You know you’re on to something good, when Broadsheet Melbourne (the total authority on cultural life and everything great in this city) is talking about it. So when they recently published their Guide To District Docklands – unearthing the highlights of the transformed Melbourne precinct, our ears pricked up.  Have a read…

Image by Tiffany Coubrough

 

Guide to Docklands

The once-sleepy end of town is undergoing a major transformation. In partnership with District Docklands, we unearth the highlights of the waterside precinct.

It has all the hallmarks of a major international attraction: water views, fine-diners, markets, bars, and even free transport thanks to its location in Melbourne’s free tram zone. But until recently, Docklands’ lures have largely remained hidden in plain sight. A major new development – District Docklands – is going to change that. From floating barbeques, to shopping giants and artist markets, here’s our guide to the young suburb’s attractions, both established and new.

 Image by Jake Roden

 

Eat and drink
A prime dining lure in Docklands since opening in 2014, Bar Nacional is a Spanish-influenced oasis nestled on Collins Street. It’s s pintxos bar offering contemporary dishes including sardines with grilled bread; a chorizo hot dog; Josper-roasted lamb ribs with a Pedro Ximinez glaze; and a trio of Spanish-inflected desserts. It also has a huge charcuterie selection, including a bellota puro (a type of Iberico ham) cured for 36 months that tastes like melted acorns. That array is bolstered by beer, sangria, and a list of Spanish and Australian wines managed by Jeff Salt (Vue de Monde, Circa the Prince).

Johnny Di Francesco’s 90 Secondi, based at the foot of Etihad Stadium, has a custom-made wood-fire pizza oven shipped from Napoli. It offers Neapolitan pizza staples as well as deep-fried zucchini flowers, pan-fried octopus, char-grilled lamb ribs and fresh tomato salads with bocconcini. There’s also a selection of desserts, including vanilla and strawberry-infused panna cotta. And a lengthy wine list.

Rubbing shoulders with those established fine-diners this summer is a newcomer: The Food Truck Park. A rotating line-up of some of Melbourne’s most popular food trucks, the new attraction in District Docklands will offer a mix of indoor and outdoor dining among surrounding street art every Friday during summer.

Image by Tiffany Coubrough

Shop
Docklands has long been a lure for shoppers thanks to its tight collection of retail big names. That will expand with the introduction of Swedish fashion giant H&M, which will appear as part of a $150 million redevelopment of the area. H&M will rub shoulders with General Pants Co., Platypus, Canterbury, Hype, and Miniso – the chic alternative to Daiso – and its array of simple Japanese products.

Do
Library on the Dock takes full advantage of its positioning on the water offering glittering views of the surrounding area. Inside the zero-carbon-footprint building is a multipurpose wonderland. Alongside the modern library features such as free wi-fi, meeting rooms, and a cafe, the building features music studios, 3D printers and even table tennis.

Feel like having a barbeque in the area but all the stations are full? No problem. Take to the water on an Aqua Donut. A circular vessel with a gas-bottle barbeque in its centre, the Aqua Donut can seat 10 friends and features LED lights and a shade umbrella. Cutlery, plates, and barbeque are all supplied, you just need to bring food and drinks.

Dialogue in the Dark is a social enterprise located on Star Crescent, Docklands, and is run in partnership with Guide Dogs Australia. Guests are lead through pitch-black spaces designed to sound like Melbourne, allowing everyday experiences to take on new meaning. It’s as much art as it is an educational experience.

The full article can be found at www.broadsheet.com.au/melbourne/food-and-drink/article/guide-docklands… and it’s totally worth the read!