Published on 7 October 2020
If you weren’t already planning a visit to the Royal Botanic Gardens, the picnic service put on by the folks at Blakes Feast will have you booking your spot on the lawn quick smart. The food from the team, whether it’s tiny rolls of leg ham, cheddar and piccalilli or a soba noodle salad with king prawns, sounds fantastic, but the real draw card is the concierge service. Simply tell the staff where you’ll be and they’ll drop your hamper to you, and then collect it when you’re done. If it’s a special occasion, go all out with tables, linen and fresh flowers.
To book the picnic concierge service, a minimum spend applies of $100 per person, with a minimum booking size of 6 people. To book or find out more, contact firstname.lastname@example.org or 9885 2777.
Little Prince Wine Store
The Prince team have been busy in lockdown, opening younger brother Little Prince Wine Store to keep Melbourne’s Bayside suburbs in strong supply of top-shelf conservas, charcuterie and wine made in Victoria and beyond. Those three things alone would make for an excellent picnic, but there’s more, with boxes themed around French, Italian and Spanish produce available to order to your door.
Walk-ins welcome at 2 Acland St, St Kilda, 7 days 8am-6pm. Pre-order on Providoor for delivery to suburbs within 35km of Melbourne CBD and select regional areas, providoor.com.au
When it comes to sandwiches, some people like to hand the keys to the chef; others like to sit in the driver’s seat. At Omnia, you can do both. DIY bagels offer choices like plain or everything, cream cheese with spring onion or jalapeno, smoked chicken or smoked ocean trout, with the full complement of garnishes to back things up. If you want the chef’s touch, you’ll be right at home with a prawn cocktail sandwich, or a four cheese toastie of Gruyère, parmesan, provolone and cheddar. Did we mention there are doughnuts, too?
Walk-ins welcome or pre-order for pick up from 625 Chapel St, South Yarra or delivery available to select Melbourne suburbs via UberEats, DoorDash and Menulog. Order at omniabistro.com.au
Mr Brownie Rooftop
Why settle for butter chicken when you can get a butter chicken pie? That’s the question Mr Brownie, Jessi Singh’s latest venue, is asking Melbourne this picnic season. The pie in question is the star of Mr Brownie’s picnic box right now, along with samosas and a few cold tinnies. Plus, anyone who mentions Melbourne Food & Wine when they order gets a complimentary two-litre growler of tap beer. After months of nothing but glass bottles and aluminum cans, we reckon the picnic box is worth it for that alone.
$55 for a box for four to five. Walk-ins only with pick up from 343 Clarendon St, South Melbourne, Wed-Sun noon-9pm. instagram/mr_brownierooftop
Keep your outdoor dining spread uncomplicated with a box from Sicilian restaurant Mister Bianco. Lift the lid to find shucked oysters plus olives, a baguette and things to put on it: pesto, wagyu bresaola and three types of Italian cheese. There’s also a bottle of bubbles, tiramisù and strawberries included. How can you go wrong?
$58 per person. Pre-order for pick up from 285 High St, Kew, Tues-Sat noon-7.30pm. Order via misterbianco.com.au
If a box of cannoli is always a good idea, that goes double for a cannoli cake. The folks at Cannoleria have literally turned the Sicilian sweet on its head to create a tower of cannoli that’s about as festive as they come. And, ever the innovators, the team has just added a savoury cannolo to the range: herb-flecked ricotta with smoked salmon and Yarra Valley roe.
Savoury cannoli included in Spring Carnival Box, $60. Cannoli cakes from $55. Pre-order for pick up in store at South Melbourne, Preston, Watergardens or Heidelberg West, or delivery across most of metropolitan Melbourne for $5. Find sore information and order at cannoleriabythatsamore.com.au
Josh Nicholson Catering
With catering bookings at a standstill right now, the park-goers of Melbourne are the beneficiaries. Josh Nicholson, a chef with experience at Rockpool Bar & Grill and Albert Street Food & Wine during Philippa Sibley’s tenure, has transformed his business into a delivery service for picture-perfect canapés. Choose three kinds from a selection that includes lobster rolls, steak tartare, ricotta and pea tartlets, salmon blini and more, and the team will throw in some Yarra Valley salmon roe for good measure.
$100 for a picnic box, $30 for individual canapéboxes. Delivery available to a selection of inner Melbourne suburbs, free for orders over $100. Find out more and order at joshnicholsoncatering.com
The pitas at Miznon, whether classic falafel or left-of-field lamb rib, have earned a stellar reputation around town, and for good reason. Paired with a sunny day, some pals and something cold in your glass, you’d be in picnic heaven. But if you’re wanting to pull out all stops for your maxed-out gathering of five pals, the Party for Five gives you pitas galore, a whole-roasted cauliflower, sweet treats, ratatouille and more. There ain’t no party like a Miznon party.
