The first weekend of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Saturday 28 February – Sunday 15 March) hosted loads of special events along the Yarra as part of ‘Open Kitchen’, including ‘A Coastal Culinary Trail’ at the just-opened Arbory Eatery and Bar.
I was invited to visit the event and as I’ve been watching the building progress of this restaurant on Instagram I was excited to visit the week-old eatery.
Arbory has been built on part of the disused Sandridge railway line which runs along the edge of Flinders Street station. As a result, it’s a 120m long narrow wooden deck draped with gum trees which affords magnificent views of the Yarra, vibrant Southbank and the pedestrian bridges spanning the water.
The sound-scape is quintessentially Melbourne too, with the tooting of Metro trains, the splash of the water and cyclist’s bells dinging now and again.
A Coastal Culinary Trail was a one-off event showcasing Australian seafood. For $15 you could choose one of the four seafood dishes (which are not normally on Arbory’s menu) and a glass of DOC wine.
Out of the four dishes my favourite were the Pacific oysters, au naturale. Clean, fresh and slightly briny, they were perfect with a glass of pinot grigio. The barbecued calamari was surprisingly tender and made great snack food paired with the chunks of chorizo. Sadly the lobster roll failed to please, with a too-dry brioche bun and a mayonnaise-heavy filling with sparse pieces of lobster.
I’m keen to try their standard menu, which has been described as European-style snacks and no-fail comfort food such as burgers and sundaes. I predict Arbory will be one of my favourite places to enjoy Autumn’s mild weather and visitors will enjoy the novelty of imbibing at Melbourne’s longest bar. They are promoting the hashtag #stayawhile and the relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and stunning views certainly make it the perfect hangout.