I'm a Victorian freelance writer & photographer living in the Macedon Ranges north of Melbourne.
Published September 17th 2013
Riverside Wining & Dining
Take a boat ride down the Yarra River and you'll see any number of ships at Swanson & Appleton Docks, downstream from the Bolte Bridge. But it's not that many years ago that you would have seen large shipping as far upstream as the Spencer Street Bridge, wharves and cargo sheds on both banks of the river, a boat builders yard and the Duke and Orr Dry Dock on the site occupied by the Polly Woodside today.
No longer an industrial area South Wharf is a bustling entertainment and shopping precinct
For the most part the river was a grotty industrial area, a blight on the heart of the city and a far cry from today's South Wharf Promenade, the latest addition to Melbourne's happening restaurant and entertainment scene.
South Wharf is a natural extension of the very popular South Bank area
With the new Seafarers Bridge joining the north and south banks of the river, shopping at DFO, the elegant Hilton Hotel, Melbourne Convention Centre and a plethora of cafe's, restaurants and bars the refurbished South Wharf is just one more compelling reason to visit the cities riverside party precinct.
The Boatbuilders Bar is housed in one of South Wharfs restored cargo sheds right adjacent to the Polly Woodside
South Wharf's heritage listed cargo sheds were built in 1884 and it took 6 years of planning and hard work to return them to the condition they're in today, something akin to their state in the late 1930's. The end result is fascinating with the completely refurbished sheds looking 'workman-like' and not too pristine against the metal & glass sterility of adjacent buildings.
Fascinating too are the various menus on offer at South Wharf.
For a beer and nibbles look no further than The Boatbuilders Yard, a relaxed open plan bar and café right adjacent to the Polly Woodside and rapidly becoming a favorite along this stretch of the river.
With a great choice of beers both on tap and packaged together with a very comprehensive wine list and a long list of top-shelf spirits getting a drink is not a problem at The Boatbuilders.
A range of small, large and shared plates provide a selection of tasty treats that compliment Boatbuilders relaxed style.
23 South Wharf Promenade (03) 9686 5088
The first thing you notice about BANGPOP is the long line of brightly coloured bicycles outside. It's a theme which is carried on inside where a great team serves up a range of what is described as 'original Thai street food'.
BANGPOP is well known for its traditional Thai street food
Excellent value for money; the clean, fresh and very, very tasty dishes here can be very spicy. If you've got any doubt at all about your ability to cope ask one of the friendly staff for their recommendation.
35 South Wharf Promenade (03) 9245 9800
Other great eateries along the Promenade include:
The Meat Market featuring a mouth-watering range of predominantly grilled pasture fed beef, free-range chicken and a variety of fish.
53 South Wharf Promenade (03) 9008 8953
The Bohemian Bar & Restaurant is a celebration of all things Spanish with tapas style entrees and traditional mains including squid ink paella & cuttle fish or Zarzuella, a traditional Catalan seafood stew comprised of fish, clams & mussels. The Bohemian features a 2 hour Flamenco show each Sunday commencing at 7 PM, bookings are essential.
35 Dukes Walk, South Wharf (03) 9682 0566
The BOHEMIAN is a little touch of Spain on South Wharf
If you haven't ventured down to South Warf yet put it on your 'must do' list – your taste buds will be very grateful.