Melbourne’s food scene is becoming more and more diverse offering culinary delights from every corner of the globe. You don’t have to go far to find a fresh and stylish take on Vietnamese, Malaysian, Mexican or Italian with a strong foodie flavour. So when it comes to looking for fresh inspiration for a culinary themed restaurant it can be a challenge. There is a new theme emerging that draws inspiration from right under our noses, offers a point of difference in the market and has a strong brand message.The Sweetwater Inn, which recently opened in the back streets of South Yarra offers a outback environment in an Australian themed shed which is bold and quirky. It offers a fresh take on the Australiana pub and has a strong brand essence to differentiate itself from the competitive Melbourne food scene.
The Sweetwater Inn brings the essence and spirt of the Aussie Outback into the contemporary gastro-pub scene in Melbourne in a way that isn’t cheesy or overdone. The restaurant has a tin roof, concrete floors and a corrugated iron feature wall so you feel like you’re in a shed in the outback. The food and drink flavour combinations are well thought out and even bring a level of class to a rissole sandwich!! You can go back to basics and have chips and gravy with a can of beer or you can be slightly more adventurous and have pulled lamb smoked with lemon myrtle and black tea with beetroot BBQ sauce and a Billy Tea cocktail. You won’t find burgers or steak on the menu but you will find rissoles and Kangaroo.
All food is served with a rustic twist using chopping boards, camping tins, tin cans and mugs. However, the quality of the food goes far beyond something you would scratch together at an outback campsite.
Sweetwater Inn is not the first to use inspiration from the Australian outback to differentiate it’s offering from other urban eateries. It follows Rose Diner and Bar in Port Melbourne, Fitzroy’s Charcoal Lane and Gypsey & Musquito, in Richmond who all specialise in native ingredients from crocodile sausages, wattle seed, macadamia nuts and lemon myrtle. These restaurants are becoming more and more popular amongst consumers who are constantly seeking to try new gastronomical experiences.
This type of restaurant offers a great alternative to modern Australian pubs which are becoming more and more gentrified in city environments. Most pubs you visit in the city have been modernised and no longer offer the atmosphere of a county pub and quite often aspire to resemble a high-end restaurant. The new take on the Aussie pub is interesting because it brings the pub offering into a different market, competing with gusto-pubs and urban style eateries.
Sweetwater Inn have a clear outback inspired essence which flows through to every aspect of the restaurant, a strategy which is common in popular Melbourne urban eateries.
When I glanced over the menu I had a feeling of nostalgia and also of excitement to try some new Austrlaiana flavour combinations. I couldn’t resit the old favourites, so the chips and gravy were a hit for me! I look forward to watching this Australiana food trend develop. There is something special about celebrating the food and flavours of Australia and using this as a differentiation point. Let’s keep our eyes peeled to see what the next themed urban food trend will be.
If you’re looking to solidify your brand essence and positioning and want a point of difference that makes you stand out in the market then give us a call.
Gemma Dittmar - Director of Brand Projects