A vacant concrete block in the shadow of the West Gate Bridge at Spotswood is about to be transformed into Melbourne’s newest food precinct dubbed ‘Grazeland’, catering for 30,000 people.
Located on land reserved for Scienceworks’ future expansion, Grazeland will span over 10,000 square metres and will have more than 50 sweet and savoury food vendors, three bars, two stage areas, roving entertainers and live entertainment.
Grazeland managing director John Forman, who currently runs Eureka SkyDeck and Eureka 89, last week gave Star Weekly a taste of things to come now that all official approvals are in place.
He said he was excited to turn the old industrial site into a foodies playground.
“Every weekend when you come here, it will be like a festival feel and when people enter it will have this excitement and a very Melbourne feel about it,” he said.
“It will be a world of food, and if you look at the multicultural heritage of Melbourne and in particular this area, I think people will warm to it.
“In Europe, they do it really well. If you look at Montpellier in France, they’ve got a similar-style concept. In London they do it very well and even in New York, but there’s nothing like this that we’re trying to achieve here in Victoria.”
Food vendors 48h Pizza & Gnocchi Bar, Cannoleria by That’s Amore Cheese, Flying Noodles and Cripps Family Fish Farm were onsite last week cooking up their produce.
Cannoleria’s Serena Zen said the Sicilian-owned company made all the cannoli from ricotta.
“We freshly fill the cannoli on the spot at the events or food festival and we serve them super fresh and crunchy,” she said.
“We started last year and we’re just doing pop-ups. At the moment we have two permanent stores, South Melbourne Market and Preston Market, and we will be permanent vendors at Grazeland.
“This, I think, is definitely going to take off really well first of all because on a vendor perspective, it is great to have something that is pop-up but permanent at the same time.
“Also, for people it’s amazing because they’re going to have 50 different options of food and savoury so you can come with your friends and family and everyone can get different types of food.”
Simon Shao will be serving his famous Flying Noodles with its secret sauce and either pork belly, prawns or chicken freshly charcoal-grilled at Grazeland.
“I think Melbourne needs this place,” he said.
“Grazeland is the place to be for a weekend gathering, for your friends, for a large group – 10, 20 – overlooking the city. You can’t find a place like this.
“When the sun’s out, it’s going to be great.”
Hanna Hamod from the Cripps Family Fish Farm, who have been commercial fishers since 1874, will be serving up dishes like crisp flathead tails, grilled salmon, smoked trout, local mussels, oysters and chips.
“We cook it the old-fashioned way – light batter, crispy,” he said.
“The recipe’s been in our family for 100 years.
“People love fresh food and will gravitate towards it … and it gives families the option to take their pick.”
Chef Enrico Paulli said 48h Pizza & Gnocchi Bar would cook wood fired Italian pizza with a modern twist and incredible ingredients like truffle oil, Prosciutto di Parma, parmesan cheese and buffalo mozzarella directly from Italy.
“I think it’s going to be really really busy because a lot of good food is going to be here, live concerts, live music. So, I think people are going to love it.”
Grazeland will be open Friday nights and Saturdays and Sundays from March next year.