Pitas from $13, Party for Five from $150. Pre-order for pick-up form 59 Hardware La, Melbourne, Mon-Sat noon-8pm, or delivery available within 20km radius of Melbourne CBD, Tues-Sat noon-8pm. Order at miznonaustralia.com
If you want proof that the scarcity factor is alive and well in Melbourne, exhibit A might be Jolly Good, the pop-up sandwich stall by Gimlet chef Raphael Exton Pery. One look at the shots on Instagram of poached chicken and mayo-stuffed rolls or cross-sections of chorizo, Manchego and aioli will have you joining the next queue of sandwich diehards, wherever it may be. Clear your morning this Saturday if you’re near Carlton North, or keep an eye on Instagram for the next location.
Jolly Good Sandwiches, pop-up in changing locations. Check Instagram for details: instagram.com/@jollygood_sandwiches.
Baker di Chirico
Day in, day out, Baker di Chirico has kept Melburnians in strong supply of good bread, dainty sweet treats and killer quiches for close to a decade. Add anything from the counter to your picnic basket and you’ll be all set for a day in the park, but the ficelles, stuffed with prosciutto or perhaps brie and rocket, are worthy of a special mention.
Walk-ins welcome at all stores: 178 Faraday St, Carlton; 149 Fitzroy St, St Kilda; 183 Domain Rd, South Yarra. bakerdichirico.com.au
Cannoleria now offers both sweet and savoury cannoli
This West Footscray café keeps things classic on the lunch front, with the likes of BLTs, egg and bacon rolls and chicken schnitzel sandwiches. But that doesn’t mean Dumbo is mailing it in. The loaded roll includes flourishes like a jalapeno-spiked cream cheese, and you can order your BLT fresh or toasted. Coffee comes from local roaster Rosso and the team prepare their own cold brew.
Walk-ins welcome or pre-order online for pick-up from 11 Argyle St, West Footscray, Mon-Fri 7am-2pm, Sat-Sun 8am-2pm or delivery via Uber Eats and Deliveroo. Order for pick-up at dumbomelbourne.com.au
Falafels and picnics go together like hummus and pita bread. So, if you’re in the Yarraville area, make a beeline for Advi’s Falafels, the sister restaurant to nearby favourite Advieh. You’ll find the golden orbs on plates with an always-rotating selection of salads or else stuffed into pitas with hummus, harissa and tahini. Fans of Advieh’s deep-fried halloumi fingers will be glad to hear they’ve made the journey to the new digs.
What’ll it be? The Reuben made with brisket smoked by Melbourne Pantry? Or perhaps the Coronation chicken baguette, in all its curried-mayo glory? Chip butties on Cobb Lane milk buns, a salad of pickled cabbage and coconut-poached chicken and, if you’re lucky, a rockling burger special are among the other heavy-hitters spotted at this Yarraville favourite. Lucky locals.
Walk-ins welcome or pre-order by phone 9689 0052. Pick up at 11 Ballarat St, Yarraville. More info and menu at cornershopyarraville.com
If empanadas are your thing, make tracks for Lola, the Seddon café that channels Iberian flavours into a its breakfast and lunch dishes. In lockdown, the café has focused on producing a changing line-up of empanadas, with combos like crab, prawn, calamari and capsicum or ricotta, spinach, Manchego and mozzarella. Rumour has it, they move quickly.
Walk-ins welcome or pre-order by phone (03) 9687 7194. Pick up from 77 Charles St, Seddon, Mon 7.30am-3pm, Wed-Sat 7.30am-3pm, Sun 8am-3pm. facebook.com/Lolacafeseddon
Blakes Feast offer a picnic concierge service (credit: Dean Bradley)
La Luna Bistro
Rathdowne Street’s top address for prime cuts that are expertly grilled is now Richo’s Deli, a butcher, deli, bakery and bottle shop all in one. Sticking to what they know best, the team offer a range of charcuterie made in-house, from brown-sugar cured pancetta to pastrami, as well as T-bones, sausages and other things that have got barbecue written all over them. There are also oysters, smoked salmon, sourdough and bottled Margaritas and Negronis to go: in short, all the essentials.
