Where to get lunch in Melbourne's outer suburbs

If ever you're caught in the east or the west, we've got lunch in the burbs covered.

Photograph: Graham Denholm

If you are heading back through the CBD to make it home after a suburban lunch, why don't you try one of these Melbourne bar crawls or go exploring in some of our fabulous laneways?

Westside lunches

1

Nhu Lan

Best for: cheap eats
Lunch: daily

For any person on the go, the banh mi is the perfect, one-handed meal. Those who love the French-influenced, porcine sandwich will know Nhu Lan to be one of the best producers of the sandwich. Another plus is the cost of your lunch will be less than the cost of your train trip.

Footscray
2

Café Lalibela

Best for: cheap eats
Lunch: daily

Café Lalibela is one of the oldest Ethiopian institutions in Melbourne, serving traditional and authentic Ethiopian food and beverages. The restaurant strives to maintain the traditions that are practised daily in East African nation. It has also started its own importing business, bringing three brands of Ethiopian beer to Australia, which have since become quite popular with customers.

Footscray
Advertising
3

Roti Road

Best for: cheap eats
Lunch: daily

You can find a whole mess of Malaysian curries and also a few laksas at the pan-Asian eatery, but we’re all about the roti. The buttery, tissue-thin flatbread flies fast and free around the Footscray restaurant. Every now and then, one of the team steps out from behind the counter and spins the dough in the air like a set of nunchucks.    

Footscray
4

Hem 27

Best for: the casual catch-up
Lunch: Tue-Sun

Flemington might be best known for hosting the race that stops the nation, but mere metres away from the racecourse is Hem 27, a Vietnamese eatery in the Showgrounds Village shopping complex, where you can bet on a winning meal for less than $20. If you think Vietnamese soups are are all a gradient of pho, you need to try the banh canh cua at Hem 27, a rich soup made with silky tapioca noodles that are similar to udon. The thick crab gravy soup is slightly spicy and tangy, with flecks of crab meat. Toppings are generous – there’s a surf and turf combo of fish cakes, mushrooms, and pork loaf – but the crowning glory is the deep fried soft shell crab. 

Flemington
Advertising
5

Harley and Rose

Best for: the boozy lunch
Lunch: Fri-Sun

The pizzeria is the demountable classroom of the food world. Not too glamorous, but eminently practical, it’s the saving grace of suburban life and the reason the aphorism “feed the rich, go home poor; feed the poor, go home rich” was coined. Tables are equipped with a DIY box of cutlery, napkins and all the accoutrements of good times (oil, vinegar and chilli sauce). Non-pizza fun sticks to the produce-driven brief: whispery slices of peppercorn-studded mortadella dressed with the jammy minimalism of mustard fruits; a mousse-light cod roe dip with salty fingers of wood oven focaccia. 

West Footscray
6

La Tortilleria

Best for: the casual catch-up
Lunch: Thur-Sun

As the Mexican wave swept Melbourne, Diana Hull couldn’t shake the feeling that something was amiss. Back in Mexico, the best tortillas are made with whole stoneground nixtamalised corn (dried corn that’s been treated with an alkali solution). So, Hull and partner Gerardo Lopez went out on a limb, ordered up a few thousand bucks worth of tortilla-making equipment, and set up Melbourne’s first tortilleria using whole corn. There is a small menu of Mexico City street food - the crowd favourite is tacos al Pastor. Free-range (Otway) pork is marinated in achiote, ancho and guajillo chillies and – wait for it – cola. 

Kensington
Advertising
7

Station Hotel

Best for: the power lunch
Lunch: daily 

After months of refurbishment, pub fans of the west can return and expect the same friendly, relaxed atmosphere, great craft beer and wine lists, and Station Hotel's famous steaks. Locals and steak aficionados can select from a menu that offers premium grain- and grass-fed steaks from Australian beef, including 300g Great Southern Pinnacle porterhouses to 200g Sher Wagyu. 

