Another feather in the hat of the already legendary Communal group, Moonhouse is the new culinary destination of the Melbourne collective. Adding to the influence of group hospitality with places like Hanoi Hannah, new neighborhood and Bird of FireMoonhouse is a stylish yet accessible modern two-story Chinese-inspired bistro located on Carlisle Street in Balaclava.
The 110-seat restaurant is a sight to behold, the curved facade of the art deco building has seen a few different residents through its time, originally a local bank, a Red Rooster, then an Italian restaurant, Ilona Staller.
Previous occupants aside, the natural beauty of the structure adds to the overall Moonhouse experience. Commune, who worked alongside Ewert Leaf and Space Between, transformed the entire interior, celebrating its grandeur by repurposing door handles and interior walls from the building’s previous furnishings.
Commune Group Creative Director Simon Blacher, a former proud Balaclava native, was drawn to the space, “Our goal is for Moonhouse to add another layer to the fabric of the area I grew up, worked and lived in for most of my life,” Blacher says.
Described as an “intersection of flavors”, the heavily Chinese-influenced menu was designed and brought to life by a range of star chefs, including Anthony Choi (Cumulus Inc, Firebird) Shirley Summakwan (Tokyo Tina, New Quarter) and Enza Soto ( Brae, Baker D’Chirico).
The menu is packed with modern takes on timeless classics, from XO sauce pippies with just the right amount of spiciness, delicately balanced shrimp toast, to a Hainanese chicken club sandwich. There are still hints of Moonhouse’s Chinese influence, take the seasonal jelly served in a citrus peel which is a mature version of the dessert and a nod to the tradition of serving fruit and jelly after a Chinese meal.
The wine list has been meticulously curated by in-house beverage expert Claudelle Savannah, who has crafted an all-Australian selection of drops. “This is a list where you can visit the classics as easily as you can find the creative and the brave,” says Savannah, each drop designed to pair effortlessly with different Chinese flavors.
Moonhouse might just be one of the Commune Group’s best works yet, the exciting new addition to south Melbourne is set to open on Wednesday June 1, get your booking sorted this way.
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Photo credit: Leah Tracey, Jana Langhorst