North meets South as Collingwood icon Easey’s partner up with South Yarra fave The Emerson to bring their unique take on American style cuisine Southside.
We Australians love a little competition. Whether we’re Team Potato Cake or Team Scallop, we defend it passionately. You can barrack for Carlton or Collingwood, but never both. But, perhaps the most ingrained rivalry in the Melbourne psyche is the great divide: North vs South. Teaming up to prove you can have your cake (or Reuben) and eat it too, whichever side of the Yarra your allegiances lay, Collingwood’s Easey’s and South Yarra’s The Emerson have combined their love of rooftop dining and gorgeous Melbourne views to create their new venture, Easey’s at The Emerson.
Since bursting on to the scene in 2015, Collingwood icon Easey’s has been unapologetically Melbourne. From the iconic grungy retired Hitachi trains that make up the venue space, to the rotating roster of local street art covering the walls, Easey’s is one of the Northside’s most brazenly Batmanian dining destinations. South Yarra’s The Emerson, on the other hand, is sleek, stylish, and undeniably South. Named for the poet Waldo Emerson, The Emerson’s grand lobby and in-demand bookable booths set the scene for a venue that is luxe and uber cool. Not to mention that The Emerson has been awarded Melbourne’s Nightclub of The Year three times since opening in 2014.
When The Emerson team approached Easey’s burger maestro Jimmy Hurlston to take over their kitchen, he took the opportunity to bring his “American style with a twist” menu to the South, with tweaks to appeal to the local audience. If you want to try out Jimmy’s burger ingenuity yourself, check out the recipe he shared with us for a Pepsi Max inspired burger.
The star of the new menu is undoubtedly the Reuben. Given the strong Eastern European presence in the inner South suburbs, we’re no strangers to the Reuben, so making sure yours gets noticed in a crowd is no mean feat. Hurlston knew exactly how he wanted to tackle it. With the menu at Easey’s featuring a Reuben Dawg and Reuben topped chips, the New York icon works brilliantly with a Melbourne twist.
Having seen the almighty beasts of Reubens being served up in the US – packed to bursting full of brisket and pastrami, and loaded up with Russian dressing and sauerkraut – he found the local offerings in Melbourne a little restrained in their fillings. Enter Easey’s at The Emerson’s behemoth: with a whopping 1/2 a pound of Challenger Smallgoods brisket per sandwich, pastrami, gooey cheese, tangy sauerkraut, and dripping with a perfectly piquant Russian dressing, this sanga will smash even the biggest hunger.
Other custom creations include lettuce tacos (my favourite are the pulled jackfruit tacos served in lettuce leaves with a vegan lime aioli for a lighter treat), a lavish Maine style lobster roll served in a vegan roll with light lemon and pepper mayonnaise, celery, and chives that will have you dreaming of New England coastlines, and a killer salt and pepper calamari with wasabi mayo that screams cool bayside summers.
You’ll find plenty of familiar American favourites on the menu, but all with a little South Yarra twist. If you love a grilled cheese, then you have to try Easey’s at The Emerson’s very extra version, with Swiss cheese, cheddar cheese and mozzarella burnt béchamel making this one creamy, oozy, and decadent delight. If Southern comfort food tempts your tastebuds, the Southern Fried Chicken Tenders will blow you away. Crumbed in a gluten free maize flour and secret spices, these tenders have a kick that you’ll keep coming back for.
And this is a rooftop bar, after all, so we can’t ignore the amazing cocktail menu – all with Southside suburb inspired, or course – that has a little something for everyone, including the designated driver with plenty of cocktail and soda options. If you’re looking for something a little stronger, my recommendation is the cheeky Promiscious Prahran, a combo of Bombay Sapphire gin, Mozart white chocolate, lemon, and vanilla. A little sour, a little sweet, it’s the perfect Sunday sesh drop. If booze ain’t your thing, the Lemon and Lychee cocktail is absolutely delicious and super refreshing for a warm summer afternoon.
Easey’s at The Emerson’s partnership proves that whether you’re chilling on a rooftop in South Yarra or Collingwood, we’re all looking out over the same beautiful city.
Oh, and by the way, it’s a potato cake.