Melbourne's new CBD dining precincts land top restaurants and bars

Three major developments are currently unveiling or signing some of Australia's most appealing names.

The Speakeasy Group, which is behind multiple Sydney and Melbourne venues (Boilermaker House, EDV, Eau de Vie in Sydney and viking-themed restaurant Mjolner) has confirmed it will be bringing its Parramatta-based post-prohibition themed bar, Nick and Nora's, to the major 80 Collins development in 2020.

Featuring a five-metre, climate-controlled cabinet showcasing more than 400 champagnes, the bar's high-profile neighbours will include the reimagined, three-hatted Sydney restaurant Sepia, now shuttered for permanent relocation, and a renowned dessert specialist, tipped to be announced in coming weeks.

The new ELLA food precinct on the corner of Lonsdale and Elizabeth streets, which is being curated and part-occupied by Collingwood's hospitality hub Worksmith, will unveil the first six of 12 tenants on April 29. These include Colours, a casual offshoot of Charlie Carrington's globetrotting South Yarra restaurant, Atlas, and popular noodle joint Ajisen Ramen.

In June, expect the heavy-hitting Byrdi, a no-waste cocktail bar by internationally renowned bartender Luke Whearty. Boutique retailers, a live music and arts space, and use of apps such as WeChat for taking orders are also hoped to improve on the typical food court formula.

St Collins Lane (260 Collins Street) has recently unveiled new operators at its food hall on Level 2. Joining the instantly cult Saint Dreux, the cafe selling Japanese katsu sandos to heaving queues, is Sushi Boto, a sushi train-style restaurant from the team behind Instagram-famous cafe White Mojo. It is going for novelty factor, floating its plates of nigiri and karaage chicken past diners on wobbly boats in a mini canal. 

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