Commune Group (Firebird, Hanoi Hannah, New Quarter, Tokyo Tina) has opened Moonhouse – a new bistro serving Chinese cuisine, located at 282 Carlisle Street in Balaclava. 

The renowned restaurant site (formerly a bank and then Ilona Staller) has received a significant refurbishment and is now a light and open modern dining space, with restored heritage features that tell the story of the site and its origins. 

“Chinese flavours are nostalgic for Melburnians, and Moonhouse is our homage to this diverse cuisine, matched with a killer all-Australian wine list.  Our goal is for Moonhouse to add another layer to the fabric of the area I have grown up, worked and lived in for most of my life. To be given the opportunity to own and operate an anchor site on Carlisle St is very exciting.” says Simon Blacher, Commune Group Creative Director.

The Moonhouse menu packs a punch with showstoppers such as Hainanese Chicken Club Sandwich, Prawn toast, prawn bisque dipping sauce, Clay pot fried rice, chicken and prawn, Dan Dan noodle, mushroom, sesame and XO Sticky Rice, mushroom in lotus leaf, soy-braised eggplant.

Moonhouse offers delicious, unpretentious food in a lively setting, exploring the breadth of flavours in Chinese cuisine and playing against the building’s heritage bones.

Moonhouse 282 Carlisle St, Balaclava VIC 3183



A casual Izakaya-Style Bar restaurant called Otōto by the team behind Akaiito is set to open on Friday, 3 June. In a subterranean space below the bustle of Flinders Lane, Otōto – meaning younger brother in Japanese – is an underground Izakaya-style dining experience from the team behind the esteemed Akaiito restaurant.

Otōto’s menu has been created by Head Chef Winston Zhang – known for his award-winning Kojin degustation offering at Akaiito upstairs. It tales a more relaxed approach combining Melbourne’s favourite grazing plates with concepts and ingredients inspired by dishes from China, Korea, Malaysia and Japan.

”As people return to the city we wanted our downstairs space to evolve into its own independent venue and offering. As a literal Otōto [to Akaiito], we see it being an informal place to meet friends and share a bite to eat, or to gather for an afterwork drink or weekend celebration,” says Zhang.

Sharing plates will showcase Zhang’s favourite off-the-grill smokey Robata specialities, as well as larger dishes that underpin his flair for combining unique flavour profiles with a mix of traditional Asian techniques and stunning presentation.

Seating up to 60 guests, Otōto officially opens its doors on Friday, 3 June 2022, offering dinner from 5pm til late, Tuesday–Sunday.

Otōto 349-351 Flinders Ln, Melbourne VIC 3000


Teo’s Pizza and Bar

Credit: Marcie Raw

Matteo’s, the pizza and pasta parlour that arrived in Malvern mid lockdown 2021, has unveiled a new name, Teo’s Pizza and Bar, but is keeping the Italian offering that is fast earning it a cult reputation in Melbourne’s south-east. Driving along Malvern Road, Teo’s fresh white-and-green exterior will capture your attention, but inside it’s the woodfired 72-hour proofed pizzas, traditional pastas, and Italian cocktails and beers that have locals buzzing.

“We want Teo’s to provide a place for friends to catch up mid-week, families to come together on weekends and the local community to enjoy Italian home-style hospitality in relaxed surrounds. We had a bit of stop-start opening mid lockdown in 2021, but we’re thrilled to now be fully open and inviting customers familiar and new into the restaurant,” says one of the owners Matt Vero (who opened it with Matt Ward)

For stuzzichini, order the arancini with caramalised pumpkin, sage and fontina, or perhaps the salt and pepper calamari garnished with chilli jam, aioli, rocket and lemon. On to pizzas, which are made using a 72-hour ferment, Napolitano style pizza dough. Cooked in a Napolitano wood fired oven at a hot 400’c, take you pick of a traditional capricciosa, margherita or pepperoni. For veggie lovers, there’s the cavalo nero, featuring cauliflower, garlic, chilli, pine nuts and almond fetta; or the broccolini, with cherry tomatoes, fior di latte, chilli and garlic.

Pastas are a focus of Sam’s menu and are made in-house daily from premium semolina grain and water. They come heaving with sauces including capsicum sugo, dressed in pine nuts and pecorino; or marinara, with prawns, mussels, calamari, tomatoes, chili and garlic. An insalati is the ideal accompaniment and is made in the simple Italian style that celebrates a few key ingredients, such as the fennel and orange, with cabbage, walnuts and balsamic dressing.

Teo’s Pizza and Bar
1344 -1346 Malvern Road, Malvern VIC 3145
Open for dinner Wednesday – Sunday from 4:30pm til late

About The Author

Katherine Ng

Katherine is not your typical Beauty Editor. Finance consultant by day and beauty and fashion addict at all other times, Katherine spends her hard-earned money helping the Australian and international economy with her never ending pursuit of everything pretty. A keen traveller, Katherine still holds dear her Melbourne roots with an overflowing wardrobe filled with black clothes, shoes and handbags. Katherine also has a deep love of food and wine, and you can find those adventures on instagram at @thegreedykat Email: Twitter: @kath_couturing Instagram: @kath_ng

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