Located on the first floor of Melbourne’s iconic Curtin House, Cookie is pumping beer, beats and Thai food right in the middle of the city’s beating heart. With the motto of ‘beer hall, eating house and disco’, it’s an all-day, all-night venue where time flies because you’re having too much fun.
Ever since its early days in 1923, Curtin House has been home to Melbourne’s best – hosting bars, lounges, game rooms, art studios and intellectual hubs. In 2003, after eight decades of history, the six-storey art nouveau building was resurrected to become Melbourne’s most coveted spot. With this rebirth, Cookie opened its doors and behind them, owner, Camillo Ippoliti and Executive Chef, Karen Batson.
Karen knows the hospitality industry inside out – she’s also responsible for other Melbourne heavyweights such as The Toff in Town, Colonel Tan’s and more recently, Magic Mountain Saloon and Boney. Her extensive travel through Thailand and passion for bold flavours has resulted in Cookie’s unique dishes and enduring popularity in the often fickle Melbourne dining scene.
Cookie’s fragrant flavours are characteristic of a traditional Thai household and Head Chef, Chao Harntae, Karen and the staff are one big Thai family, which creates a pleasant, affectionate vibe inside the stylish space. Chao grew up in the Issan region in the north of Thailand and his hands have been near pots and pans since he was a tot. His mother had a food stall at the local market on the weekends and it was here that Chao spent his days learning the ropes.
Open for lunch and dinner, the never-ending variety of fresh seafood options, aromatic curries and mouth-watering rotis are a testament to Melbourne’s love for Thai cuisine. Familiar options to start include the betel leaf cocktail with snapper, grilled Thai sausage, and cured ocean trout with smoked mussels.
From there, the beef ribs, served with lemongrass, lychee and star anise are mind-blowingly delicious, while the chicken and onion-stuffed roti or the pork belly dry red curry is a must in any spread. Pair these with a salad or two – the classic green papaya perhaps – for a meal that you’ll be thinking about for days to come.
If you’re after drinks and simply want to nibble on something tasty, the tapioca dumplings filled with pork, peanuts and pickled turnip, are an inviting variation of this laneway classic.
There’s also a whole bar menu available – in it, you’ll find dishes that can be easily paired with something from the 24-tap beer menu or the 88-page wine list. Your visit wouldn’t be complete without sipping on one of Cookie’s world-class seasonal cocktails – order the Jade Monkey for a refreshing combination of Absolut Elyx, Pavan Aperitif, kiwi syrup, lemon and apple juice, fresh ginger with orange and juniper bitters.
This astonishingly trendy bar feels like home. Designed by architect, Phillip Schemnitz, every single detail at Cookie has been thought through. Solid brass lighting fittings and display cases were custom made, fitting in perfectly with the building’s art nouveau history and colour palette.
For many out-of-towners Cookie is usually the first stop to boozy cocktails, beers and wonderful food. For the locals, Cookie is a Melbourne icon worth revisiting time and time again.