Workday lunches need not be a rushed affair at the desk. Given the right circumstances, they can be a chance to unwind – if only for an hour – and take a breather from all the emails, meetings and deadlines. Take the opportunity to bond with your workmates away from the water cooler, have a sit-down lunch and try out some new dishes while you’re at it.
You may never have considered it, but plenty of your favourite after-work dinner destinations are open throughout the day, offering affordable lunch specials that will make a refreshing change from your go-to sandwich and the uninspiring cafe down the road. We’ve put together a list of top picks and deals around Melbourne that are sure to satisfy.
Acland St Cantina’s Taco Club
From noon to 4pm, the Cantina serves up tacos at $5 a pop, meaning you can have a lunchtime fiesta without breaking the bank. Try the classic Baja fried fish taco and the Al Pastor with spit-roasted pork. If you’re on the run, grab something from the Food-To-Go menu like the hearty Cubano pulled pork sandwich ($15).
Circa’s Orient Express
For quick lunch meetings, try Circa’s Orient Express lunch offer. A mere $35 will serve two delicious courses with a glass of wine, beer or sake. Global street food is the offering of choice here, with soft shell crab and kimchi, followed up with a fresh Vietnamese coleslaw served with Asian pears and crispy shallots. Alternatively, there’s always the sweet and sour duck san choi bao available too –paired with a hot steaming bowl of somen noodles.
Newmarket Hotel’s Latin Feast
Have a lunchtime Latin feast that’s kind to your wallet. Newmarket Hotel’s lunch menu is chockfull of cheap lunch options, with $5 tacos, $12 tortas (sandwich) and $12 caldos (soups). Inspired by Latin street food from California to Cuba, you’ll be feasting on anything from soft tacos with pork carnitas, to the Mexican version of a steak sandwich, complete with tomatillo verde. But when the weather truly gets a little cooler, try a belly-warming bowl of the smooth wild mushroom, oregano and sherry soup.
Middle Park Hotel’s Pub Fare
Try some traditional pub fare with slightly more finesse at Middle Park Hotel. Eat at the counter for $16 and try the house-made potpie of the day or a hot dish of braised short rib with White Rabbit ale and mash for a hearty lunch fix. Alternatively, have a bar meal and order the Warialda Belted Galloway beef burger ($20), a mighty big burger complete with melted cheddar cheese and pickles. Order a side of shoestring fries for the ultimate bar lunch.
Albert Park Hotel’s Chef’s Selection
The five-course Mediterranean chef’s selection ($45) at Albert Park Hotel is the king of long business lunches. When in doubt, leave it up to the chef and he’ll pick five suitable menu items for you. Expect dishes from Turkey to Greece – from the warm hummus with minced dukkah, spiced prawns and flatbread to the salty and sweet tyri saganaki, served with sweet potatoes and spiced figs. Albert Park Hotel also offers a selection of sustainably sourced fish, so look out for dishes such as the fried monkfish with fattoush salad and the katafi prawns.