2021 was a big year for Armadale. Despite the uncertainty, it welcomed lavish Sydney butcher Victor Churchill, new wine bar Auterra (by Amaru’s Clinton McIver) and charming cafe Albert’s. As well as a sleek new flagship for Mornington Peninsula-born grocer and topnotch ready-made-meal service Blakeaway.
It’s a Covid hop so success story. In March 2020, co-owner Neredah Blake’s family catering business, Blakes Feast – started by her father (and influential Melbourne chef) Andrew Blake – was hit hard by the pandemic and all its events cancellations.
So they began prepping ready-to-roll meals in their Glen Iris commercial kitchen for time-poor families, the culinarily uninspired and those in-between. “Our philosophy is heat and eat – or just eat,” says Neredah. It started out as online-only but was a runaway success, so the family opened a bricks-and-mortar shopfront in Portsea.
You’ll find other smaller locations in Brighton and Glen Iris, but the Armadale store – in a late 19th-century building on the corner of High Street and Lambeth Avenue – is the flagship. The once-dated interior is no longer, transformed by Blakeaway’s signature sage-green shelving, slick marble benchtops and crisp glass cabinetry.
It’s truly a one-stop shop, where you can find a whole day’s worth of meals in a single hit. On-the-run breakfast is sorted with items like conveniently packaged apple, raspberry and macadamia Bircher, mango-and-chia pudding, and Juice Culture juices. There’s also Bread Club loaves and pastries, excellent ribbon sandwiches (go for the Bannockburn chicken, baby spinach and truffle pecorino – “we’ll never be able to take it off the menu”, Neredah says), bacon-and-egg tarts and seasonal salads.
But dinner is where the magic happens. The offering of pre-made meals rotates regularly, but staples include cheesy vegetarian lasagne, fragrant Syrian chicken and family-sized fried rice. There’s also a “black label” range featuring decadent Wagyu beef and ‘nduja bolognaise, and a spicy staff favourite: yellowfin-tuna puttanesca. For dessert, get dark-chocolate mousse and tubs of Carlton’s favorite gelato Pidapipo, plus you can add on pre-batched cocktails and bottles of vino.
1180 High Street, Armadale
Mon to Fri 8am–6pm
Sat & Sun 8am–4pm