Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen
302 Toorak Road, South Yarra VIC
03 9041 7707
Any Melburnian can tell you there’s no shortage of bars and restaurants on Toorak Road. However, Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen brings something different to the bustling strip, shining the spotlight on small batch Aussie producers.
While they may be new kids on the block, the team behind Shadowboxer are definitely not beginners. The space is a collaboration between hospitality veterans, Luke Thompson, Nick Aitken, and Michael and Shelley Thom.
In fact, it was Michael and Shelley’s baby daughter, Nico, who inspired the name. “Her arms and legs were always on the move when we were planning the venue and we claimed she was a little “shadowboxer” and the name stuck for the bar,” said Michael.
The four owners met while working together at various bars across Melbourne, including Lucky Coq and Borsch, Vodka and Tears. Michael has also worked at popular Melbourne venues such as Naked for Satan, Boatbuilders Yard and Pilgrim Bar.
Shadowboxer’s focus on small Australian producers stems largely from Michael’s work here and from his involvement with the Juniperlooza Gin Festival over the last two years. When he realised just how many exceptional Australian products were out there, he decided to curate a space that would showcase this. Enter Shadowboxer.
The bar and kitchen opened its doors late last year to a warm response. Welcoming everyone with a love of good food, wine and cocktails, the debut venture from the group has been incredibly successful in its short life.
Luke, Nick, Michael and Shelley have enlisted the help of chef Liz Contini (previously of Borsch, Vodka and Tears and GG’s Restaurant) to oversee the imaginative menu at Shadowboxer. With a focus on sustainability and using as much local produce as possible, the menu is a combination of seasonal snacks, serious meals and mouth-watering desserts.
Liz’s duck ribs with house-made barbecue sauce and jalapeno aioli were an instant hit among the crowd, as were the zucchini fritters with Persian feta and lemon labne.
For those with a sweet tooth there is also a compact, yet satisfying sweets menu – try the rum pannacotta with nectarine, pistachios and fairy floss and we assure you, you will not be disappointed.
A quick glance at the drinks menu and Shadowboxer continues to delight and impress. As expected beer, cider and wine are all available, as is an impressive selection of cocktails, with tongue-in-cheek names to boot.
Understandably, the most popular of the lot is the barrel-aged negroni, a combination of Four Pillars gin, Carpano Antica Formula and Campari that’s then rested in French oak for three weeks. The Grounds For Divorce – White Light vodka, blueberry conserve, lavender, lemon and prosecco, and Velvet Sledgehammer – Del Maguey mezcal, fresh passionfruit, lime, agave syrup and ginger beer, are also trendy choices.
Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen is located inside a converted terrace. Designed by Fiona Lynch, the comfortable and light-filled space is modern while retaining its original character and old world charm.
A stop by Toorak Road’s newest bar-slash-restaurant is sure to please. At Shadowboxer Bar & Kitchen an exceptionally qualified team bring you the best small batch Australian produce available. Is there anything better?