Each year the Christmas period has the potential to throw a little spanner in the works when it comes to workplace positivity and productivity. Given most office workers take at least some holiday time during this period, the return to the office can sometimes be a bit of a rude shock. After sleep-ins, long days in the sun, and plenty of time with friends and family, getting back into the rigour and pace of work can be challenging for some.
But it doesn’t need to be.
Businesses should be taking advantage of this situation by using it as an opportunity to reconnect, something that is all the more important after the lockdowns of 2021. It’s time to remind your team of the pleasure of work and reconnect after the holidays.
What better way to do this than to organise a team lunch?
Having lunch out of the office reminds office workers that going to work is about more than just the work itself. It’s about forging real interpersonal connections with people that support, challenge, and encourage us in what we do. And while the workplace itself should be a place where we can develop good relationships, sometimes it helps to just close laptops for a while and see each person’s social side.
So, to help you decide where to head for your next business lunch—whether it’s a team meet-up, a client reconnect, or anything else—we’ve put together a list of the best lunch spots across Sydney, North Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane.
We’ve chosen some great options ranging from quick and light bites to rooftop long lunches. Best of all, each of the venues we’ve highlighted is within a short distance of a Christie Spaces office location!
Let’s look at the menu.
As one of the most celebrated cities in the world, Sydney culture needs no introduction. There are lunch spots suitable for every kind of occasion, whether that’s an executive meeting or a Friday team hangout. Here are some of the best, all within walking distance from our offices at 3 Spring Street.
Sydneysiders enjoy some of the best exotic foods from around the world, and Mr Wong has become a culinary institution for Cantonese-inspired cooking. The food is fast, fresh, delicious, and always prepared to immaculate standards.
The menu is perfectly set up for both long and short lunches, serving up single-dish classics as well as tantalising dim sum selections for everyone to share. Despite the cuisine being of the highest calibre, the mood is relaxed and fun—perfect for forgetting about the office for a while.
Cafe Sydney offers a quintessentially Sydney vibe, being both laid back and very modern. Perched on top of Customs House in Circular Quay, it affords patrons stunning views of the harbour. It also offers the option to dine in the open on its rooftop terrace, but you’ll need to book in advance to make sure you secure one of these sought-after spots.
The name is deceptive because Cafe Sydney is not really a coffee house. The venue serves up top-quality modern Australian cuisine and offers wine and cocktails to match. It’s pricier than some of the other options on the list, but the quality and charm are worth it.
If you’re looking for something with a more fun vibe, Prince of York has got you covered. The menu is set up perfectly for sharing plates with a long list of cocktails to help turn some cuffs up.
The setting is a repurposed warehouse and it’s been done up well for a hint of a party atmosphere—low lighting, an attractive bar, and modern, unpretentious decor.
Another royal title but this one is far from a stuffy affair. The Duke of Clarence offers classic Australian pub food in a historical tavern-style venue. The food is of great quality without breaking the bank.
But the best part is the buzzing atmosphere and the full selection of drinks you would expect from a downtown pub. This will get the team knocking glasses.
Just on the other side of the harbour from the main Sydney CBD, North Sydney boasts several fantastic lunch venues not often frequented by visitors to the city. One of the best things about North Sydney is that it’s compact enough to get around easily. These options are all a stone’s throw from our locations at 56 Berry Street and 100 Walker Street.
Overlooking Victoria Crossing, The Treehouse Hotel is a bright, airy venue with enough capacity for any sized team. It offers modern Australian cuisine and a drinks menu to satisfy all tastebuds.
It’s also a great after-work drinks venue, so if your long lunch turns into an even longer lunch you’ll be well set.
Sydney is full of rooftop bars and restaurants that absorb light and set a majestic atmosphere. This is what Hunter Gatherer achieves in its laid-back setting on top of the busy Greenwood Plaza shopping centre.
As the name suggests, the menu is somewhat meat-centric, offering a broad selection of classics cooked in a variety of styles. You can choose individual dishes or go for large sharing plates. Make sure you check your team’s dietary preferences before booking, perhaps. The long cocktails and drinks list are also a massive plus!
If you want to get the team together but don’t want to blow the budget on fancy dining, the Rag and Famish might be your ticket. A classic pub with a lot of history, it offers sprawling dining and drinking areas.
