The 1980s were a simpler time. We all wanted to be a BMX bandit, cried when Scott and Charlene got married, spent hours solving the rubiks cube. It was also a time when things were big and bold; hair, shoulder pads, ghetto blasters and computers. The Internet was relegated to underground military bunkers, style reflected the zeitgeist perfectly, and Frankie (Goes To Hollywood) said Relax.
Now Frankie Says we should eat, drink, share and relax. Okay, we’ll happily do that.
Especially when it’s in the beautiful al fresco dining area of the new eatery and bar open along the riverside in Abbotsford. You’ll find this little gem opposite IKEA. Just walk down Acacia Place toward the Yarra and you’ll end up there. The light-filled interior features a semi-private mezzanine, breakfast bar and floor-to-ceiling glass that opens up onto an expansive, sun-drenched outdoor area overlooking the Yarra. It’s somewhere you’ll want to stay all afternoon, and they are happy for you to do just that. Huge solid timber pillars frame the exterior while inside a contemporary union of hardwood floors, mosaic tiles, rendered concrete walls, exposed ducting and 18 stunning pendant lights suspended from the high ceilings create a cool and casual feel that is balanced and inviting.
More of an idea than a person, Frankie Says is the perfect outlet for the creativity and fun side of Megan Phillis and James Meehan. They are the masterminds behind culinary concepts Hoy Pinoy (of cult like fame at the night markets), The Meatball Company, and Café Italia, and have used this latest venture to capture all that they love about food. Meeting them at a lovely lunch to showcase their summer menu, I am reminded that some people were born for hospitality and we are all the winners when they share their passion with us.
Frankie Says is very much a personal gesture with Megan saying, “Opening Frankie Says is like inviting people into our home. This is how we love to eat – with flavour, sharing and laughter turned up high. We want Frankie Says to be somewhere people can feel totally relaxed as they enjoy a champagne brunch, catch up with friends over an afternoon antipasto, or simply take a moment to themselves in the leafy surrounds with a cup of coffee.”
The Frankie Says menu is geared for exactly that style of eating. Sitting down to lunch with Megan and James, and their respective partners was truly relaxing, and their personable warmth made everyone feel like we were with old friends.
The mouthwatering assortito is a must, I particularly enjoyed the house-made vegetables and grissini (which I’d happily buy by the bag from them). It is the perfect share plate to graze on over a glass or two of Pimms or a Campari Spritz whilst you consider what else to try from the menu.
House-made stone oven pizzas won’t leave you disappointed, nor will the salads and ‘sandwiches’. Those addicted to Melbourne’s favourite pastime, brunching, will love the delicious deep dish pancake and truffle eggs with artichoke paste.
Frankie Says also has its own series of table wines, a bright and inviting 2013 Sauvignon Blanc from the Adelaide Hills with luscious citrus and tropical notes and a 2012 Padthaway Cabernet Sauvignon with rich ripe berry and minty leaf characters. These vinos join a wine list packed full of Australian and international sparkling as well as thirst quenching favourites such as a Bloody ‘Frankie’. What Frankie Says goes, and he says have a drink.
Frankie Says is located at 15 Acacia Place, Abbotsford and is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch, from 7am – 4pm weekdays and 8am – 5pm weekends. James and Megan say dinner will be coming soon, so watch this space.