Flin­ders Lane

VOGUE Living Australia - - VLIST -

Rev­el­ling in the grit and faded glam­our of its for­mer gar­ment­mak­ing in­dus­try, the top end of Flin­ders Lane is an in­nocu­ous strip on the edge of Mel­bourne’s CBD that makes sense of the city’s ‘in­vis­i­bil­ity’ clause — if it’s an easy find, it’s not a favourite. The game starts at Hi­hou (mean­ing ‘se­cret trea­sure’), a Tokyo-style bar dish­ing top-shelf sake and iza­kaya snacks with views over Treasury Gar­dens and a suit­ably tor­tured en­try with no sign-post­ing. Its ethos of slightly in­ac­ces­si­ble ex­cel­lence con­tin­ues a few doors down with the climb to Cu­mu­lus Up, the loftier, less-vis­i­ble ad­di­tion to An­drew McCon­nell’s Cu­mu­lus Inc, the all-rounder, all-day bistro beloved of bro­kers, bankers and gal­lerists. From there, go seek in the net­work of side lanes, where spray-painted labyrinths (sanc­ti­fied by city coun­cil as street art) se­crete drink­ing, danc­ing and din­ing holes as di­verse as MoVida (a bit of Basque bril­liance) and Coda (fab­u­lous French-Viet­namese). This United

Na­tions of good nosh flows down the hill cour­tesy of foodie king Chris Lu­cas, who has con­trib­uted with Chin Chin (Thai cur­ries that war­rant street queues) and Kisumé (a layer-cake of lux­ury Ja­panese din­ing op­tions, dished with im­ages of bondage by arts big­wig Nobuyoshi Araki). Flin­ders Lane is La Grande Bouffe of laneways — a place where food­ies can die happy af­ter feast­ing at Ezard (a fine din­ing mash of Aussie-Asian) and fin­ish­ing on a lob­ster roll at Su­per­nor­mal (an­other McCon­nell out­post). It’s also best-in-class in fashion (Ma­sons is a must for lux­ury menswear) and art, as ev­i­denced at Anna Schwartz Gallery, the won­drous white cube so-called af­ter the contemporary arts em­press who led the charge with ar­chi­tects Den­ton Corker Mar­shall (de­sign­ers of the Adel­phi Ho­tel) into a lane with limited ap­peal in the late 1980s. Fashion doyenne Chris­tine Barro fol­lowed their foray with her red door drop into a sub­ter­ranean sa­lon sim­ply scrawled Chris­tine — a crys­talli­sa­tion of ‘ex­pe­ri­en­tial re­tail’ long be­fore fu­tur­ists coined the phrase. Barro is re­lo­cat­ing to the top end of Collins Street (see page 92), mak­ing way for Louis Li, the young hote­lier who has com­mis­sioned March Stu­dio to do for Flin­ders Lane what Jack­a­lope did for the Morn­ing­ton Penin­sula — magic it up. A room in his bou­tique brand of sto­ry­telling is a fu­ture book­ing away (2020), but tourists can while away the wait in e.g.etal (star­tling contemporary jew­ellery by lo­cal tal­ent) and Craft Vic­to­ria, where so­phis­ti­cated pieces of hand­made Mel­bourne await new man­tels. an­naschwartz­gallery.com; chinch­in­restau­rant.com. au; christineac­ces­sories.com; co­darestau­rant.com.au; craft.org.au; cu­mu­lusup.com.au; ege­tal.com.au; ezard.com.au; hi­hou.com.au; kisume.com.au; ma­son­sof­fi­cial.com; movida.com.au; su­per­nor­mal.net.au

THIS PAGE Chin Chin restau­rant, in Flin­ders Lane. OP­PO­SITE PAGE artist Makiko Ryu­jin’s re­cent solo ex­hi­bi­tion Shinki (Burn­ing Ves­sel) at Craft Vic­to­ria.

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