Even for those not taking any financial part in Melbourne Cup, the day has become an excuse to float around outside of work and track down some of Sydney’s best long lunches, whether it be down at the local pub (which usually turns out to be the best choice) or at a picturesque new restaurant by the sparkling harbour. We’ve picked out 11 of our favourite Melbourne Cup offerings for you to get across come Tuesday 1st November, each packing a punch with their food and drink offerings so you have a nice and diverse list to choose for your and your colleagues to choose from.
Dove & Olive (Surry Hills)
Quintessential Surry Hills pub Dove & Olive will be one of the top picks in Sydney for the nation-stopper, charging into Melbourne Cup day from 10am with food from 12pm. Head along on Tuesday and you’ll find yourself a smorgasbord of canapés, offered as part of an all-you-can-eat package for $69, with a complimentary drink on arrival (either Australian Brewery’s Alchemy Golden Ale, Hills Apple Cider, or Lois Lane Sparkling). Said smorgasbord will throw almost every canapé you can think of at you, from oysters served natural with mignonette, coconut king prawns with rum and chilli caramel, and smoked salmon sandwiches with boursin cheese, red onion and capers, to mac ‘n’ cheese balls, lasagne spring rolls, pepper steak cocktails pies, beef brisket sliders, and gluten-free jerk chicken skewers.
A secretive “trifecta ticket” and entry into their wild Best Dressed competitions are also included in the package, with a $99 food and wine hamper up for grabs as well as Australian Brewery beer and merchandise. On top, the bar will feature drinks specials all day like $5 schooners of AB Alchemy Golden Ale, $6.50 schooners of Hills Apple Cider, and $9.50 glasses of Lois Lane Sparkling, so you’ll be in some very good hands while you laugh, cheer, or cry your way through this year’s big race.
156 Devonshire St, Surry Hills | bookings at doveandolive.com.au/melbcup16/
Cirrus Dining (Barangaroo)
The new seafood focused restaurant from the minds behind Bentley Restaurant & Bar and Yellow will be a nice spot right by the harbour on Melbourne Cup day. They’ll have some big screens set up for you to watch the race, with a four course lunch planned for $180 (10 bucks cheaper if you’re a McWilliams Cellar Door Member or for Citibank cards). Champagne Taittinger will be handed out on arrival, and there’s a big three litre bottle of the premium champagne to be won during the race.
9/23 Barangaroo Avenue, Barangaroo | bookings on 9220 0111 (opt 4 to book)
Alpha Restaurant (CBD)
We’ll take any excuse to tuck into Alpha’s essential slow-roasted lamb shoulder, which will feature on their Melbourne Cup four-course Greek feast along with the likes of prawn saganaki rolls and chocolate baklava. As still one of the finest – and most attractive – Greek restaurant around this is a sure bet for Cup Day, with the set menu priced at $99 per person, also including a glass of bubbles on arrival. And yep, there will be screens.
238 Castlereagh St, Sydney | bookings on 9098 1111
Kensington Street Social (Chippendale)
Their new speedy work-friendly lunch menu has won Kensington Street Social more than a few weekday-arvo fans, many of whom will undoubtedly be heading along to this Chippendale essential for a nine-course lunch on Melbourne Cup day. It’ll set you back $130pp but there’s the very good choice of Beam Creek Cuvee Traditional Marion Bay on arrival, and they’ll have plenty of big screens for you to watch.
3 Kensington St, Chippendale | bookings on 8277 6533
Chiswick at the Gallery (CBD)
Fancy watching Melbourne Cup in one of Sydney’s most relaxing and historic art museums? CHISWICK at the Gallery will be putting on a big share-style luncheon on the day for $120pp, with 12pm arrival for a 12:30pm sit down. A glass of Taittinger will greet you on arrival before a three-course lunch which is then following by tea, coffee, and petit fours. Big screens will be set up and there will be prizes by coach.
1 Art Gallery Rd, Sydney | bookings on 9225 1819
Q Dining (Circular Quay)
Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour may be getting most of their traction lately from the gorgeous Hacienda, but the best option for Melbourne Cup will be their distinguished Q Dining restaurant. Exec. Chef Stefan Brademann has designed a three-course lunch for $129pp during the day with a live broadcast set against those perfect harbour views.