Pre-order online for pick-up from 320 Rathdowne St, Carlton North, Fri-Sat 10am-4pm. Order at richosdeli.com.au
Harper & Blohm
‘Monger with the most, Harper & Blohm is packing top-shelf cheeses into cooler bags this picnic season, whether that’s Le Secret des Lys or clothbound cheddars such as Montgomery’s and Cabot. Joined by charcuterie, pickles, condiments and add-ons like broccoli and freekeh salad, a bottle of Ben Rankin’s Wilimee wine from Macedon or perhaps some Birdsnake chocolate, this really is a one-stop shop for picnic supplies.
$90 for picnic pack. Pre-order for pick-up from 365 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Mon-Fri 11am-5pm, or delivery across Melbourne and Victoria, Tues-Fri, charges apply. Order at harperandblohm.com
Smoked cheese, buffalo milk cheese, fresh cheese and wheels wrapped in prosciutto: yep, it’s all about curds and whey at this specialty Italian cheesemaker. If you know your caciotta from your caciocavallo, by all means put together a DIY picnic spread. But if you need guidance, there’s help in the way of cheese and gin hampers, antipasto boxes and more selections from the team.
Hampers from $65. Pick-up from 66 Latitude Boulevard, Thomastown, 7 days 8am-5pm. Delivery to a wide range of Melbourne suburbs, Mon-Sat 8am-5pm, minimum order $40. Pre-order at thatsamoredelivery.com.au
Whether you’re a classic BLT kind of person or you’re down with fish fingers in a bun, Kelso’s caters to all kinds of sandwich lovers. The menu is big and full of brilliant touches like pickled eggs on the salad sando, a veg-friendly bodega-style “chopped cheese” that features fried tofu, and a grilled cheese sandwich that includes a five-strong line-up of mozzarella, tasty, cheddar, parmesan and Gruyère. Boom.
Walk-ins welcome, or pre-order by phone (03) 9495 6268 or on Uber Eats. Pick up from 271 Johnston St, Abbotsford, Thurs-Sun 9am-3pm. kelsosandwiches.com
With a Rosella picnic box and something from the cellar, this locals’ secret in Collingwood should be on the list of all serious picnic-goers. Focaccia, anchovies, salumi, tramezzini and a salad of buffalo mozzarella, basil, heirloom tomato and orecchiette are just the tip of the iceberg in this generous box. And on the drinks front? You’re in safe hands. The owners manage P49 vineyard in Beechworth and complement their own selection of wines with highly slurpable things from Victoria and Italy.
$80 for a box for two. Pre-order 24 hours in advance for pick-up from 107 Cambridge St, Collingwood, Wed-Sat 11am-8pm. Order at barrosella.com or call 9419 4449.
Small Axe Deli
You want panini? Take your pick of porchetta or chicken cotoletta. You like meatballs? Try them in a crusty baguette. Got a thing for super-specific Italian condiments like spreadable chilli paste? Small Axe Deli has all that and more for your next outdoor adventure. Being a deli, there’s also plenty in the cabinets to layer on the house sourdough, but if that sounds too hard, order one of the grazing boxes instead.
Grazing boxes from $22 for one. Pre-order for pick-up from shop 1, 625 Sydney Rd, Brunswick, Mon-Sat 10am-6pm, or delivery within a 10km radius, Mon-Tues or Thurs-Fri, $10. Sandwiches available for pick-up only or delivery to Brunswick, Mon-Sat, 10am-3.30pm. Order at smallaxedeli.com
Mile End Bagels
All hail the work of Mile End Bagels. The bready rings here are regularly touted as some of Melbourne’s best, modelled closely on what you’d find in New York. As far as fillings go, there’s an embarrassment of riches to choose from, from traditional smoked salmon, dill and caper with cream cheese to egg salad with green tomato chutney, cheese, rocket and Dijon mustard.
Walk-ins welcome or pre-order for pick up at 14-16 Johnston St, Fitzroy or 1 Wilkinson St, Brunswick. Delivery available via UberEats and Deliveroo to surrounding suburbs. Order at mile-end.com.au
Japanese-style sandos and photogenic sweets are paired with great coffee at this hole-in-the-wall café on Gertrude Street. Part of the same family as fine-diner Gaea, the menu of takeaway-friendly fare is just as ambitious. One week that could mean soft shell crab on shokupan with curried coleslaw, the next you might spot cacao sponge rolled around oolong-infused cream in the signature slices of rolled sponge.
Walk-ins welcome or pre-order for pick up at shop 1, 166 Gertrude St, Fitzroy or delivery to select suburbs, Mon-Fri 6.30am-3pm, Sat-Sun 7.30am-3pm. Order at calerecoffee.square.site
By Emma Breheny
You might also like
Sign up to our weekly news on Victoria’s best food and drink.