Melbourne meal startup South Yarra Deli goes national

The hospitality sector was among the hardest hit during the pandemic lockdowns, leading multiple restaurants to turn to takeaway and other options to survive.

And while many have now refocused on getting diners back in their front doors, a Covid pivot to eat-and-serve meals by the team behind the Botanical Hotel in Melbourne’s South Yarra has now turned into a national brand.

South Yarra Deli was established in 2020 with the local community and regulars in mind, but its popularity quickly grew across Victoria and now its range of meals has launched through food retailers across Australia

Botanical Hotel owner and South Yarra Deli founder Rabih Yanni has been in hospitality for nearly three decades, including Bayside pub The Point Albert Park Lake. His right-hand-man in the new venture is fellow veteran Alastair Dobbs, most recently national head of retail for Nomad Coffee Group.

Botanical Hotel head chef Sam Hopkinson helped develop the meal options for South Yarra Deli as the next best thing to eating at a restaurant.

The menu includes classic comfort dishes such as beef bourguignon, chicken,  leek & mushroom pie, tuna mornay and apple crumble, and there’s even a vegan shepherd’s pie also provides a delicious meat-free  alternative and there are plans to expand the vegetarian and vegan  offerings. 

 “To be able to bring an element of Botanical’s fine food to your home brings me not only pride, but comfort knowing we’re nourishing  those craving convenience in their busy live,” Yanni said. 

The meals come in 350-gram serves and can be microwaved and ready in minutes. They retail for $15,  but as part of the national launch, are being offered for $13 for the first month of the rollout.  

Dobbs is proud of the fact that out of such a testing time for the restaurant sector, they’ve created a new national food brand.

“Bringing the intangible understanding of what makes a dish desirable and an innate knowledge of a guest’s dining experience is what makes South Yarra Deli a special addition to retail shelves,” he said.

South Yarra Deli meal stockists include: Ritchie’s IGA, nationally; Reddrop Group, Victoria; Romeos Retail Group, South Australia & NSW and Kelly Group, Western Australia.

South Yarra Deli meals