Morning, afternoon, evening and everything in between – The Mess Hall has your Italian needs covered. Located at the top end of Bourke Street, it's a great spot to people watch, waste some time and enjoy the peace and quiet among the hustle and bustle of the CBD.
The Mess Hall is one of the best spots to enjoy the morning ritual. All your favourites are on offer including beautifully toasted sourdough with a selection of condiments or free-range eggs served up any way you want. There are also a few more left-of-centre options inspired by their Italian heritage, like the cannellini beans with coriander and chorizo on sourdough or the poached asparagus with scrambled eggs with shaved Parmigiano.
This place is no one-trick pony, either. The girls behind the machine at The Mess Hall know how to make a good cup of Joe, or if you're more of a tea person they've got a variety of blends on hand, as well.
The Mess Hall is arguably most famous, though, for its Panini. These little sandwiches, filled with anything from roasted vegetables, chicken or chorizo, are made fresh daily and lined up in the cabinet, ripe for the picking. Ask for it toasted, and eat in for the full experience. Best not to eat these bad boys on the run, though – things could get messy.
If you're catching a show at The Palace or Princes theatres, pop in for dinner beforehand. Kick things off with the polenta chips served with harissa. I have daydreams about these beautifully golden fingers of polenta and you will too once you've tried them.
Like any good Italian restaurant worth its salt, there's a variety of pizza on offer, from the classic margarita to the very Mess Hall smoked salmon with zucchini and goats cheese. If you're feeling a little more ambitious, try the pork belly with kipfler potatoes, fresh market greens and pickled cucumber or the black spaghetti salad with chargrilled squid, chilli, ginger and coriander. Pair it with something from their no-nonsense, high quality wine list and finish the meal with a plate of dark chocolate and pistachio biscotti; very Italian.
The Mess Hall is open Monday to Friday 7:30AM until late, and weekends 8am until late.
The Mess Hall 51 Bourke Street
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9654 6800