 

Footscray
8

Victoria Hotel

Best for: the boozy lunch
Lunch: Fri-Sun

The old suburban atmosphere has been preserved at the Vic with paint peeling off bricks, concrete floors and the occasional floral print rug straight out of 1972. To wet your whistle, the drinks list is short and to the point, aiming for simplicity and quality over choice and intrigue. The food is top notch. The mains section includes pub classics done with serious skill, and starters are more creative, like vegetable and samphire fritters. 

Footscray
Advertising
9

Rudimentary

Best for: the casual catch-up
Lunch: daily

Rudimentary – a cream-and-caramel-coloured shipping container conversion – has sprouted up like a metallic mushroom on the site of a former car park in Footscray. Yes, it’s in once rough-as-guts Footscray: an area known for its plethora of cheap Vietnamese street eats, not its banging brunch spots. We wish we were one of the lucky locals, contentedly nesting here with their Macbooks and Small Batch Roast lattes. Any man who serves up a breakfast dish of braised pork belly is all right by us, especially when pork scratching-style pig’s ear crisps, two perfectly fried eggs, red chilli shards and a slice of sourdough, licked with sweet-sour tamarind sauce, are added to the mix. 

Footscray
10

Laksa King

Best for: cheap eats
Lunch: Mon-Fri

Laksa King is a large, clean canteen with long communal tables, a small courtyard area with bamboo plants specialising in laksa. A tall blackboard menu lists all the Malaysian classics, including eight kinds of the namesake dish. For the record, Laksa King does a great version of this much-loved classic: the big, deep bowl has a rich broth, a good measure of coconut creaminess and a nice warm hit of chilli that won’t break your tastebuds. There’s a mix of hokkien and vermicelli noodles and a healthy amount of shredded chicken, prawns (two), fried tofu squares, fishcake, and deep-fried eggplant that has sucked up all the flavour of the broth. 

Flemington
Advertising
Show more

Eastside lunches

1

Shira Nui

Best for: the power lunch
Lunch: Tue-Sat

It's a half hour drive from the city, but Shira Nui is definitely worth the trip if you're a lover of Japanese cuisine. For lunch you can get sashimi and nigiri specials with miso and salads. Otherwise, share a platter with friends or choose from the sushi menu. Call and book because these guys fill up fast.

Glen Waverley
2

O.My

Best for: the boozy lunch
Lunch: Sat-Sun

If you've ever felt the need to meet an overachiever, head to O.My. Brothers Chayse and Blayne Bertoncello are on the low to middle end of 20, own their own business, grow all their vegetables used at the restaurant, have received a two-hat accolade and book out for every service. Chayse is in charge of the beverage list, including temperance matches he has developed in-house, and isn't shy in a vermouth pour. Strap in over your degustation-only experience.

Beaconsfield
Advertising
3

Gold Leaf: Springvale

Best for: the casual catch-up
Lunch: daily

It's a quick, cheap, high-variety option where everyone can drink tea and get back to work. Gold Leaf in Springvale is one of five Gold Leaf restaurants also in Burwood, Preston, Dockland and Sunshine. It’s a popular place for weekend yum cha, and a good range of dim sum is on offer. It's the closest you'll get to feeling like you're in Hong Kong without actually needed to wait for an international flight.  

Springvale
4

Little Sichuan

Best for: cheap eats
Lunch: daily

As part of the Dainty Sichuan group, Little Sichuan specialises in the build-your-own hot pot genre where you play pick 'n' mix with a range of ingredients out of a refrigerated cabinet. From there, you pay by weight and choose your broth. Other menu items include stewed pig's trotters and rou jia mo (Chinese-style hamburgers made with a grilled bun and stewed meats). Expect a line when you visit.

Box Hill
Advertising
5

Dolan Uyghur Food Heaven

Best for: the casual catch-up
Lunch: Sat-Sun

Take a drive out to Springvale and feast on some traditional Uyghur halal food. These guys have a menu of over 100 seafood, meat and vegetarian dishes from hand-made noodles to kebabs and soups. The portion sizes are more than generous, and the place shows you Chinese food isn't just dim sum and spring rolls.

Springvale

Looking for more places to grab lunch?

Comments

0 comments