Melbourne restaurant Moonhouse drips with Art Deco decadence

Inspired by its heritage-listed host and 1920s Shanghai

Everything from the signage and the front doors to the theatrical, glass-encased kitchen speaks to the historic architecture of new Melbourne restaurant, Moonhouse.

Located inside a curvaceous, heritage-listed art deco building on the corner of Carlisle and Nelson in the city’s Balaclava suburb, the dining spot is designed by local firm Ewert Leaf. It looked to the fabric of the building as well as the architecture of 1920s Shanghai to inspire the restaurant’s glamorous interiors.

The vintage atmosphere kicks in before guests have even stepped foot inside the dining room, thanks to the deco-style nameplate and decorative metal entranceway. This is amped up further inside, where glowing, globe-shaped pendants bathe the restaurant in gentle light.

As well as classic choices such as herringbone flooring and tubular steel dining chairs, Ewert Leaf chose some less conventional details – adding tiles to the ceiling and wrapping the kitchen in coloured Crittal glass. Terracotta-coloured glass dividers and strips of mosaic tiling add to the inviting atmosphere. Door handles from the restaurant’s predecessor have also been upcycled to create a sculptural wall fixture.

Moonhouse belongs to the Commune Group of restaurants, which also includes Firebird and TOKYO TINA. Chef Shirley Summakwan helms the kitchen, working with the group’s pastry chef Enza Soto (ex-Brae) and group executive chef Anthony Choi. Moonhouse’s menu puts a twist on familiar Cantonese classics, such as sesame-crusted prawn toast with prawn bisque dipping sauce, and a Hainanese chicken club sanga.

There’s also a pretty sizeable private dining room located upstairs, which seats 30 at a long table with lazy susans and its own private kitchen.

282 Carlisle St, Balaclava VIC 3183, Australia

Photography: Jack Lovel
Photography: Jack Lovel
Photography: Jack Lovel

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