Words by Carlie Tucker
The power lunch: a delicate balance of control where every element plays a role. From the food to the atmosphere, finding a great place to power lunch can be the difference in a successful meeting. So when choosing the best places to mediate over meals, it's only natural to start with Melbourne.
The Victorian capital is widely accepted as a leading food scene in Australia, providing business men and women ample opportunity to get out for a mid-day nosh and negotiation. Be it schmoozing prospective clients or picking the brains of your fellow colleagues, here are some top spots to power lunch in Melbourne.
Image courtesy of Paco's Tacos website
A Bite On The Go:
Most office goers will attest to the fact that days can get busy. Especially if you're travelling. Your schedule is likely packed with back-to-back meetings, and squeezing in a bite to eat can be a challenge. Never fear, Melbourne is home to plenty of lunch spots that are quick and easy without busting your budget.
You can't go wrong with a taco if you're in a rush. They're easily eaten on the run and Paco's Tacos in Bourke Street offers up a menu of delicious soft shells for six bucks a pop. Serving the likes of Wagyu beef, pulled pork and cuttlefish varieties, there is plenty to tempt the tastebuds. There's also plenty of outdoor seating if you have a free second to savour your meal.
When you're talking about efficient service, you can't overlook Don Don. Serving up bento boxes and authentic Japanese meals in Little Lonsdale Street, this inner city staple has developed a reputation for being the place for quality food in a hurry. Tofu, beef and chicken dishes are all available as are staples like Miso soup. What's better is that everything is well under $20.
Image courtesy of Mrs Parmas website
Going Out With Colleagues:
Business travellers don't often have the opportunity to pack a lunch at their hotel, so the colleague lunch is a popular mid-day past time. It's a chance to take a break and discuss anything but work. A little bit fun with cheap to middle of the road prices, these casual meet-up spots are perfect for get-togethers with colleagues.
Mrs Parmas on Little Bourke Street is a warm and welcoming space where local craft beers and hearty handmade parmas reign supreme. Serving sizes are generous and large tables for bigger groups are available, making it perfect for a colleague lunch break. A variety of chicken, veal and eggplant parmigianas are accounted for with the likes of the Ragin' Cajun and The Dimi offering an international twist.
It's hard to have a bad meeting if BBQ is involved. We're talking finger lickin', stick to your ribs American style BBQ. Fancy Hank's BBQ Joint in Queen Street serves all the quintessential BBQ fare, cooked low and slow to a smoky deliciousness. Meat is served per 100 grams at very reasonable prices and can be accompanied by everything from corn bread to hush puppies.
Images courtesy of The Grain Store website
Let's Talk Business:
If your business lunch is more about business than lunch, you'll probably want to pick something a little more formal. Luckily Melbourne is no stranger to the quieter spots where you can actually get some work done. And while you may be focusing on business, you won't have to sacrifice on taste at these top picks.
The Grain Store in Flinders Lane provides the opportunity for a more intimate dining experience amongst the hustle and bustle of the city. Offering smart-casual style with midrange prices, it's a perfect choice for those that want to discuss more important matters over lunch. The menu is made up of a combination of European-inspired plates created from locally sourced ingredients.
Tucked away in Corrs Lane, Sichuan House has been serving up top Sichuanese dishes since 2004. It has developed a loyal following and for good reason. The varied menu caters to all tastes (including those that prefer minimal spice) with vegetarian and share plates available. Prices run from cheap to middle of the road.
Image courtesy of Epocha website
Puttin' On The Ritz:
Sometime the occasion calls for a little bit of refinement. Perhaps you're hoping to impress a prospective client or give a last little push to seal a deal. No matter what your motives, finding a nice restaurant with great food and great atmosphere to suitably impress your lunch guest is easily done at these Melbourne establishments.
Flower Drum is practically a Melbourne institution. Having held it's spot in Market Lane for more than two decades, it's known as much for its impeccable service as it is its fantastic Cantonese cuisine. Lunch a la carte and banquets are both available with top dishes ranging from Peking Duck to Baked Mud Crab.
At the fringes of the CBD, in Rathdowne Street, Epocha serves up a heaping does of atmosphere along with its European-inspired plates. It's warm and inviting, modern yet traditional with generous plates that encourage diners to share both food and stories accompanied by top local tipples and fantastic service.