Freelance writer and blogger from Sydney (ex-Melbourne). Avid foodie and traveller. Loves dogs.
Published January 19th 2017
If you're not in the mood to host an Aussie Day BBQ at yours
To many, Australia Day traditionally involves cranking up the barbeque and enjoying a smorgasbord of sizzling grilled meats and sausages along with an iced cold beer. If the idea of rolling out your Weber from the shed and cleaning away all the dust and cobwebs doesn't sound appealing this year, these restaurants will be more than happy to do all the cooking for you; as a bonus, you wouldn't even have to clean up! Open on Australia Day this year, these venues offer a range of meaty dishes to keep you satisfied on the 26th – so much so that you'll most likely find an excuse to return another day.
1. The Black Toro: Glen Waverley's favourite modern Hispanic eatery is open for both lunch and dinner on Australia Day, encouraging you to dig into a selection of meaty poco (small) and grande (large) plates. I suggest starting with their spicy pulled pork tacos and wagyu beef sliders before working your way to their slow roasted lamb shoulder with adobo glaze. Best enjoyed with a Mexican pilsner or a frozen margarita to share with your closest mates. Address: 79 Kingsway, Glen Waverley 3150
The Black Toro: slow roasted lamb shoulder with adobo
2. Café Amba: A handful of retail outlets will also remain open on Australia Day and if you're planning to hit the boutiques on Chapel Street on the day, make sure you refuel at the gorgeously fitted-out Café Amba. In addition to serving an all-day menu, this friendly café also serves a wide range of freshly made salads with a mouth-watering Australian touch. I recommend giving their Moroccan lamb salad with herb sour cream a go or for something with a bit of a fiery kick, their prawn and calamari salad with chilli coriander lemon dressing. Open 8:30am to 5:00pm. Address: 497 Chapel Street, South Yarra 3141
3. Tank Fish & Chippery: There's nothing more Australian than enjoying fresh local seafood during the hot summer months. Open from 11am on Australia Day, Tank's Emporium Melbourne outlet offers diners with the option to go old school fish and chips (battered fish, crispy chips and a healthy dose of tomato sauce, just like in the old days) or make your own meal from a wide range of fresh fish from Australian waters to support our local fisherman – perhaps a grilled Cone Bay barramundi on brown rice or a battered flathead tail from Lakes Entrance with fresh greens. Open all day from 11am. Address: Level 3, Emporium Melbourne, 287 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne
4. Sezar: Armenian food is traditionally meat heavy and Sezar does a unique modern spin on this ancient cuisine. If you're all about the lamb on this day, start with their kataifi wrapped lamb neck with sesame mayo before digging into their lamb shish kebabs with housemade baba ganoush or share Sezar's famous slow cooked lamb shoulder served with sides and sauces, designed to comfortably feed two or three people. Open for lunch and dinner. Address: 6 Melbourne Place, Melbourne 3000
5. Zaatar: This family-run café and bakery is open on most public holidays, including Australia Day so what better way to enjoy this day than with a selection of mouth-watering Middle Eastern pies, pizzas and pastries. My personal favourites are, coincidentally perhaps, the most suitable dishes to order on Australia Day: their Aleppo meat pie filled with minced lamb, onion, tomato, pomegranate molasses and spices as well as their cheese and Vegemite pie, a dish that combines the owners' Lebanese background and Australian upbringing. Open all day from 8am. Address: 365 Sydney Road, Coburg 3058