If you are as indecisive as me, you know the struggle faced when attempting to choose a single item from a menu. You panic every time the waiter approaches your table, get extreme food envy when you see what the person next to you is eating, and feel intense regret of your choice no matter how delicious the dish is.
But when you hear those six magical words ‘our dishes are designed to share’, you take a sigh of relief. The concept of the ‘Feed Me’ menu has grown in leaps and bounds over the past five years. Not only are ‘Feed Me’ menus stress free and budget friendly, they expose you to a wide variety of dishes that you wouldn’t necessarily choose yourself. It allows restaurants to build stronger relationships with their diners, and with a set price, removes any awkwardness and confusion of bill splitting.
So next time you’re um-ing and ahr-ring about what to order, put confidence in your waiter, trust the chef, say ‘FEED ME’, and you’ll be in for a treat.
125 Flinders Lane Melbourne CBD
Melbourne can’t get enough of Chin Chin, and when you try any of their sensational mod-Thai dishes it’s easy to see why. Possibly the very first restaurant in Australia to print the words ‘Feed Me’ on their menu, Chin Chin agree that sharing is caring. From the large tables to the bustling ambiance, Chin Chin have the sharing dining experience down to a T.
All of their generously sized dishes are made to share, and with such an extensive and tempting menu, the Feed Me option is the best choice. At the set price of $69.50 you’ll get seven courses of Asian goodness. Fussy eaters and those with dietary requirements needn’t worry as there is a decent amount of flexibility in the menu, with the friendly staff trained to cater their choices to you.
The only downside is that Chin Chin is no secret. There is a line out the door and down the street almost every night of the week. If you have a group of no more than 10 and no less than 14 you can book the large chef’s table. Everyone else is welcome on a walk-in basis, and while you might be have to come back several hours later, it’s worth the wait.
MOROCCAN SOUP BAR
183 St Georges Road Fitzroy North
Moroccan Soup Bar has become a Melbourne institution since opening almost 18 years ago. Founded on principles of equality and generosity, Moroccan soup bar dishes up healthy North African food, taking you on a culinary journey through the Middle East. The small space is always frantically busy with a line for a tablet stretching around the corner. The deco is all mismatched, the brightly painted walls clash, and the relaxed, nonchalant service and spices wafting through the restaurant make you feel as if you are in the middle of Morocco.
Once you’ve got a table you’ll be greeted with a warm cup of authentic Moroccan sweet mint tea before a waiter provides you with a verbal menu. Take their recommendation and go for the banquet; Moroccan Soup Bar’s version of the Feed Me Menu. For $25 per head you will feast on soup or dip to start, pitta bread and olives as an entrée, multiple traditional Moroccan dishes to share for mains, and then a sweet black coffee and dessert to finish off the meal.
Keep in mind that it is cash only and despite the name, they don’t serve alcohol. One of the best value feed-me options in Melbourne, you won’t leave Moroccan Soup Bar hungry or disappointed.
99 Chapel Street Windsor
At the Windsor end of Chapel Street you will find Mr Miyagi; not the fictional Japanese character from Karate Kid, but the uber-cool, cheeky, Japanese fusion restaurant. The loud, upbeat music makes the dimly lit space with neon lights feel more like a nightclub, and the large share tables enhance that social vibe.
For groups of two to five, let Mr. M choose for you. For $55 you will receive a variety of dishes to graze your way through. Whether you get the signature nori taco, black pig gyozy or David Chang’s ramen gnocchi, the Feed Me option will push you out of your comfort zone and encourage you to try something little different. Make sure you leave enough room for one of the three delicious desserts; pumpkin toast, snicker licker, or the humble donut. Who am I kidding, there’s ALWAYS room for dessert, especially when they taste this good. While you’re at it, let your waiter help choose your sake too, with six different options on offer. Mr. M says ‘decision not so important, it all tastes good’, and we couldn’t agree more.
