Do you want to make a difference in 2018 one bite at a time? Mission Australia’s social enterprise restaurant, Charcoal Lane is where it’s at. A dining experience that unites Aboriginal heritage with the trendy Fitzroy gastronomy experience. The hands-on Mission Australia traineeship program for young Aboriginal & Torres Strait Islander aspiring chefs and hospitality stars.
For foodies seeking vivid, original and locally sourced tastes and textures, a collection of ancient and arcane Indigenous nuts, fruits, meats and sea creatures feature on the diverse, yet humble modern Australian menu.
Far surpassing bush tucker status, the seasonal dishes capture the flavours of Australia with creative confidence. The cocktail menu brims with bold native botanical creations and there’s an impressive list of wines, beers and ciders sourced from regional Australia. Beautifully presented Australiana-themed desserts are an essential sweet finale to the experience.
The contemporary menu is designed by Executive Chef, Greg Hampton. With more than 25 years’ experience in kitchens from Hobart to Cairns and the West Coast of Australia, Greg is passionate about using native Australian ingredients, fusing them with modern cooking techniques to create a flavoursome, seasonal and balanced offering.
Housed in a robust bluestone Gertrude Street landmark, the venue is steeped in the rich history of Melbourne’s first suburb; Fitzroy. With inviting vibrant yellow doors and an edgy charcoal exterior, the interior has been revamped into a bright, spacious modish black and white dining venue with statement light fittings and an abstract panelled ceiling artwork by Aboriginal artist, Gayle Maddigan.
Charcoal Lane’s diners are treated to a unique journey of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander food and culture at every sitting. In fact, when the popular chef’s tasting plate is served, an Indigenous trainee will introduce him or herself as a proud Aboriginal person and talk about their tribe or community. It is a powerful experience not only for the guest but also for the empowering impact for that young person.
The menu is a celebration of Aboriginal culture in the past, present and future. Each plate is a reminder of a culinary story spanning hundreds of generations as a powerful reminder of Australia’s heritage. Charcoal Lane not only provides training and real work for young locals, but also fosters a sense of cultural and community pride.
But what matters most is that the food is truly unique and delicious. The experience of eating here is joyful and for the young trainees who work here, Charcoal Lane is a truly life-changing experience.