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Food, Top 10

Best Business Lunch Restaurants in Melbourne

Best Melbourne restaurants for a business lunch can make or break a deal. Having worked in the corporate world for many years we have our business lunch favourites.

The best business lunch restaurants in Melbourne are where you can expect stylish atmosphere, great service and the perfect place to discuss those business strategies or KPI's... Here are some of our favourite restaurants in Melbourne for business lunches:

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal - Crown

Dinner by Heston Blumenthal is an attractive option for corporates; you can come in with clients and enjoy a first class dining experience but be back to the office in time for that "meeting". Corporates can enjoy a bespoke world class dining experience in Melbourne. What client wouldn't be impressed with "this dish was served as one of 138 dishes at the coronation of James II..."

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Important to corporates is a great sommelier, and Dinner by Heston boasts world's best. The staff are well versed not only in service, but in the history of food. And the food is innovative and delicious!

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Dinner by Heston is a must visit foodie destination in Melbourne. The mindset of it being just for special occasions needs to be broken; this is a high end contemporary bistro you can return to time and again without breaking your wallet. It's sophisticated, clever, professional and of the highest service standards yet also relaxed and casual with a spoonful of fun. Highly recommended.

Cumulus - CBD

Cumulus is iconic Melbourne - this is one of the first places you think of when wanting to meet for a great meal and business lunch. Get some shared plates such as the Slow cooked lamb. The only drawback is that you can't book. We've met here for business several times, even for a sharp smart breakfast that caters for all tastes and it never fails to impress. This is a place to meet with small teams, probably not the whole department.

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Consistency has been an issue for some longstanding cafes and restaurants, and Cumulus Inc. still delivers when it comes to a standout culinary experience. Punters still flock to Cumulus Inc. amid a sea of competition in Flinders Lane and the CBD. The World Loves Melbourne decided to pop in to Cumulus Inc. one crisp Melbourne morning. Step off Flinders Lane and through the old door into a delightful warehouse/studio like space with high ceilings and large windows. If you can snare a table you're doing well here, such is the popularity.

This is not your typical cafe but can be described as a cafe and restaurant, where you can imbibe a fine breakfast, call in for coffee or glass of wine, and partake in a fabulous lunch and dinner experience. Or head upstairs to Cumulus Up. You may find yourself at Cumulus Inc. several times a day. The World Loves Melbourne has visited Cumulus Inc. many times over the years, and each experience has been "spot on". 

Epocha - North Carlton

Epocha in North Carlton impresses for a business lunch with its old world European charm. The location is magical across the road from Carlton Gardens, and the ambience is captivating; almost a refuge from the hustel and bustel and just on the outskirts of the city. The food is generous and stylish and you can discuss your strategic plan here without hindrance. We imbibed the Sirloin (pictured below), Roast chicken and the slow cooked lamb, with an impressive wine list.

Epocha has an immediate impact as you enter; this is about a fine dining experience, with Epocha meaning "a new or distinctive era". Distinctive and distinction. Epocha blazed from the "get go", gaining a hat in The Age Good Food Guide and quickly establishing itself as a serious culinary destination in Melbourne.

Greeted by owners Angie Giannakodakis and Guy Holder, we were given a taste of their culinary and hospitality philosophy before sampling the food. Angie has a pedigree of running the front of house at The Press Club, and Guy has worked at fine Melbourne dining establishments and as Catering Manager at The House of Commons in London (I could imagine The Chancellor of the Exchequer dining at Epocha). They know what they're doing ten times over, and work hard at providing diners with that certain je ne sais quoi.

The fit out is a nod to the classic, and is understated rather than overstated. Large windows with chunky frames, elegant timber floor, and green wicker chairs and wooden tables embedded with tiles. 

Chin Chin - CBD

Chin Chin is a bustling restaurant not without noise; but the conviviality is attractive for a business lunch. Come here for iconic Melbourne vide and bold Asian flavours that work, from the Caramelised pork dish to the Pad Thai. We've had no trouble meeting here for business despite the action all around. Pose in nearby Hosier Lane for a team photo.

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Chin Chin in Flinders Lane continues to colourfully dominate in a competitive Melbourne culinary scene after about 4 years, with kudos to Chris Lucas and the team.  The World Loves Melbourne visited Chin Chin recently with the partners of top accounting firm Griffin O'Dea Bowler (of which we are a consultant in Melbourne). We were attending a nearby Finance Conference at Grand Hyatt presented by Lonsdale Financial Group and keen to hit on this iconic restaurant.

Another area where Chin Chin shines is that Asian fusion is done outstandingly. Every dish has punch. The spice and heat factor are not dumbed down. Melbourne diners are discerning and want the authentic; bring on the bold big flavours. Credit to rock star chef Benjamin Cooper whose profile is growing nationally and internationally.

The Pad Thai is one of the best in Melbourne with its zesty flavours and generous amount of quality prawns.Chin Chin excels when it comes to fresh ingredients, including the dish voted as the best pork dish in Asia! The World Loves Melbourne rates the Caramelised Sticky Pork with Sour Herb Salad  & Chilli Vinegarette as one of the best pork dishes in the world (let alone Asia). The fresh zingy Asian salad ingredients with this dish complement perfectly and cut through the richness of the pork. The sauce in the bowl was also a highlight which we absorbed with a side of rice.

Pei Modern - CBD

A stylish restaurant in a handy location off Collins St, Pei Modern boasts innovative food of the highest order. The lighting is dim adding to the occasion, so make sure your business documents can be seen in dim light (extra bold). Pei Modern has taken all before it since its opening.

