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Seamstress Restaurant

8.9/10
694
113 Lonsdale Street, 3000 Melbourne (VIC)See map

Average price A$65

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INSIDER tip

Restaurateur Jason Chan is quite used to the sight of confused-looking tourists hesitating at the door of his inner-city Melbourne establishment, Seamstress. Guidebooks clutched tightly, they are expecting to find a place of calm in the city where they can worship while on holiday. Instead, they've happened on one of the most popular restaurant and bar complexes in town and it's little wonder, says Chan, that they seem befuddled. "This building has had a very interesting past. It was a Buddhist temple for a while and is still listed as one in quite a few of the older Chinese guidebooks. People get a bit of a surprise when they turn up." Less embarrassing, though, than if the visitors had been expecting carnal, rather than culinary, pleasures. The 112-year-old building was once also the home of a well-known Melbourne brothel. Fortunately, Chan and his business partner Anthony Herzog chose to be inspired by another chapter in the building's life when selecting a decorating theme: for many years it housed a garment factory. Notoriously, in the 1930s it was raided by police for being a sweatshop. Chan was born and raised in Dunedin, New Zealand and is a fifth-generation restaurant owner. He recently sold Imbibe in Wellington and was part of the winning 42 Below Cocktail World Cup team in 2005.

Restaurant menu

Chef Jason Chan
  • Average price A$65
Crispy Brussels sprouts, white miso & lemon dressing with togarashi
A$9
Asian garden herb salad with nuoc cham dressing
A$8
Rocket & broccoli salad with pickled ginger & miso dressing
A$7

User photos

Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)
Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)
Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)
Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)
Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)
Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)
Seamstress Restaurant, Melbourne (VIC)

+5

photos

Reviews

8.9/10
Fabulous694 reviews
8.8/10

Food

9.2/10

Service

8.9/10

Ambience

9-10

7-8

5-6

3-4

1-2

Only users who have booked on the platforms or a booking module of TheFork group and who have dined in this restaurant can leave a rating, with or without a review.

  • Gordon M.
    Gordon M.

    September 24, 20221 review

    10/10

    Lovely people, explained the concept, and then backed it up with wonderful food. Be aware, that the entrance is easy to miss. It's up one flight of stairs, carry on up another for amazing cocktails.

  • Alyson S.
    Alyson S.

    August 19, 20222 reviews

    6.5/10

    The food was lovely however some was cold and the rest just luke warm. The service was good. It was very cramped and a little more room between tables would be nice

  • Julie C.
    Julie C.

    August 11, 20221 review

    10/10

    Great place, decor is just so cool without being pretentious. Great ambience and mixed age group of patrons. Food was plentiful and extremely good. Staff were friendly and helpful. We loved it and the bar upstairs. Looking forward to a return visit.

  • Daniel M.
    Daniel M.

    May 3, 202215 reviews

    9/10

    For entrees, I ordered the Crispy Softshell Crab and Flame Wok-tossed Vegetables. The crab was impeccable. I thoroughly enjoyed every bite. Bursting with flavour, succulent, crispy, well-sauced. The vegetables were light and crunchy – delicious. My main was the Crispy Pork Belly. It lived up to its name: crispy! I particularly enjoyed the cashew and peanut garnish and Red Dragon Sauce. However, I felt that some of the pork pieces needed more of the sauce; also, the Vietnamese mint salad was rather bland. The ambience is excellent – the music wasn't blasting during lunch time, making it the perfect place for a good conversation with friends or colleagues.

  • David S.
    David S.

    April 12, 202214 reviews

    4.5/10

    First, the waiter got our order wrong (a medium instead of small). When this was pointed out and admitted to we thought the issue was resolved - but when the bill arrived they still attempted to charge us for the wrong size. The food was generally lacklustre. The soft-shell crab was over-cooked (dark brown), and the oil in the deep fryer was clearly not fresh. The pork belly also seemed to have been through the same deep fryer, rather than having been roasted. We will not be back.

  • Michael E.

    March 30, 202227 reviews

    10/10

    The martini was great, food right up there with the best I’ve had, topped off by the excellent and personal service of Dimitri!!! My wife and I loved it.

  • Marcus P.
    Marcus P.

