If you are fortunate enough to reside in Bayside Council and the words “international cuisine” affect you in a comparable way that the aroma of coffee affects an insomniac, then it is time to count your culinary blessings and realise that your good fortune is about to increase exponentially. That is, finding your way to 1 Church Street, Brighton, will reward you with a stylish and exciting establishment that has been created by locals, for locals, and has been catering to the Bayside community for nearly 30 years. Pantry, no doubt a household name for the well entrenched residents of Brighton and surrounds, is an ultra-relaxed dining spot that possesses simple, stylish décor and generous outdoor seating. It describes itself as a “wholesome and polished hub”, a genuine one-stop foodie destination. “How wholesome?”, you may be asking. It is sufficiently wholesome, to say the very least. The compound boasts a bustling restaurant, a private event space, amazing burgers, world-class sushi, an award-winning pizzeria and even their very own ice creamery. Wholesome enough?

At Pantry Dining Room, the focus is on brunch, showcasing modern Australian food. In this case, a “brunch focus” means literally that – breakfast and lunch are served 7 days a week. If, however, you arrive in the evening expecting to enjoy the final meal of day, you will be sadly disappointed, as dinner service is not on the menu. This nearly 3-decades-old iconic Bayside institution provides diners with a keen sense of relaxed sophistication, offerings which are simultaneously stylish, delicious and refined. Locally sourced produce is combined to create an Avocado Breakfast like no other – smashed avocado, peas, cucumber, cornichons, edamame, herb salad, Japanese omelette and toasted nori. To be precise, this is genuine breakfast paradise. If your leaning is towards all things mycological, then brace yourself for pure delight – wild mushrooms and sage served with poached eggs, goat’s curd, truffled pecorino, micro-herbs and sourdough toast. From the brunch menu, treat yourself to one of the most well balanced meals you may ever come across, the Tuna Goddess – seared tuna with zucchini, snowpeas, avocado, edamame, spinach, broccolini, cucumber, peas, nuts and seeds, golden sultanas and Green Goddess dressing. Your body and soul with thank you. Breakfast and lunch are served all day until 4pm. If you require that something special from the bar, rest assured that Pantry Dining Room is fully licensed, providing patrons with cocktails, beer, white wine, red wine and champagne. Of course, premium locally roasted Tierra Columbia coffee by Lavazza and an assortment of loose-leaf teas ensure that your caffeine needs are properly met.

This food safari tour now leaves the heart of Pantry and investigates the more recent and evolutionary arms of the compound. The next stop is a three-in-one located behind the main space which incorporates Royale Brothers, Willy’s and Lickings – in other words, this single shopfront tantalises you with burgers, fried chicken and ice-cream. Together, these three brands boast enormous reputations, with Royale Brothers burgers consistently voted among Melbourne’s top 10. The signature Royale with Cheese will transport you back to the first time you watched ‘Pulp Fiction’ – 180g of beef, double cheese, onion, lettuce, pickles, mustard, mayo and spicy Royale sauce, all loaded onto a toasted milk bun. Willy’s World-Famous Fried Chicken caters to the Original Southern Spice, the Angry Hot and the Ring of Fire crowds. Chicken wings and milk bun sandwiches round out Willy’s menu. Finally, Lickings Fine Ice-Cream is just that, fine. How could it not be? The Ice-Cream Master oversees the daily churning, utilising time-honoured methods to create the finest ice-cream with the best ingredients. Whatever you do, save room for dessert.

The final two stops in the Pantry realm of all things delicious are Hiro and Pacco Pizzeria. Hiro prides itself on serving “Japanese food as it should be”. The simple, yet sophisticated, menu provides Bayside with an authentic taste of Japan and has recently expanded and evolved to suit palates of all ages. Traditional food is prepared by skilled sushi masters and includes sushi, sashimi, gyoza, ramen and other Japanese-inspired dishes. A food store also operates out of Hiro’s premises. One of the few foods that reminds us all of the joy of being human, is pizza. It is hardly a surprise, then, that Pacco Pizzeria “celebrates the greatness of pizza”, plainly and simply. Pacco endeavours to create what it likes to call a personal care package, one that is worthy and capable of being shared with family and friends, as well. This pizza menu, however, is not pedestrian – far, far from it, actually. The most likely firmest case in point would have to be the rabbit pizza – slow-braised free-range rabbit, bacon, mushrooms, mozzarella, lemon and truffled pecorino. Read it again. Is there even a remote possibility of saying anything more? No, definitely not. 

The Pantry Dining Room has been an iconic institution of the Bayside landscape for almost 30 years.

Visit Pantry Dining Room

Hiro, a taste of Japan right in the heart of Brighton.

Visit Hiro

Tucked away behind the Pantry is Lickings Fine Ice Cream.

Visit Royale + Lickings
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