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Dining at Yugo Restaurant in Crowne Plaza Melbourne featuring Chef Matthew Butcher

Food visionary and multi-venue Creative Director, Matthew Butcher, has opened the doors to three new independent venues within the refurbished Crowne Plaza Melbourne; Yugo, Dive Bar and Pow Wow. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to a media launch lunch at Yugo restaurant and was highly impressed, if not inspired.

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Matthew Butcher inspires with the Yugo restaurant dining experience.

The project heralds a forward-thinking approach to hotels differentiating between its restaurant and bar offerings, with its accommodation. Each venue bears a unique and distinctive experiential quality and identity that Butcher worked with designers from around the world to achieve. Yugo restaurant is a game changer in bringing flair and innovation to a hotel menu, and an excitement where often hotel menus are predictable. Butcher also brings his signature touch of show and theatre to the table in the presentation of dishes and features of the fit out.

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“We have developed a unique set of venues that escape the ordinary of hospitality, from the concept, to the design, to the food, to how we engage and grow our staff. The experience we’re trying to create for our guests is happiness – just happiness. It feels like everything has got a bit too serious,” Butcher said.

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Butcher, who has worked alongside some of the industry’s international heavyweights including Gordon Ramsay, Shannon Bennett and Ryan Clift, is excited to do something that is yet to be pioneered in Australia; delivering distinctive restaurants and bars inside hotels. Critical to Butcher is that the spaces are run completely separate from the hotel. To this end we recommend the Yugo restaurant experience; whether you are staying at the hotel or not.

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Tonkatsu-inspired Fromage de tête a great start.

“What we’re trying to do is excite people, create trends, especially in hotels. We want people to walk in and just go, ‘Woah!’. It’s a thing everywhere else in the world – just not Australia. Not yet,” Butcher added.

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A touch of class in the Crowne Plaza Melbourne.

Perched along the Yarra River in the new multi-million-dollar refurbished Crowne Plaza Melbourne, Yugo, Dive Bar and Pow Wow leads the charge in hotel venues, designed with the priority on creating memorable dining and drinking experiences.

Guests may well feel like they’re in LA, welcomed with a venue dedicated valet parking service with an affordable $15 price tag. This is a major coup; just hand over the keys to the valet and walk only a few steps to the restaurant.

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Salt and Vinegar Salt Bush was moorish.

Melbourne’s newest immersive dining experience, YUGO by Matthew Butcher brings together the best of new world Japanese cuisine with the tradition of French cooking. This wonderful fusion sees the introduction of intriguing new dishes to the Melbourne dining scene including YUGO’s Tonkatsu-inspired Fromage de tête to start, followed by French Onion Broth ramen and Prawn Wonton served with silky peppercorn sauce and topped with caviar for the main course; and Matcha Ice Cream with shiso granita, macadamia and white chocolate to finish. We don't know of any other hotel menu like this.

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Sydney Rock Oysters with Ponzu Nitro brought another fresh flavour explosion.

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Rich and rewarding Chicken Liver Pate with Ponzu Nitro.

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A highlight was the Prawn Wontons served with silky peppercorn sauce and topped with caviar. Big flavours and big textures, and you find yourself enjoying the crunch, the delicate delicious wontons and then mopping up the sauce.

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Spicy Tuna is a hit with its creamy textures and welcome spice.

Celebrating the humble leek with this Grilled Leek dish.

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Inspired by the cultural melting pot that is Los Angeles, internationally acclaimed LA-based interior designer, Amy Kim, adopted a playful interior for Yugo ‘where beach life meets the city’ combining teal blues with brass and bronze accents, black and white striped patterns and monolithic terrazzo flooring. In many ways "un hotel like".

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Big flavours again with this unique French Onion Ramen; a great example of fusion between Japanese and French cuisines. The oozy soy egg is a showstopper, as is the crunch of gruyére.

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Premium wines that are approachable and perfectly matched the dishes.

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Pork belly with a delicious bold masterstock and persimmons is a dish that hits the high notes.

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Eggplant lovers rejoice with the Whole Eggplant; simple and perfectly cooked.

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A sense of theatre comes with the Matcha ice cream dessert, while the Yuzu Curd dessert was akin to an Eton Mess. Joyous dining in the Melbourne CBD.

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Kim said “no seat is a bad seat” as the space has been created with a layout that is free flowing, interactive and focused on the main entertainment – the kitchen. All seating has been arranged to provide the audience with different dining experiences. Immersive and playful.

A spectacle in the centre of the restaurant is the Private Dining Room – a glass box inspired by late-night viewings of the crime drama series, Lie to Me. The four glass walls have been installed with instant frosting technology for a unique full private dining experience at the quick switch of a button. A talking point with guests for your next dinner in the private room.

Highly recommended.


Crowne Plaza Melbourne

Level 2, 1-5 Spencer St

Melbourne VIC 3008

(03) 9648 2738

Opening Hours

Dinner Only

Tuesday – Thursday, 5pm – 10pm

Friday – Saturday, 5pm -11pm