First look: Modern Australian barbecue enters Prahran Market

Published on 30 September 2021

Table of grilled meats and salads

Matt Durham knows how to cook vegan. For seven years he ran the vegan delight that was Kooks Kitchen out of Prahran Market, serving hungry shoppers delicious, gourmet vegan salads. 

But now he’s changing it up. In one of the latest additions to Prahran Market’s star line-up of eateries, Durham has brought the fiery world of modern Australian barbecue to the market with his latest venture, Rivergum Grill.  

An integral part of our national identity, the barbecue is a cuisine intimately known by all. From summery afternoons in the backyard to traditional fundraising sausage sizzles, Australians are no stranger to the grill.

However, for co-owner and chef Matt Durham, Rivergum Grill sets out to create a new take on the barbecue - working with fire to elevate ingredients in a new innovative menu.

Cooked over Gidgee charcoal and seasoned with native salt and spice, Rivergum Grill offers a seasonal menu of grilled skewers with locally sourced produce. With options like freshly grilled seafood, to Victorian lamb, and marinated tofu, the menu is filled with fresh and local produce from traders in the market.

Prawns on charcoal grill

Working with a seasonal menu, Durham counts himself lucky to have his eatery situated in the market – the home of fresh and quality produce. “It’s great to be able to work in a location like the Prahran Market. It has the best food in Melbourne … the best produce in Melbourne.” Durham says. “All I have to do is walk out in front of my shop and go and choose what I want. They [the traders] already do the hard work for me, I just choose what I want and then put it on the menu.”

With a knowledge of working with plant based ingredients, Durham will keep many of his beloved vegan salads on the menu. Their signature salad is the broccoli and kale salad which was previously on the Kook’s Kitchen menu for seven and a half years, and will remain on the Rivergum Grill menu.

To drink, find fresh smoothies with berries, acai, banana, coyo and almond milk. Plus pressed juices and refreshing iced teas using seasonal fruit from the market.

While Durham has pivoted to working on the grill, sustainability is still an incredibly important pillar of the business. Using biodegradable packaging and avoiding plastics, Durham remains passionate about keeping his business as sustainable as possible. “I won't use any stuff that's not from Australia. All of our food waste is composted … plus everything's recycled.” Durham says.

With the summer ahead of us, Durham has plans to keep working on his seasonal menu with an array of fresh produce from traders all across the market. From Damian the mushroom man to F & J Fruiterers and more, there is so much to look forward to on the grill.

“Melbourne’s really lucky to have something like Prahran Market. None of the other cities have a market like this. I’m very lucky to have it.”

River Gum Grill
Shop 16, Prahran Market, 163 Commercial Road, South Yarra


  • Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday: 9.00am – 4.00pm
  • Sunday: 10.00am – 3.00pm

Tagged as: Eat & drink