegan special (maybe a mushroom sub with fermented chilli garlic butter), a kind of potato or crispy side dish and a pudding cup (previously there was “Triflemisu” and birthday cake).
When: 4 p.m. until sold out, every Monday
Where: 797 Nicholson St, Carlton North