Royal Croquet Club is a pop up food, entertainment, sporting and lifestyle festival open for just 2 weeks until Sunday 1 February. I reckon it’s the hottest place to hang out this summer.
Picking up where the Night Noodle Market left off, the area by the Yarra River at Birrarung Marr features some of Melbourne’s favourite restaurants – along with a full size croquet pitch. I was invited along for a tasting.
Food-wise you’ll find the Broadsheet Summer BBQ featuring D.O.C, Mr Claws, Meatmother, Miss Chu, St Ali and Gelato Messina. So much choice, so little stomach room….so if you don’t mind eating dessert first then my tip is to head straight to one of the Desserts in a Can by Gelato Messina ($9)! You’ll skip the queues and have enough room to enjoy the highlight of my meal.
What is the Gelato Messina International Soup Kitchen? Basically the famous gelateria has devised some ingenious dessert concoctions all served up in a fake Campbells soup can – very Andy Warhol. I tried the Zuppa Duppa, with hazelnut gelato, wild strawberry preserve, pistachio crunch and amaretti biscotti – creamy, crunchy and oh so decadent and the kind of ice cream innovation that Gelato Messina is known for. Other flavours include ‘Black Forest Bisque’, ‘Faux Pho’ and ‘American Chow Down’.
Back to the savouries each restaurant has a small selection of menu items, all hovering around the $10-$15 mark. You’ll probably eat two or three items so expect to pay around $40 for food.
If you like your meat then grab Meatmother’s ‘Burnt Ends’ – slippery cubes of slow cooked pork belly with jalapeno slaw and Mother BBQ sauce ($12).
Lobster lovers must try Mr Claws lobster rolls filled with chunky lobster flesh in a soft buttery bun ($12). You can choose your lobster dressing from classic mayo base, chunky miso wasabi to spicy sriracha.
The croquet action is pretty laid back. Basically just pick up a free mallet and off you go!
Royal Croquet Club is a really fun, relaxed place for eating, drinking and badly played ball sports – a great place for post-work get-together, a date or to hang out with friends. I’m hoping to visit the Royal Croquet Club at least three more times before it closes so that I can try each of the Gelato Messina’s International Soup Kitchen flavours!
From tonight Friday 23 January Royal Croquet Club will be celebrating the Australia Day long weekend with a Truck-A-Palooza festival with nine food trucks in attendance from 5pm and a special headline guest performing at sunset each night. Don’t miss it!