If the thought of cooking another Christmas meal for the family results in sweaty palms and flashbacks to dishes piled high, maybe it's time to consider treating yourself to a merry Christmas lunch at one of Melbourne's finest restaurants. Each of these venues is putting on something special at price points to suit all budgets.
Where to celebrate Christmas
Enjoy Christmas lunch at Melbourne’s longest bar while looking out over the Yarra River. For $145 you’ll get a two-hour drinks package (sparkling, red and white wine, beer, cider and soft drink) plus shared charcuterie and seafood to start, stuffed turkey breast, Meatsmith’s Christmas ham, sides and a wattleseed and cherry pav to finish.
You’ve heard of Christmas lunch: now meet Christmas afternoon tea. Aria Bar & Lounge at the Langham is hosting two Christmas afternoon tea sittings. There will be Christmas stuffing quiches, yule logs and Christmas puds plus chintzy tea favourites like scones with jam and cream, ribbon sandwiches and endless tea, espresso coffee and hot chocolate. Bubbles on arrival.
Everybody knows that Christmas dinner tastes twice as good 89 floors up. Christmas at Eureka 89 means four courses – you’ll taste Tasmanian oysters, chicken liver parfait, butter soaked prawns, turkey galantine and pecan and cherry pudding. All of which you can wash down with premium beers and wines. $260 for adults, $160 for teenagers and $80 for under 12s.
Spend your Christmas eating with the fishes. Sea Life Melbourne is hosting Christmas lunch for $159 per person. As far as unique Christmas settings go you can’t beat views of the Yarra River and a floor to ceiling tropical marine display. On the menu is smoked ham terrine, roast medallion of turkey and traditional Christmas pudding for dessert. The menu conscientiously avoids seafood – you wouldn't want to upset your fishy hosts.
If you’re of the opinion that no Aussie Christmas is complete without something dragged from the ocean, then Christmas lunch at the Sheraton is for you. They’re hosting a seafood buffet on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day accompanied by salads and desserts by executive sous chef Gil Zamudio – meaning you can have as much crab, salmon, oysters and prawns as your heart desires. The Sheraton is also doing a festive express lunch from December 1-22 and a Christmas-themed high tea throughout December.
‘Tis the season to be feasting and you can do just that at the opulent seafood buffet hosted by Intercontinental Melbourne the Rialto. Starting at $275 per person the buffet will leave you as full and as jolly as Santa himself with offerings like Moreton Bay bugs, blue swimmer crab, Crystal Bay prawns and New Zealand green-lipped mussels. There’s more than seafood to eat as well with salads, sides, turkey and studded honey glazed ham. Plus kids will love the Gundowring ice cream station.
Melbourne’s grand old Hotel Windsor is offering three different Christmas day lunches. For those who believe in the ‘stuff yourself silly’ Christmas tradition, there are two lunch buffets happening. Choose from either the buffet in the Bourke Room at 11.30am or the Grand Ballroom at 1pm. The Windsor is also hosting a five course Christmas degustation for those looking for something a little more refined – keep an eye out for the confit King Salmon and their housemade plum pudding.
There were three wise men and there are three Christmas day options at the Sofitel. Choose from Christmas lunch or dinner at No35 Restaurant or from Christmas lunch in the Grand Ballroom. All options mean you’ll sample a buffet of seafood, carvery meats and festive desserts. To help celebrate joyeux noel the Sofitel is also offering four French-inspired seasonal cocktails like le Pain D'épice (a spicy rum, amaretto and gingerbread number) and le Sucre D’orge (a Chartreuse, vodka, rosé cocktail with peppermint and candy cane sorbet).
For a Christmas lunch that treads the line between traditional and modern there’s QT Melbourne. The hotel’s Pascale Bar & Grill is hosting their yuletide celebrations with a five course menu for $170 per person ($89 for under 17s). Over lunch you’ll sample braised abalone, confit salmon, organic roast turkey, beef wellington and chocolate soufflé with Christmas pudding ice cream. You’ll get a glass of Mumm Champagne to start with but the real star is the cocktail trolley that will be roaming throughout service.
You’ve got two options if you want to dine at Allegro come December 25. Your first option is the Christmas lunch buffet, and boy, you’re not going to need to eat for days after it. It comes in at a hefty $330 a head but it’s well worth it for the quantity and quality of buffet dishes provided. Highlights include a suckling pig carvery, a triple cream brie fondue and 13 different desserts. Allegro is also doing a Christmas dinner featuring Chrissie favourites (think prawns, turkey and pudding) cooked to the Allegro standard.
Stuck for gift ideas?
Christmas is the time for family, friends, feasting and forgetting to buy presents until the last minute. Thankfully Melbourne has a number of December Christmas markets giving you ample opportunity to grab handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts that will make your loved ones smile on Christmas morning.