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The name of Pei Modern is a tribute to I.M. Pei who designed The Louvre's glass pyramid (and who designed the Collins Street building that Pei Modern resides in).

In a fabulous precinct at 45 Collins Street, one can walk around to Pei Modern neighbouring The Sofitel. With one of the best hotels in Melbourne next door Pei Modern attracts plenty of business and professional types. The outdoor area is a great spot to enjoy the precinct's upper crust ambience. 

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Pei Modern is certainly modern in it's fit out (closed for refurbishment but about to open again at time of writing). The use of timber is awesome in terms of walls and seating (with cushions). A board runs across the back wall with menu options duly written in large writing. A mirror adorns the side of the room (with a trendy effect) and there are classic white tiles on the floor. Lighting was used sparsely for effect and it was almost dim with spotlights punctuating (it was a grey Melbourne day when I visited the first time).

Movida - CBD

Chic and playful Movida will impress clients with it's sense of theatre. Several years after Frank Camorra's masterstroke in opening MoVida it still wows and is one of the best places to take international guests.  

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You are struck by the art on the walls, the funky lighting, intimate tables, large blackboard with menu choices, ambient music, open kitchen,and just the sheer business of the place. Watching the staff is a treat as they move quickly to satisfy the many guests. This restaurant fills quickly. And the staff are all engaging and professional. You are dealing with a level of dining sophistication.

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MoVida has some famous standout dishes. Being a lover of tapas I was keen to taste several of their well known offerings. Check out this delicate sublime Hand-filleted Cantabrian Artisan Anchovy on Crouton with Smoked Tomato Sorbet. Too good. Close your eyes and hear a symphony. The balance was amazing. A hit of salt from the anchovy offset by the tomato sorbet, together with the crunch of the crouton. The MoVida website tells us this dish was inspired by the Basque Bar culture. Anchovies are big business on the northern coastline of Spain and this dish combines their saltiness with a hit of tangy salty tomato.

Vue De Monde - CCBD

Vue De Monde is the place to go if you really want to impress your clients. Make sure there's plenty of scope in terms of your credit card and delegated spending limit. The Directors may want to know why you chose an expensive restaurant, but after you vlose the deal you can point to the expected profits.

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Bistro Guillaume - Crown

Guillaume impresses at all his restaurants, and a chic French restaurant is a great place to visit for a business lunch. Located by the Yarra in the Crown complex, this restaurant is a winner. It gives the punters what they want; rewarding rustic fare.

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Bistro Guillaume impressed with Half a roasted chicken with Paris mash and chicken jus. A side salad was the perfect accompaniment. The World Loves Melbourne has attended a French cooking masterclass at Bistro Guillaume with Guillaume Brahimi on a previous occasion, and we understand this French maestro knows what to do with a chicken! Rustic French food at it's best.

Altair - Warrandyte

For those in the eastern suburbs a great option is to visit Altair, a fine dining restaurant in Warrandyte. Since opening 2 years ago Altair has made a huge impression, with their charm, high quality food with loads of technique and service. Not long after opening they received a formidable review from Larissa Dubecki writing for the Good Food Guide. Kelvin (Head Chef) and Michelle (Front of House) are a crack team, who exude innovation and hospitality. Altair has built up a large following of locals and regulars from across Melbourne. The dining experience is such that there is a lot of repeat customers, passionate about the food, ambience and service. 

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The food at Altair is top notch; this is fine dining in the eastern suburbs. They destroy the myth that you have to travel into the city of Melbourne for fine dining. Think loads of technique and innovative dishes such as the Goat and charred vegetable pie, or the Wagyu carpaccio entrees.Dark miso comes together with fermented Davidson plum, pine mushroom and stinging nettle in this charming Cured hen egg dish. Served on a plate that is genuine slate, this dish is art on a plate.

Those wanting duck are sure to enjoy the Duck ham, duck pate, lardo, cumquat, Sichuan and black garlic. Again, great flavours, presentation and loads of technique. As far as the wine list goes, Altair offer diners exceptional choices. Altair has received a one goblet rating in the 2014 Fine Wine Partners & Gourmet Traveller Wine Magazine Australia's Wine List of the Year Awards.

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Altair comes to the party also by allowing BYO with a corkage of $10; part of the appeal of a visit. Come here for your business lunch or dinner from Wednesday to Sunday (they also have lunch specials). We also recommend the weekend breakfasts that are not your typical menu.

The restaurant is stylish with superb use of timber; large tree, and clean lines throughout. The finery and style has surprised some diners expecting modesty, with Altair geared for a serious dining experience.

The Town Mouse - North Carlton

The Town Mouse has seen many a winning melbourne business lunch due to it's superb food that displays loads of technique, great service and verve.Town Mouse is located in Drummond Street where once Embrasse thrilled punters with its fine dining. Christian has captured the imagination with unpretentious food full of technique and flair, and at excellent value. There's larger cornerstone dishes that can be shared and some smaller dishes of great finesse that "wow". Here at Town Mouse its about a culinary journey to be savoured. Chef Dave Verheu also ex-Mattehorn, shines in the kitchen, with consistency and bold cooking. In my opinion this is a "crack" team here at Town Mouse, including the wait staff.

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A brilliant harmony and signature note runs through the culinary experience at Town Mouse - everything comes together. As surprising as some dishes are they never are at odds with each other. This is a dining experience with an unfolding story.

The European/City Wine Shop

For a truly iconic Melbourne experience The European and City Wine Shop are compelling. Dine in The European for an old world experience with modern touches, or enjoy the casual vibe of City Wine Shop.

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You can even order cheese from the Cheese Room at Spring Street Grocer and imbibe at City Wine Shop with a bottle of wine. Classic Melbourne.