103 Lonsdale St Melbourne
In 2013 Bomba replaced Lonsdale Street institution the Aylesbury. It had big shoes to fill, but Melbourne was not left disappointed. Bomba is a casual Spanish bar and restaurant serving unpretentious, accessible yet well-executed tapas for lunch from 12 to 3pm each week day, and dinner 5pm ‘til late every night of the week.
Bomba has a set menu for sharing, however the waiters and chefs are happy to amend the menu for your dietary needs. $49 dollars will get you and your amigos nine of their favourite savoury dishes served over three courses. The current share menu includes oysters, charcuterie and croquet to start, chilled pea soup, lamb ribs and grilled corn for entre, and charcoal grilled bag bugs, braised pork jowl, and pickled red cabbage for mains.
The Spanish worker’s bar can accommodate groups of up to twelve people, and although walk-ins are more than welcome, we recommend booking to guarantee you are table at this modern day bodega. Afterwards, have a negroni on the rooftop to help digest the Spanish feast you have just devoured. Salud!
98 Chapel Street Windsor
Hawker Hall is the latest addition to Chapel Street from the genius’ behind Chin Chin, Kong, and Baby. The ambitious menu of Singapore and Malaysian cuisine, colourful interior and pumping music captures the vibrant street food culture of south-east Asia.
There’s over 60 dishes on the menu to choose from, so put your fate in the hands of your waiter and order the ‘Hawker Feast’ for the full Hawker Hall experience. There’s a $66 or $88 option depending on how ravenous you are feeling, with the menu customised by your waiter on the day. Feast on noodles, curries, roti, dumplings, stiryfry and rice dishes all jam packed with flavour and texture .
Like its sister restaurant, you can expect a wait to get a table most nights, but with a number of bars close by in Windsor including Jungle Boy right next door, you’ll be saying ‘feed me’ in no time.
2 Duke Street Windsor
Another gem in Windsor, Saigon Sally celebrates shared food through their contemporary Vietnamese menu. Located just off Chapel street, Sally is a real crowd pleaser. Perfecting the balance between casual dining with a vibrant atmosphere and high-quality food, Saigon Sally is one of Melbourne’s leading contemporary Vietnamese restaurants.
As you enter by the red neon sign and graffiti exterior wall, pass by the incredible portrait of Sally by artist Michelle Lee, and take a seat in the colourful, funky dining room, your eyes are treated to various Vietnamese paraphernalia before your taste buds even get to the food.
Opt for the ‘all in’ option and let Sally show you a good time. You’ll get ten dishes over four courses for $64 per person. Dubbed ‘Windsor’s most elusive mistress’, Saigon Sally is the sister restaurant of Tokyo Tina. If you can’t get a table at Sally head around the corner and try your luck at Tina who also offers an ‘all in’ menu option.
65 Swan Street Richmond
Richmond’s Victoria street is famous for its many cheap and cheerful Vietnamese food, but for an amazing South-East Asian dining experience, head up to Swan Street’s Botherambo. Joining the eclectic mix of newly opened restaurants down the city end of Swan Street, Botherambo’s attentive service, stunning interior, epic cocktails, and fresh, tasty Vietnamese food is an excellent addition to Richmond.
With an extensive food menu, go for the Food Banquet, Botherambo’s Feed Me option, for just $50. They also have an equally tempting cocktail list, and offer a $39 Cocktail Banquet to enjoy alongside the Food Banquet. The skilled bartenders will pair three cocktails of their choice to your food.
So next time you’re in Richmond with a hankering for Vietnamese, skip the pho and treat yourself to Botherambo.
27-29 Crossley Street Melbourne CBD
Since opening in 2006, Gingerboy quickly became one of Melbourne’s most respected laneway restaurants. With a funky and daring menu designed by renowned chef Teage Ezard, this modern Australian restaurant uses only the finest Australian seasonal produce to create hawker-style dishes.
Although there is an $83 banquet menu option, pay an extra $7 to have a delectable wagyu beef shared dish included in your feast. The banquet menu will be designed just for you, but you can guarantee big, bright flavours. Although the cost is a little more than what you would typically pay for a feed me sharing menu, it is worth every penny.
By Madeline Wallman