Pidapipo combines an Italian’s love of the ‘icy arts’ with a fondness for local ingredients. Handmade daily, the rotating selection of flavours are testament to their dessert obsession. Favourites include pistachio, blood orange and vanilla bean with honeycomb. Find them on Lygon Street in Carlton or Degraves Street (psst, this is where the Nutella tap lives) in the city.
An old-school Chinese restaurant treat gets new life at Phat. Creamy scoops of vanilla ice cream are deep-fried in batter for a crisp coating. Topped with sweet indulgences like caramel sauce, popcorn and marshmallows, this is not for the faint of heart. Find them on weekends at Queen Victoria Market.
Artisan, hand-made, nitro or old-school. Taste your way through these delectable city scoop shops.
Brand new to Hardware Lane, the first CBD store for Piccolina will not disappoint. Walk up the bluestone to the pastel-toned, Italian-style Gelateria and you almost feel like you’re in Europe. Our pick? Pistachio gelato, stacked with whipped cream and doused in Nutella swirl. And yes, there’s a free flowing Nutella tap.
Who doesn’t need a treat right now? Gelateria on the docks have cold comfort in 52 different delicious homemade flavours. Gluten and dairy-free options are very much on the menu. Foodie faves include vegan dark chocolate and rich licorice.
Okinawan influence, sea salt and OTT toppings. That’s what makes Aqua S so unique. Swing by their QV location and you could score big with specials like the layered honey cake sundae. Or keep it ‘simple’ with red velvet, matcha and cheesecake. Did we mention you can order any cone draped in a ring of fairy floss?
Take a break from your shopping at Queen Victoria Market and pop into Geloso Gelateria. They make gelato in-house from recipes passed down three generations. Treat yourself to regulars like hazelnut and cherry ripe, or try your luck and hope the jam donut special is on the menu.
Start with a cocktail, designed by Mai’s business partner, Rani Doyle (the loveable legend from The National Hotel). Maybe a Passion Maker: Makers Mark, Amaro Montenegro, lemon, passionfruit, Martell Vsop and a swig of apple juice. Or the Annam Iced Coffee (our personal fav): a creamy mix of Wyborowa vodka, viet coffee, chocolate bitters and coconut condensed milk. Absolutely nuts.
The menu picks up flavours from Vietnam’s checkered culinary history. Delicate pork & prawn siu mai from China. An insane spices Wagyu tartare, served with roasted marrow and Chinese doughnuts. Little sprinkles of Laos, Cambodia, even Japan. If you try one thing, make it the Hot Pot Glass Noodles: a steaming bowl of jelly-soft noodles, topped with Asian celery and King Prawns the size of your fist. It’s like eating a big, warm hug.
If you’ve ever bitten into a crispy chicken banh mi from Pho Nom, you’ll know Jerry Mai is a flat-out, Benedict Cumberbatch-level genius (she can do things with Sriracha mayo you never thought possible).
But her latest venture is something a little different on the Melbourne restaurant scene: high-end Vietnamese. That means no banh mi, no pho and no bun cha (the horror!) We’ve been waiting for months, and it’s finally here. Welcome to freakin’ Annam.
It’s early days, but Annam set to take its place alongside other CBD greats like Chin Chin, Supernormal and Izakaya Den. With Jerry the Banh Mi Queen at the helm, anything’s possible.
Oh, and save room for dessert—there's a waffle-coated fried ice-cream on there, drizzled in salted caramel, that will change your perspective on life. Best thing we've eaten all year.
You’ll find Annam tucked under the Secret Kitchen building on Little Bourke St, just down from the Shark Fin Inn. The décor says restaurant, not noodle bar, but there’s still the playful colour-pop branding we’ve come to love at Pho Nom. Red plastic chopsticks on the tables, polished concrete on the floors, matt black chairs and mod-timber detailing, a canopy of Edison bulbs overhead—it’s a slick, contemporary space. Forget the white table cloths.
“She’s probably the best cook I know,” Mai says of her mum.
Mai says she has gone for an “outdoor eating in Asia” sort of vibe, with a fit-out by Melbourne’s Olaver Architecture. There are various nooks (including a private dining area with a mirrored disco ball) surrounding a large main dining space, with party lights strung overhead and vintage kung-fu movies projected onto the wall. The restaurant seats 100. Window-facing benches are only “slightly higher” than what you’d find at a Vietnamese hawkers market, Mai says.
“In Vietnam you sit down and your knees come up to your ears,” she says. She developed her concept for Annam during an “eating and buying” trip in South East Asia.
Co-owner and drinks specialist Rani Doyle is behind the offering at the almost restaurant-length bar. The line-up includes two types of Asahi and Young Henrys beer on tap and a long list of special cocktails, such as the vodka and chocolate bitters Annam Iced Coffee, made with house-made condensed coconut milk.
A new set of neon letters started glowing in the CBD this month – they signalled the opening of an ambitious new restaurant from Pho Nom’s Jerry Mai. Annam – once the name of Vietnam – serves South East Asian hawker-style food in a space that fits somewhere between casual and fine diner.
Mai migrated from Vietnam to Australia by way of a Thai refugee camp, and mains include dishes she grew up with, such as her mum’s braised pork hock, served with fermented rice and fennel salad. Or her childhood favourite: Cambodian-style braised goat somm la curry, with lightly cooked pea eggplants, pumpkin and green papaya.
You might catch a glimpse of the mohawked Mai in the large open kitchen near the Japanese-inspired rice-paper station, inspecting plates of soft, fragrant crab banh cuon, which come with fried shallots and a salty-sweet nuoc mam salad. Or maybe she’ll be flipping a whole hiramasa kingfish at the charcoal-grill station, where you can also see her meaty Chiang Mai pork sausages hanging before they’re dished up with slices of raw cabbage, pineapple and tiny-but-intense pickled green chillies.