Meet Harvie: Armadale’s halcyon hangout that refuses to take a bad photo. Owners, Andrew Savvas and Nick Foley, modestly say they’ve done little to fix up the two-storey Art Deco build. What they have done is let the venue’s striking bones shine through in a showcase of natural beauty.
Elegant interiors that could lean stark – white marble tables, sculptural architecture, monochrome artworks – are softened with Parisian-style chairs, blue velvet banquettes and greenery dotted throughout.
Harvie has a space for every occasion, whether that’s date night, kick ons, or sunkissed sundowners. The rooftop is beautiful, just like the people who grace it. It’s also regularly heaving, so get ready to make friends as you squeeze between tables and end up in the background of each other’s selfies.
While the terrace might feel like a main course, don’t skip the amuse-bouche of the spiral staircase. In the foyer, tip your head back and admire this winding work of art before watching clouds float by in the circular skylight.
If the weather’s ‘pulling a Melbourne’, head to the front room downstairs and nab the curved window seat. Out back, the courtyard is disarmingly cosy on a cold night (the fireplace helps), and idyllic in summer, when the retractable roof lets in the best of the season. In autumn, the team will unveil a second rooftop bar where you can choose a cigar to pair with your favourite dram.
Cocktails change to match the weather, and you’ll see lots of organic mixes on the list. The signature drink is a Sunny Arvo-spiked Spritz that comes donning a dried orange wheel like a stylish beret. The Peachy cocktail tastes like a bag of Trolli lollies all grown up. It could stray saccharine, but rose bitters rein in the sweetness to strike the perfect balance.
The wine list, thoughtfully curated by Norm Houghton, stamps its passport in France, Austria, Spain, and Italy, but remembers to smile at Australian producers too. Our pick is the skin-contacty Yugen Tropical Sunrise orange wine.
The food menu is tight and suited to snacking. Smoky hummus (made by Savvas’s mum) comes loaded with a crisp mix of fried garlic, shallots and chilli and deserves to be eaten by the spoonful. The rolls are a crowd favourite: plump chunks of lobster and prawn tucked into buttery brioche buns, served with a lemon wedge and a racing stripe of smoked paprika. Glasses, coasters and deli paper are all stamped with ‘Harvie’, so no matter how you arrange your overflowing table, your still life shots will look like Louvre-ready artworks.
The location is breathtaking at dusk and Harvie knows it: the website has a daily sunset timer. On an overcast day, Harvie is moody and tempestuous in all the right ways; when the sun is shining, it’s a shot of happiness right to the heart.