Eat your way through Melbourne via the East Village

By David Farley

Twenty-first-century Melbourne is a cultural palimpsest, its identity made up of layers upon layers of immigration waves: from Greeks and Italians to Lebanese and Southeast Asians. This has transformed the city into one of the most dynamic restaurant landscapes on the planet—and likewise has the wave of Australian immigration that has washed over New York City in recent years impacted the Big Apple’s eating scene. Case in point: Flinders Lane on Avenue A.

Named for the once-gritty Soho-like neighborhood in Melbourne, where hip boutiques and cafés flank the narrow streets, this industrial-chic spot makes for a seriously fun—or even romantic—way to while away an evening in the East Village.

In this surprisingly cozy space you can eat your way through Melbourne’s history. For a righteous nod to the city’s Anglo past, start with a flaky, buttery, oh-so-satisfying sausage roll, served with Britain’s favorite bottled sauce, HP. Move on from there to sample the Asian influence with diver-caught scallops wading in an addictive pool of cashew-chile relish, or a melt-on-your-palate tuna sashimi doused in pungently delicious olive oil from Cobram Estate in Victoria.
In a whole other world of seafood, the tender and gooey-good octopus in a citrusy hummus reflects the Lebanese stamp on Melbourne, while the mushroom and fava pappardelle flashes a taste of the Italian. Bringing it all back home (well, almost), wash it down with a well-balanced and crisp glass of riesling from Pikes in South Australia. Whether it stirs up memories of a past trip or inspires you to plan a venture in the future, your meal at Flinders Lane will more than satisfy your itch for a taste of Australia in the here and now.


dinner: Mon–Thu 5:30 PM–11 PM; Fri 5:30–midnight; Sat 5 PM–2 AM; Sun 5 PM–10 PM
brunch: Sat–Sun 11 AM–5 PM
lunch: Mon¬–Fri 11 AM–4 PM

price range

$6 (bar snacks) to $30 (pan-roasted tile fish)