South Melbourne Night Market Kicks Off With A Bang
South Melbourne Night Market has kicked off with a bang, with large crowds getting in the swing. For eight glorious weeks the city's oldest market is transformed at twilight into a magical night market, offering hawker style food, pop-up stalls, entertainment and music in one big cultural feast.
Melbourne's love affair with dining out and new experiences is intensified with the charming South Melbourne Night Market running from 15 January to 5 March. The World Loves Melbourne was invited along to the first night launch (with media group), and was amazed at the huge buzz and attendance on a coldish Melbourne evening. Now in it's sixth year, set amidst the beautiful Victorian streetscape of Cecil and Coventry Streets in South Melbourne, the Night Market has become an annual staple on Melbourne's events calendar. The city's north south divide is bridged as Melburnians from all over come to enjoy the festival atmosphere and ever-changing, eclectic offerings from stallholders.
Rukmal from The Plus Ones pictured on the left with friend from the UK.
Claypots Evening Star was our first destination, a sister to the iconic Claypots Seafood Bar in St Kilda. How good is this place! Claypots Evening Star is a Teppanyaki-style seafood restaurant, complete with a peddler cart on the footpath.
Renowned community identity, owner and chef extraordinaire Renan Goksin (pictured below surveying the scene in blue jacket) takes the helm on this culinary journey, where you can enjoy the spectacle and great taste of seafood fresh off the teppanyaki grill.
The World Loves Melbourne was taken by these giant prawns from the grill. I could stay on these all night...
Claypots Evening Star staff in action...
Cuttlefish are superb...
As are the fresh mussels...
And the compelling slightly charred calamari...
Across from Claypots Evening Star is the impressive Mexican restaurant Paco y Lola. The sardine toast above was delectable, a sample of Paco y Lola's simple yet delicious street style including tostaditos, quesadillas, burritos and share plates. Nachos cannot be found on the menu carefully designed by Chef Fabian Diaz, but there is tequila, tequila and more tequila.
The World Loves Melbourne found the burritos to be delightful, with a moorish casing.
We were highly impressed with this modern Mexican restaurant.
Then it was off to the SO:ME space inside the Market where we encountered DJ's pumping tunes...
For shoppers, creative hub SO;ME Space welcomes people to chill out with a drink, catch their revolving line up of DJs and check out the best emerging and established designers including Mr Simple, The SuperCool, Lost in Seasons, Kreel, Bakerlite, LO & Behold and Stone Glint & Bone, as well as pop up stores. Retail stores, set up along the skirts of the Market, offer an eclectic range of fashion, design and craft.
The Red Hummingbird & The Emerald Peacock Pop Up Cocktail Bar was the next station on our tour, brought to the Market by two of Melbourne's iconic rooftop bars - The Red Hummingbird & The Emerald Peacock. This is a stylish mini bar carrying a collection of premium spirits and bespoke cocktails. Enjoy a glass of Champagne, a cocktail from the cocktail catalogue or perhaps a drink designed especially for you! We imbibed these refreshing cocktails served in jars.
Great shopping in the SO:ME Space...
South Melbourne Night Market has a festive vibe - enhanced with bands like La Rumba gypsy flamenco live action!
Snag Society hit the mark with a dedication to exploring their curiosity with people and their diverse cultures through the wonderful and all conquering Snag. These are savvy snags with the flavours of the nations. Bringing real food, inspired by real people and real cultures, Snag Society's gourmet edge takes the backyard bbq hotdog to a whole new level.
White Guy Cooks Thai (below) uses fresh seasonal ingredients, sourced from local suppliers. White Guy Cooks Thai is bringing his take on Asian Hawker Food to the streets. With gluten-free and vegetarian options, White Guy delivers restaurant quality fresh and fast fare. Having travelled, cooked and eaten all over Asia he has been cooking furiously ever since, capturing the fresh, clean flavours of authentic Asian Street Food.
We then enjoyed the hospitality of Overdosa, Indian street food merchants, a mobile pop up street food experience that provides affordable, healthy and delicious Indian snacks (Dosa) to the adventurous taste-buds of Melburnians.
Food with nuances and subtle spice...
Although we didn't have time to stop at the Greek Street Food experience with Kara's traditional Kalamaki, we admired the freshest traditional Greek souvas of lamb, pork, chicken, beef and falafel cooked on a stick and served with chips.
We were also taken with Nem n Nem Vietnamese street food, taking market goers from Coventry street to Vietnam. Nem n Nem offers a selection of snacks that you would find in Hanoi's narrow alleys and tree-lined boulevards.
We managed to visit St Gerrys donuts and fudge puppies, a fresh and exciting modern spin on traditional world sourced desserts.
Those Girls Iced Tea were a refreshing station, with iced tea specialists Lauren and Elena fulfilling their self described "life long duty" bringing market goers the most superb, unique iced teas for those summer nights. The World Loves Melbourne enjoyed the home made lemonade iced tea.
Finally we journeyed to Golden Gate & Dutchess pop up bar for a final cocktail and more cuisine. Brought to market goers by two of Melbourne's sublime watering holes, the Golden Gate Hotel and city hotspot Dutchess have joined forces to serve a selection of classic and bespoke beverages from their pop up bar. Their menu will surprise and delight the thirstiest of market goers.
What a first night! For a full line up of music, designers, food stalls, trucks and bars go to southmelbournenightmarket.com.au.
Whether you're meeting with friends after work or entertaining the family, the South Melbourne Night Market has something for everyone this summer.
Dates: each Thursday evening, from 15 January to 5 March
Time: 5.30pm to 9.30pm
Price: Free entry, Music and Entertainment
Address: South Melbourne Market, Under the Verandahs, Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne
Thanks to TS Publicity and Emma Costello for a brilliant evening.