You can pick up traditional pub food and a wide selection of beers and other pub staples. A good tip might be to set your lunchtime back a little bit and let lunch flow into Friday night drinks. There are many other bars in the vicinity to keep things rolling.
If you’re looking to up the ante a little bit, the Green Moustache is a sleek modern dining experience in a high-end setting. North Sydney’s go-to rooftop garden restaurant is headed up by chef Pete Fitzimmons, best known for his previous work at Chin Chin over in Surrey Hills.
The menu here is fresh and dazzling, and the wines and cocktails just complete the experience.
Melbourne’s reputation for cuisine and culture, in general, is beyond question. Offering up everything from Michelin restaurants to hip hole-in-the-wall eateries, it’s got something for everyone. Here are a few of our selections from the streets near our offices at 454 Collins Street.
The Hardware Club is quintessentially Melbourne: modern, stylish, laid back, and of very good quality. This great spot represents the Italian heritage of this great city, offering a limited menu that focuses on doing a small number of dishes very well (sometimes less is more).
Choose from classic Italian dishes, sharing plates, or light meals if you’re just passing through. This one is casual and won’t break the bank, so you and your colleagues might become regulars.
At the upper end of the scale, Hazel showcases Melbourne’s finest dining. It’s a sleek setting doubling as a bar and restaurant, serving a high-end menu of modern Australian cooking influenced by the cultures of the world.
The vibe is not nighttime swank, though. The venue is bright with a laid back decor, perfect for long lunches.
Just down the road from The Hardware Club is another Melbourne restaurant drawing on the city’s international heritage. Miznon specialises in classic street food staples from around the Mediterranean.
But the street food label shouldn’t make you think you can’t stop and enjoy yourself with some drinks. It’s more an indication that the food is authentic. So get yourself a booking and take your time.
Cumulus Inc. seems custom-built for team dining. The establishment has been around since 2008 and, in that time, has carved out a reputation for itself in Melbourne as a specialist in shared plates of modern Australian cuisine.
The location is brilliant, the setting is bright and roomy, and the atmosphere is buzzing. A perfect spot to reconnect with your colleagues after a long break (or after a stressful month of work).
Brisbane might be the most classically Australian city with its mix of a relaxed atmosphere, natural beauty, and a bubbling cultural life. Its lunch spots also have all of those things in spades, plus a lot more. Have a look at some of our favourite spots that are spitting distance from our offices at 320 Adelaide Street and 240 Queen Street, right in the heart of the city!
Alchemy is something of a Brisbane institution, located in an enviable location right next to the river. It serves up a menu of fine Italian dining. Classic pasta, risotto, and seafood, all cooked with extreme attention to detail. The menu is short because quality comes first.
This is the kind of business lunch location you might choose to impress your best clients or the kind of dining experience you encourage your team with for the year ahead.
The name tells you most of what you need to know. If you’re in the mood to treat the team to some prime cuts and wine for a long lunch, this is your jam.
A classic venue with leather upholstered seats and a few tucked away tables, the place has charm. Have no fear, there is more on the menu than steak.
Patina is a venue that captures both the beauty and the laid back vibe that is Brisbane’s trademark. The restaurant offers stunning views from the top of one of the city’s most iconic heritage facades, Customs House.
The menu is pure Australian modernity, influenced by flavours from around the world. The restaurant places a big focus on sourcing the best local ingredients and transforming them into modern classics. Enjoy the best Australian seafood along with high-quality agricultural produce.
Motorwagon is a specialist lunch venue, although it’s open as a drop-in cafe and breakfast spot in the earlier hours of the day. Inspired by the motoring history of Mercedes Benz, the restaurant serves up quality modern cooking in a bright, roomy, and unpretentious setting.
Word to the wise, however: it’s a city favourite for long lunches, so make sure you book well in advance to get your team all in there.
We’ve given you a few options to look at from these world-class CBD locations, covering everything from high-dining to chilled out street food to help you plan the perfect return to work lunch for your team.
You might want to reward your team with an all-out meal, for example, but this might not set the mood for the kind of relaxed conversation that brings people together. Likewise, you should consider the personalities, cultural backgrounds, and diets of those you are taking to lunch.
It all depends on who you’re taking out and what you’re trying to get them to take away from the occasion.
Having said that, these beautiful cities have so much variety on offer that you can have a bit of fun and try out some different vibes whenever it’s time to get the team together.