If you're into your car and you love driving it, you've no doubt found yourself out late at night after a fun drive and in need of a good feed. Well, given I love food almost as much as I love driving, we headed into Melbourne's CBD after dark to show you three of the city's best late-night eateries – perfect places for that post-drive chow-down.
Being Melbourne and being late, it’s cold. So we decide to start somewhere that’ll warm us up a little.
Lucy Liu – 23 Oliver Lane, Open 11am-Late
With a menu chock full of super delicious Asian and Asian-inspired food, Lucy Liu is the perfect place to start.
Lucy Liu is located about halfway down Oliver Lane, off Flinders Street. Its neon red sign is a small beacon that stands above an ultra-cool entrance corridor that slowly rises uphill toward another red neon ‘Lucy Liu’ sign.
Although parking can be tricky depending on your chosen night out, one of the best things about heading into the city for a feed a little later in the evening, is that finding a near-by parking spot is so much easier.
We park on Flinders Lane, negotiate Oliver Lane's cobbles, and make our way inside.
Highlighted by an open bar and an open kitchen, the upbeat and hip atmosphere at Lucy Liu is matched by funky and friendly staff.
We sample two dishes: a soft shell crab ‘Jianbing’ pancake roll with spicy hoi sin sauce ($14) and steamed vegetarian dumplings with spinach and water chestnut in Sichuan chili oil ($14). Needless to say, both are delicious and both disappear in minutes.
If you like spicy, these are your people.
Nieuw Amsterdam – 106-112 Hardware Street, Open 12pm-Late
Our second stop is a must if you’re craving good old, American-style cooking. We’re talking smoked chicken, beef brisket, even New York Cheesecake.
Nieuw Amsterdam is tucked away in Hardware Street, off Lonsdale Street, and if you’re looking for it, keep an eye out for gold ‘Nieuw Amsterdam’ lettering on a window, or windmill-stamped wooden circles hanging above your head.
Make your way inside and you’re presented with two choices: head downstairs to the delightfully low-lit bar or upstairs to the bright and busy restaurant. We head upstairs to again sample two dishes.
Having already sold out of the waffled mac and cheese ($12) we had been drooling over the prospect of, we go with two others: pork trotter and ham hock nuggets with burnt onion jam and sour apple ($14) and Rangers Valley beef brisket with onion, mushroom and potato salad ($28). Being gentlemen, the crew at Nieuw Amsterdam also insist we try their fried potato salad with bacon and spring onion ($9.50) – we oblige.
Blending flavour and finesse, the impressively beefy brisket is contrastingly complemented by delicately cubed nuggets topped with compressed sour apple circles.
We leave Nieuw Amsterdam with two thoughts: Why did we eat before coming? And how are we supposed to have room for a third stop?
MoVida Next Door – 164 Flinders Street, Open 12pm-12am
Now, when it comes to late-night eats in Melbourne, it doesn’t get any more ‘Melbourne’ than our last spot. A treat for your eyes as much as your stomach, welcome to MoVida.
Positioned literally next door to MoVida proper, MoVida Next Door is nestled into the corner of Flinders Street and Melbourne’s famous Hosier Lane – an infinitely cool location renowned for its high-end street art.
Open late Tuesday to Sunday, this is the place to go for Spanish tapas. But, distract yourself from the graffiti and hanging shoes long enough, and you can also sneak in for dessert… just like we did.
Sitting at the bar with a view of the kitchen, Flinders Street and Hosier Lane, we are recommended two dishes: Spanish doughnuts (or churros) with rich drinking chocolate ($12.50) and a baked citrus and cinnamon custard ‘crema Catalana’ ($13.50). In short, both are simply delicious.
The four churros are dunked and crunched into oblivion and the crema Catalana – similar to a creme brulee – has its top layer shattered before being devoured. Yum!
With all three late-night eats ticked off our list, our night comes to an end. But what a great way to enjoy a night: a fun drive out in the twisties, a cruise into the city, heaps of amazing food, and a chance to check out some really cool locations.
If you’ve got any late-night food favourites in your city, let us know. I’m pretty much always hungry and myself and the CarAdvice team are only too happy to travel…
Note: CarAdvice would like to extend a huge thank you to Annabelle, Megan and Erin from Lucy Liu, Mikey and Justin from Nieuw Amsterdam, Alex and Mel from MoVida Next Door, and, of course, the man behind MoVida itself, Frank Camorra, for all their support, time, enthusiasm, and patience.
Click on the Photos tab for more images by Tom Fraser.
Videography by Igor Solomon.