Australia / Melbourne

Hope St Radio – A Community Jewel

Hope St Radio – Introduction

Hope St Radio is much more than a bar or restaurant – it is also a valuable community resource where (mainly young) people congregate to enjoy the vibe, the music, the art and the food and drink.

Approaching the venue you notice the relaxing outdoor area which, on the night we arrived, was packed with young people enjoying drinks and snacks in the convivial atmosphere. And it was the middle of winter!

The building behind the outdoor tables is a former education facility from an era when such buildings were made to last.

Hope St Radio
Outside view

Inside the restaurant it was also busy with every table except ours occupied. One table in the corner was also set aside for the “radio” part of the exercise where the DJs carried out their duties and interacted with the guests.

Hope St Radio – The Food

The food menu is short, but we wanted to eat every dish! And it wasn’t long before we were enjoying expertly prepared snapper crudo with nduja and breakfast radish.

Hope St Radio – Snapper Crudo

Next came lamb carpaccio with green chilli and tropea onions which was also a delight.

Hope St Radio – Lamb carpaccio

Next came spaghetti with baby leeks and spigarello greens followed by another pasta dish of rigatoni with wild venison ragu and pecorino.

Hope St Radio – Rigatoni with wild Venison

The final dish was a triumph. It was a perfectly executed meringue topped with poached rhubarb. Delicious!

Hope St Radio – Meringue with rhubarb

Every dish was cooked with care and attention with flavour at the forefront.

Hope St Radio – The Wine

We had made the connection with this venue through our common love of natural wines – in fact there are some of the wines we import on their wine list.

The wine list is just the sort of list we seek out. We will try to explain why.

Giants of the European wine world including Frank Cornelissen from Sicily (yes, Susucaru is there), Matassa and Alain Castex from Roussillon, Francois Saint-Lô from the Loire Valley, Domaine Valette from Burgundy and Cantina Giardino from Campania sit comfortably alongside their Australian colleagues such as Basket Range Wine, Manon Farm, Lucy Margaux and The Other Right.

It didn’t take us very long to peruse the two dense pages of the wine list and spot the iconic Cantina Giardino Volpe Rosa which is made from a rare pink mutation of Coda di Volpe from Campania (and, as an added bonus, their Paski is also on the list). This was a perfect choice, matching to almost every dish we tried!

And to finish

We thought that we would finish by including an Instagram post we composed after this meal because we think it captures exactly what we felt on our visit to this special place.

Yes, this was as delicious as it looks, the sweetness of most of it beautifully balanced by the rhubarb’s tartness. It was a rather glorious ending to an equally glorious night.

The uniqueness of @hopestradio is thrilling. It’s a place filled with the sort of warmth and good feelings that only happen when somewhere is a labour of love.

Actually, in spite of the evidence (we did see @cookedwithjack working hard in the kitchen, as calm as the two women who made up the team) it’s hard to feel that this is really labour. It feels more like “let’s put all the things we like together – music, good food and natural wine – and turn it into a business so that our work will seem like play”.

We could be wrong – there’s no doubt lots of paddling under the water for this vibrant, busy venue to operate so smoothly, but it feels more like a party full of friends than a restaurant.

It’s a most unlikely wine list (one of the best in Melbourne for the sort of wine we like to drink) for such a loose venue, but if you list the wines you love and believe in and put knowledgeable people on the floor to explain it, then your customers will feel that love and it seems come along for the ride.

We’re very grateful to have @hopestradio as a customer and especially for what they do trusting that their customers will be keen to embrace and learn about unfamiliar wines and grapes! And if there is still some @cantinagiardino Volpe Rosa on the wine list don’t miss it. It was a perfect food (and even colour) match with pretty much everything.

Final comment – as loose as it looks on the lawn – if you reserve a table for dinner it’s actually a calm, relaxed experience and, if you are lucky, you can watch the kitchen team from your table.

Additional information

Street: Hope St Radio

Street: 35 Johnston St

Suburb: Collingwood, 3066


Opening hours: Open Thu – Sun from 3pm

You can read more about this venue at their Web site.

We have included this venue in our survey of Melbourne food and drink experiences.

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