43 Little Bourke St
Melbourne, VIC 3000
(03) 9639 4944
In a time where it’s all about pop ups, rapidly changing food trends and no booking policies, it’s nice to see a Melbourne icon stand the test of time. Last week, Punch Lane in Melbourne’s Paris end celebrated 20 years with a small group of friends, family and media, a significant feat in a city where Gordan Ramsay and Manu Feildel failed to make it stick.
Owner Martin Pirc has clearly worked out what Melbournians want, foregoing the evolving food trends and sticking to quality food and excellent service. Established in 1995, Punch Lane was ahead of it’s time, helping pioneer Melbourne’s renowned ‘laneway dining’ culture: “It happened unknowingly at the time, or maybe it was just by chance or luck… Being young, perhaps naïve and maybe even a little lucky, I settled upon the perfect set of circumstances with a corner block, an old red brick building of a bygone era and licensing laws that allowed you to be more flexible. I think a lot of this, and probably a lot of my career, has been intuitive. It just felt like the right combination of things for me.”
Having undergone a recent renovation, the space remains as it was with dark timber, moody lighting, and rows upon rows of wine bottles that decorate the walls, creating a space that is sophisticated yet relaxed.
The seasonal European menu is short and carefully selected. Enjoy a glass of wine at the bar with a Prawn bonbon with chilli salt & lime ($5.00 each), Sheep’s haloumi with peppered raisins ($8.00) or pancetta wrapped dates with blue cheese ($6.00). Otherwise sit down and relax and choose off the full menu.
Entrees such as crispy quail, golden raisin & caper salad ($21.00), slow cooked salmon with caramelised yoghurt, bois boudran & sorrel ($21.00), or wagyu carpaccio with truffle dressing ($22.50) will whet your appetite before launching into mains like Black Angus scotch fillet ($42.00), Roast Aylesbury duck breast ($39.00) or Barramundi and clams in “Aqua Pazza” aka crazy water ($38.00). Just ensure you save room for dessert.
But if you really can’t decide, opt for the “five course tour of the Punch Lane menu” for $74.00 a head.
It’s not often a restaurant makes it to 20 years so when it does it speaks for itself. Catering to business lunches, after work drinks, group celebrations or intimate dinners for two, Punch Lane is landmark in Melbourne’s culinary landscape.