- Value for money
Abacus Bar and Kitchen stuns on all accounts. Architects EAT turned a Westpac Bank into one of Melbourne’s must-visit institutions on Chapel Street, around the corner from Prahran Market. Putting aside its impressive surrounds, a triage of concrete, timber and marble complemented by potted plants and comfy cushions, you can choose to eat all three square meals here, if you so wish. If you’re looking for a good date spot, it fits the bill perfectly, whatever the time. Under 7.5-metre ceilings, tuck into Australian classics with a twist for brunch. Ex-Top Paddock chef Chris Connolly pairs bread and butter pudding with lemon curd, maple oats and spring berries. No ordinary avo smash here either – instead, you’ll be served pumpkin croquettes alongside avocado wedges. Dinner is a tapas affair with a few mains thrown in for good measure. Try the kangaroo carpaccio or the Werribee tomato fondue with roasted chickpeas. Abacus makes a concerted effort to use the freshest ingredients and it shows in every mouthful. Wines are divided into handy groups, such as light and crisp whites and sparkling, while cocktails are a mix of traditional espresso martinis and the more unusual poached pear rum and strawberry and cognac spritz. Or just head over for a really good brew in the afternoon, book in hand – the restaurant accommodates all moods.