Mezzanine Level, Pullman Quay Grand Sydney Harbour, 61 Macquarie St, Sydney | bookings on 9256 4000
Stockroom Restaurant & Stillery Bar (Double Bay)
We know InterContinental Double Bay’s The Rooftop gets all the attention now that summer is here (they’ve opened to the public with no minimum spend now too) but the luxurious property’s original restaurant, The Stockroom is just as viable for a more relaxed Melbourne Cup day out. There won’t be any wild screaming at the television’s here as Stockroom host a ‘Lady Luck’ luncheon in their bright dining room, a buffet that features a premium seafood selection, meats like Flinders Island lamb shoulder, several fresh salads, and some indulgent desserts. The buffet costs $130pp with a glass of Mumm on arrival.
Though if all you can eat fresh seafood, meats, and desserts isn’t you thing head next door to the hotel’s charming bar, Stillery. Here you’ll find a ‘Hats and High Tea’ event with a glass of Perrier-Jouet Grand Brut opening a gateway to a sweet and savoury high tea experience featuring gourmet smoked trout buns, spiced creme brulee, and rose-raspberry macarons among other treats. Live race coverage will feature, with a ‘best hat’ competition with the whole package priced at $85pp.
33 Cross St, Sydney | bookings on 8388 8388
The Bucket List (Bondi)
Bondi’s famous The Bucket List will of course be taking care of you should you want to spend Cup Day by one of the world’s most famous beaches. For a $120pp ticket you’ll get a glass of champers on arrival plus drinks and canapes from noon right up until the big race at 3pm. There’s also several prizes up for grabs for best dressed, some sweepstakes, and DJs clicking all afternoon.
Bondi Pavilion, 1 Queen Elizabeth Dr, Sydney | bookings (essential) on Moshtix.
Papi Chulo (Manly)
After welcoming in new Head Chef Toby Worthington, Papi Chulo has been refreshed but the kitchen still stick to their guns of smokehouse meats and fresh, juicy seafoods. They’ll be offering both as part of a shared banquet for $90 on Melbourne Cup day, so between wiping those meat sweats off and yelling at the big screen you can sit back and look out from Manly Wharf in style.
22/23 Manly Rd | bookings on 9240 3000
Four in Hand by Guillaume (Paddington)
Guillaume and his team have designed an incredible new menu for iconic Paddo pub Four in Hand, for a close look you can check out our review HERE. Melbourne Cup day is a good chance to head along and sample what’s on offer, with an exclusive three-course lunch for $75pp, including a glass of bubbles of course. For the day, the menu will have the likes of Rangers Valley Wagyu flat iron steak, and their impeccable Banana Parfait dessert. Lucky door prizes and sweeps will also feature while big screens bring the action to the casual dining room.
105 Sutherland St, Paddington | bookings on 9326 2254
Cafe Del Mar (Darling Harbour)
For those in the Darling Harbour area for Melbourne Cup today it’d be a smart choice to head along to their Secret Garden Party which is being thrown in partnership with Moet & Chandon. During the day they’ll be a terrace party with tickets priced at $125pp and a package that includes a four-hour canape and beverage service, with Moet on arrival of course. Inside, the restaurant dining party will offer a three-course lunch and Moet on arrival for $125pp.
Rooftop Terrace, Cockle Bay Wharf, 35 Wheat Rd | bookings on 9267 6700.
84 Union Street (Pyrmont)
Six screens will be set up at this homely bar-restaurant in the heart of Pyrmont, filling the venue with the sounds of Melbourne Cup while the venue offers a three-course menu for $65pp, bringing in dishes like everyone’s favourite, grilled haloumi, as well as roasted Pacific roe scallops with carrot and honey puree, street style nasi goreng, and blueberry cheesecake.
84 Union St, Pyrmont | bookings at 8068 8478
Gemelle Ristorante (Liverpool)
Head out west for Melbourne Cup and use the excuse to discover an Italian restaurant that is making serious waves in the underrated suburb of Liverpool. In their main dining room they’ll be offering up a four-course set menu ($80pp) with the likes of oysters, freshly caught snapper, and a whole heap of bubbles along with lucky door prizes and best dressed comps. If sit-down isn’t your thing, they’ll also be hosting a canape event ($45pp) on Level One. Screens will feature throughout the venue.
79 Bathurst St, Liverpool | bookings on 9602 5294
Feature Image: Dove and Olive.