    March 26, 202218 reviews

    10/10

    Wow! What tastes abound in this place, tucked away upstairs! Absolutely divine! From the moneybag dumplings to the pork belly, seafood to cocktails, everything was amazing. Food melts in your mouth, leaving pleasures usually restricted to the bedroom! Please indulge, it’s a share based menu, not lengthy, short and sweet but what they do excels above all expectations. Thank you, we’ll be back for seconds!

  • John H.

    March 19, 20228 reviews

    9/10

    Cocktails to kick off the evening were lovely and waitress happy to advise on off menu options - great selection. The food was magnificent - great flavours and generous dishes. Loved the fact you could order small, medium and large sizes and waiter was great in helping us choose the right size so we did not order too much. Loved all the food!

  • Jason L.

    January 22, 20221 review

    9/10

    Great little restaurant, beautiful food and knowledgeable staff. Excellent drinks menu to partner the rich Asian inspired flavours of the wonderful dishes we enjoyed as part of the banquet.

  • Pru M
    Pru M

    December 17, 202111 reviews

    7/10

    Lovely to be back to enjoy good service and a great range of interesting drinks / cocktail options. Favourite dishes: the wontons & the brussel sprouts

  • Nadz A.
    Nadz A.

    December 13, 20217 reviews

    6/10

    The food was nice but nothing to write home about. The Korean fried chicken should really be boneless. It was also quite dry. The "crispy" pork belly was anything but crispy. The softshell crab and dumplings were nice. The waiters were quite inattentive and came across as snobby. Seamstress has lots of potential but need to improve their food and service.

  • Krystle W.

    November 30, 20213 reviews

    9/10

    Food was fabulous, server was really lovely and full of personality. The front of house when she greeted us looked like she would rather be anywhere but where she was which let it down abit.

  • Elizabeth M.
    Elizabeth M.

    November 16, 202124 reviews

    8.5/10

    So good to be back out in Melbourne! This is a great place with lots of tasty selections and helpful and friendly staff.

  • Jason V.

    July 15, 20211 review

    10/10

    This is an amazing restaurant to find and one i wish we had known about earlier. The staff were just the best and added to the experience!!! We will be going back again soon.

  • Sue M.

    July 9, 20211 review

    10/10

    We loved our dining experience at the Seamstress. The setting and decor are great and sets a tone straight away. We felt that the food and service were terrific.

  • Jane C.

    July 3, 20213 reviews

    9/10

    Seemed to be understaffed but drinks and food were delicious and served in a timely manner. Value for money, a cute little restaurant will definitely visit again.

  • Jodie F.

    June 25, 20211 review

    10/10

    Food, service, atmosphere was all delightful. Would definitely go again. Highly recommend the ‘feed me’ option. Oh and the Brussel sprouts are well worth giving a try

  • Keith C.

    June 23, 20217 reviews

    9.5/10

    Seamstress is a gem of a restaurant. Super share menu selections along with excellent knowledgeable staff. Nice atmosphere reflecting the rag trade background of the venue

  • Justine L.

    June 18, 20211 review

    3/10

    Cocktails were great but food was very average and overpriced. Took a very long time to come too! Really nice menu but disappointing in execution

  • Paris C.

    June 16, 20211 review

    10/10

    Good service ????????

See all reviews

Tripadvisor reviews

490 Tripadvisor Reviews

More information

How to get to the restaurant

113 Lonsdale Street, 3000, Melbourne (VIC), Australia

About the restaurant

Things aren't what they seam

The Seamstress Restaurant lives in a house steeped in history. This is one of Chinatown's hidden gems. At first it kinda feels like you're climbing up stairs into a forgotten attic but once you're there the space is a pleasant surprise. You see, Seamstress restaurant lives in a 120-year-old building that was once a textile factory and even an old Buddhist monastery. Now it's a jazzy restaurant that does modern Cantonese food with panache. It's a pretty sight to behold, and a break from the red and gold Chinatown standards. With bare bricks and light polished wood, this restaurant has a fresh and contemporary atmosphere. Here you'll find a lunching business crew and curious customers after an elegant dinner. Based on the dishes of China, the menu also makes some detours into the flavours of Asian, and each item has a small medium and large so you can build your own delicious course or share the goodness with friends. Forget raucous Chinese restaurants and getting nudged by yum cha trolleys! Come to Seamstress and make the most of Chinatown's best kept secret.

Best dish: 12-hour braised Berkshire pork belly, jicama salad and kohlrabi kimchi

Features

, Father's Day, Travelers' Choice 2020

Frequently Asked Questions

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