South-east Asian hawker centres are the stuff of legends. These open-air complexes house a variety of food stalls that sell bang-for-your-buck meals for the masses. Now Melbourne has its own version in the form of HWKR.
HWKR is an innovative new Asian food centre located on A’Beckett Street on the north side of the city. But there’s one main difference between traditional hawker centres and HWKR: instead of permanent food vendors, local and international restaurants will be coming in for exclusive three-month residencies in the building’s state-of-the-art commercial kitchens.
The site opened in early 2018 with an impressive first round of hosts including Hong Kong’s sandwich kings Bread and Beast, MasterChef’s Reynold Poernomo’s Sydney dessert hub Koi Dessert Bar and his new savoury restaurant Monkey’s Corner, fellow MasterChef alum (and 2017 winner) Diana Chan’s first restaurant, Chanteen, plus Melbourne favourite Rice Paper Scissors’ exclusive pop-up Khao.
Drinks come courtesy of the Manymore café, an enterprise set up by the Melbourne-based non-for-profit MAI Foundation. There is a full Asian-influenced cocktail list, including a No Comparison cocktail (bourbon, umeshu and Campari) and a Panama Split (pandan and banana rum, condensed milk, white chocolate and citrus). There's also coffee and brekky items from the STREAT team.
The space itself boasts three dedicated eating areas over two platform levels, so there's plenty of room to schmooze.