Vaults 1-9, Federation Wharf (under Princes Bridge)
Ph: 9662 1771
Open: everyday, 7am-midnight
IN summer there is no better place in Melbourne’s CBD for a drink than Riverland.
Located at river level at Federation Square the open-air bar looks south across the Yarra to the rowing sheds and when the sun is shining the vibe is nothing short of pumping.
In winter, Riverland is a little less appealing but when I visited on a recent weekday lunchtime the sun was peeking through so we nabbed a table overlooking the water and soaked it up.
My party of three had only previously been there for refreshments of the liquid variety so perusing the lunch menu was a new experience. I was pleasantly surprised by the range of breakfast and lunch options on offer but the brecky dish that caught my eye was the Moroccan baked eggs ($12.50), which are only available on weekends and take 20 minutes to cook. A serve of sourdough toast ($4.50) also looked good, as did the seasonal poached fruit ($7.50).
But on that occasion it was all about lunch, which seemed to have less of a selection to choose from.
Anyone who has had a few drinks at Riverland is probably very familiar with the gourmet sausages ($7) you can order from the funky outdoor kitchen/bar. Sourced from Wodonga’s Morrison St Butchers, the snags come in three flavours: duck and pistachio; chilli bratworst and lamb and come with sauerkraut, onions, cheese and a selection of sauces.
When you’ve had a few vinos, there is nothing better but my mate proved they also last the distance as a respectable lunch option. She went the duck and pistachio with onions and saurcraut and said while the sausage was brilliant it would have been better complimented with a nicer bun and tomato chutney rather than some of the commercial tomato sauce that was on offer.
Friend #2 went with the soup of the day, which on the day we dined was pumpkin with sage ($9) and was served with two hunks of sliced baguettes.
I was tempted by the vegetarian antipasto platter but my budget didn’t stretch to $18.50 so I opted for a flatbread pizza for a more reasonably priced $9.50.
Riverland has three pizza options: pesto, goats cheese and rocket; hot salami, tomato and cheese and mushroom, herb and cheese. I went with the pesto and goats cheese and, while it looked good and tasted alright, it kinda lacked something.
Perhaps it’s because I was starving and it didn’t really fill me up even though we all shared a bowl of chips ($5) as well.
In fact, that was a common complaint. All three off us still had the nibbles when we got back to the office so while each option was tasty the serves were quite small. More snack than lunch.
Because I like to be full after a meal I don’t know if I’d opt for Riverland again as a lunch option.
Drinks on a Friday night however, that’s another proposition entirely…