Architecture and Design: A Tour of Melbourne’s Design-Centric Food Spots

One of the biggest assets of our master planning services is our ability to work with the project design teams including architects and interior designers to ensure the hospitality aspect of a development meets all the needs of a functional food and beverage space without skimping on creativity and visual appeal. Part of that is putting in the hours of research into discovering who is doing this well both within our hometown as well as across the globe. Here in Melbourne, we have an abundance of exceptionally designed spaces which are great examples of how to combine design and function seamlessly into a hospitality space. 

We recently had some clients from New Zealand come town who we are working on a retail precinct project with alongside NH Architecture. As our city has some of the best design for hospitality, showing them around and exploring what can be done with food-focused spaces allowed a conversation to start and inspiration to be drawn. This is an integral process to elevate a project to a level that sets it apart from the rest. 

Walk through the tour we took the team on and see where inspiration is being drawn from in our city of Melbourne. 

North Melbourne

Mork Hot Chocolate

this specialty hot chocolate outlet has combined a café and retail space into one clean and sleek shop that is too irresistible to walk out empty handed from. Upon entry you are welcomed by a stone bench where the customer can see and smell all that the shop has to offer from cakes to the running hot chocolate taps. The space is uncomplicated and peaceful to be in and has room for everyone whether it’s for browsing or sitting down for the visit. 

Auction Rooms

This café is an institution in the Melbourne café scene. The design of the space nurtures the existing building that was once an auction house with exposed beams and a warehouse vibe. The barista station sits at the centre of the café with all eyes on the magic hands that pump out some of Melbourne’s best coffee.


Industry Beans

Industry beans has received a number of design awards and rightly so. They’ve transformed a warehouse-style building into a double-height, light and bright haven where you can enjoy breakfast that could be found at a Michelin-star restaurant. You can also see the stacks of fresh coffee beans stacked up high up the back, watch the team roast and get a full insight into the kitchen as you make your way through.


Transformer is an all plant-based eatery that hasn’t gone down the ‘green’ path. The design of the space matches the mood and menu – innovative yet simple and honest. It’s easy to sit in the ambient, lush and intimate space for a little too long and the cocktails don’t stop coming if you do.


The butchery from renowned Melbourne chef, Andrew McConnell. Even a vegetarian would want to buy meat from this shop. Large slabs or marble, copper fittings, quality meat cutters and staff all dressed to perfection. Not a single detail has been missed and nor should it. With prices at a premium, the experience is part of the value.


Vertue of the Coffee Drink

This unassuming café is a perfect example that you are only as bound by space as your imagination wants you to be. Walk behind a petrol station and down a tiny alley where you are greeted by a wooden door. Walk on in and the space opens up into an expansive, air-filled café with vertical gardens, royal blue upholstery and the contrast of wood and copper.


Higher Ground

We picked Higher Ground because it’s the latest creation by this group but The Kettle Black and Top Paddock should not be missed if looking at great designed cafes that go through hundreds of covers a day. With such high patronage, efficiency and functionality are so important and Higher Ground proves that you can have these things without lacking in creativity. This space is expansive, plush and very high-end. It’s so beautiful to be in that you almost have to order a glass of champagne and a plate of oysters because you feel like you want to.

The team enjoyed the tour and saw just how creative and inspiring a space can be without losing out on what it needs to function as a food and beverage outlet. Design is a major component of both food precinct and individual outlet success. It contributes to the user experience in a very strong way and creates an impression that when done well, people will come back for.