A dining experience fit for a DAME

Jack Hayes

Dame. A title given to a woman as a special honour because of the work she has done.

It’s a title evokes an unmatched level of reverence and prestige.

Drawing inspiration from dames past and present, is Jackie Middleton and her business partner/husband/life partner Simon O’Regan, the couple behind the ever-popular Earl Canteen franchise. They now have their sights set on a new CBD offering with the opening of DAME.

A mirror of its new home at Collins Place, where the 1980s themes of power, capitalism and prestige surrounds you at every turn, DAME is a new and elevated all-day dining cafe with everything from coffee to cocktails and all of the snacks in between.

From concept to concrete, Ms Middleton told CBD News, DAME is a long labour of love for a couple whose roots are firmly sown in Melbourne’s hospitality industry.

“It was May 2020 when I came up with the idea; when I slowly realised how iconic Collins Place is,” Ms Middleton said.

“When I did more and more research and began to realise how iconic the location is, it lent itself as an identity for DAME.”


We think she [DAME] is beautiful, and we are thrilled to add the location and the aspect where you can sit under the beautiful atrium and look out, have a coffee in the morning or a wine in the afternoon.


With odes to famous dames such as Dame Joan Collins and Dame Nellie Melba throughout its menu, DAME takes you on a trip from its walnut, almond and salted maple granola, yoghurt panna cotta, and seasonal poached fruit in the morning, to confit duck or local Stracciatella in the afternoon.

Expect glossy material, elegant finishes, a marble bar, custom light pieces, and a plethora of fauna throughout.

With work-from-home recommendations no longer in place, Ms Middleton expects a warm reception to DAME from workers and locals alike.

“Our evidence from last year has shown that the bounce-back is incredibly fast,” Ms Middleton said.

“Yes, there are some people who are hesitant or prefer to work from home, but we have seen through our Earl Canteen locations, there is a huge number of people who want to get back to the office,” Ms Middleton said.

“We saw some of our existing stores’ trading at 2019 levels very quickly coming out of lockdowns last year.”

DAME is now open for service from 7am to 7pm, Monday to Friday.

For the remainder of summer and into autumn, they will also be open for “aperitif” hours on Thursday and Friday until 9pm •

For more information: dame.melbourne

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