Your visit's not complete without a selfie in front of the Cookie mural

Experience A Piece of Melbourne's Character at Cookie

By Beau
Beau is the founder of Apollo Social. He recently relocated to Melbourne with his husband and has begun a love affair with the city.
One of the best things about moving to a new city is discovering all of the fabulous places that give a city its character - Cookie is one of those places. With its Swanston Street location, casual yet funky décor, mouth watering dishes, extensive drinks list and quirky touches, Cookie captures a little piece of Melbourne's character and is well worth the trip.

My husband and I are working our way through a list of Melbourne's restaurant institutions. Next on our list is Thai favourite Cookie which combines a restaurant, beer hall and cocktail bar in one central CBD location.

It's a popular place so you'll need a reservation - which is a pain-free process via the website. You'll need to enter your credit card details to cover a fee in the case of a no-show or cancellation within 7 hours of the reservation.

The Restaurant

The restaurant is smack bang in the middle of the CBD so getting there is a breeze. You enter from Swanston street and ascend a flight of stairs to a door decorated with an illustrated rabbit handing a cocktail to a fox. The style is reminiscent of an illustration from a children's storybook. This theme is repeated throughout the restaurant including in the fact that the bill arrives inside the cover of children's book which adds a quirky, retro touch to the experience.

The restaurant is housed in a historic building with ornate details such as leadlight and gold leaf columns. It gives the impression you're sitting in a building full of history. Huge arched windows overlook tree-lined Swanston street and bathe the space in natural light.

Restaurant interior The restaurant features ornate details and overlooks tree-lined Swanston Street

The venue is divided into two sections - a bar styled like a European beer hall and a restaurant. Our reservation was for the restaurant so we were escorted to a seat near the huge arched windows that look onto the tree canopy on Swanston street.

The space has a mural covering an entire wall. The children's storybook characters from the front entrance are repeated on the mural. The artwork is striking and works a charm at eliciting selfies that go straight to social media. The other prominent feature in the room is a circular column covered in posters for upcoming shows, galleries and events. It gives the restaurant a cool, connected feel; like it's part of the Melbourne arts scene.

The Menu

Upon seating, we were presented with 3 drinks menus - one each for wine, beer and cocktails. The menus are very substantial and organised into sections. We have a taste for wheat beer so I was happy to see a whole page of options. We settled on a Hefeweizen for $15 a pint.

The food menu is equally as impressive and organised into 3 sections corresponding to small, medium and large dishes. All dishes are meant to be shared. You'll find familar Thai classics as well as some modern takes on Thai. In the end we chose, sweet potato and coconut cigars ($19), crispy pork belly red curry ($33) and Tumeric chicken Maryland ($35). All dishes were impressive and packed with flavour. The Turmeric chicken arrived on hot plate and the toppings were added at the table in a loud sizzling display that added a bit of drama to the serving.

Turmeric Chicken Maryland dishTurmeric Chicken Maryland

The Verdict

We left the restaurant feeling like we'd had a great Melbourne experience - great food and drinks with some creative, retro touches. The restaurant has created a cohesive experience from the front entrance to the final bill arriving. And a total of $125 is reasonable for two people for dinner and drinks. All dishes were impressive and mouth-watering and the menus are extensive enough to warrant a second (and third) visit.