A whirlwind weekend in Hobart, Tasmania
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RACV Apartment Hotel
Location: 154-156 Collins Street, Hobart, Tasmania 7000
Contact: (03) 8657 0140
This was my second time in Hobart for a holiday and it was an absolute pleasure to attend as a special guest of RACV Apartment Hotel. I have always had fond memories of Hobart – it’s a lustrous, beautiful space, and a wonderful way to escape the bustle that so often consumes Victorian life.
Aptly located within close walking distance of the pier, Salamanca Markets and Hobart’s premier shopping strip, the Apartment Hotel is a sight to behold. The entire block has just undergone a spectacular, 14-month-long renovation, with each space being carefully crafted and maximised to a tee. The result is a gorgeous celebration of old and new, where historic touches and the old Cascade brewery office (heritage-listed) and on-site stables are reinvigorated to blend in with modern finishings. After speaking with the warm staff there, and having viewed pictures of the transformation process myself, I can honestly say that the journey has been well worth the effort and it is a true testament to the team’s patience that they were able to ensure the smooth running of the hotel while construction continued throughout the precinct.
Kitchen 425 @ Ms Collins
Location: 425 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne
Contact: 03 8614 2222
GOOD NEWS: Ms Collin’s Kitchen 425 has partnered up with Veuve Clicquot this Summer to bring you the ‘Veuve Clicquot Summer Garden’, trading Wednesday – Friday from 4pm to 9pm.
The menu celebrates a unique culinary experience, with dishes drawing notes from pan Asian and contemporary Australian influences, under the consultancy of Chef Daniel Wilson (Huxtaburger). The addition of the Summer Garden means that every Wed to Friday there will be a Summer cocktail special, and a delectable food special on offer – the perfect segue-way to a fun night out on the town. On the Friday night that we attended, there were some MAD good plates of ribs and burgers (yeesss please), garden spritz cocktails and deeelicious sweet potato fries doing the rounds.
Location: Flinders Walk, CBD, Melbourne
Contact: 03 8648 7644
Taking up residence in Finders Street Station’s disused Sandridge Line, Arbory bar and eatery boasts stunning views of Melbourne’s Yarra River, good booze and scrumptious bar food.
The slick, 150m deck means getting a seat is (generally) not an issue, although Friday nights are known to draw large crowds. The delicious menu by Raúl Moreno Yagüe (ex-Vue de Monde) is wine-centric (think crispy pork belly and fried calamari), and there are some gorgeous rosés, pinot gris, Mornington Peninsula pale ales, Golden Axe ciders and Brooklyn lagers to keep all alcohol enthusiasts happy.
Spare Me Kitchen
Location: Level 1, 393 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne
Contact: 03 9419 6380
Walking into Glamorama’s Spare Me Kitchen, on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, I didn’t know what to expect.
Operated by the same crew behind the popular Less than Zero in South Yarra, Glamorama offers itself as a restaurant; a bar; and later in the night as a nightclub. I had high expectations about the atmosphere, but didn’t know what to expect from its kitchen.
I found that all my expectations were surpassed by Spare Me Kitchen, which offered a fun and inviting atmosphere matched by a creative and delicious menu.
Academy Kitchen and Bar
Location: 318 Bridge Road, Richmond, Melbourne
Contact: 03 9427 8231
Academy Kitchen and Bar’s Chef and owner, Will Manning, has tapped into a number of classic European dishes and adapted them for the modern, Melbourne palate. With experience in hatted restaurants, as well as a previous stint of part ownership of the beloved Prospect Espresso Cafe, Manning has put together a well-balanced menu that combines indulgent share plates of wholesome pastas, risottos and meats with techniques developed in Australia.
Stepping in, it’s hard not to fall in love with the elegantly minimalist dining space. There’s a huge communal bar that lines the right side of the restaurant, with the other flanked by a long bench, wooden tables and an earthy brick wall. It has that genuine neighbourhood restaurant charm about it – warm, welcoming and accessible, accompanied by the promise of stellar food and drinks.
Fall from Grace (located behind the bookshelf at State of Grace)
Location: 477 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC
Contact: 03 8644 7110
Steeped in history, Amaro Montenegro, ‘the liqueur of the virtues’, was created by famous distiller and herbalist Stanislao Cobianchi.
With over 100 years of refinement, today’s Montenegro blend is a perfectly balanced mix of over 40 herbs, vanilla and citrus pops of orange peel. The Montenegro brand claims top place as one of Italy’s leading exports thanks to its ability to be enjoyed straight, with soda water and a dash of orange rind, or in complex cocktails. We headed over to Fall from Grace (located down the rabbit hole of the sassy State of Grace on Collins Street) for a bangin’ cocktail party to celebrate the re-launch of Amaro Montenegro in Australia.
Location: 425 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC
Contact: Bookings contact (03) 8614 2222 during business hours. For after work group package bookings or information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
After work drinks just got more fun! Ms Collins has just launched the Acoustic Kitchen, which means Friday nights just got a whole lot better. The huge bar, restaurant and club now features an acoustic live band from 6-8pm, every Friday.
Location: 67 Swan Street, Richmond Victoria
Contact: 03 9041 5393
Meatmother is back. Whilst most would be familiar with this bastion of American style low and slow protein, things have changed over in Richmond. The favourites are all still there, but tweaked with modern sensibilities, bringing the cuisine from a decadent once a year indulgence to fantastic Friday night fare.
Location: Collins Square, 727 Collins Street, Melbourne Victoria
Contact: 03 9252 7999
Eau de Vie
Location: 1 Malthouse Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC
Contact: 0412 825 441
With almost 500 years of experience in glass making, Spiegelau has just launched the ‘Perfect Serve Collection’ by award-winning bartender and mixologist, Stephan Hinz. The goal was to create the ultimate set of bar glasses which not only felt and looked good but were also perfectly functional. The result is a 10 piece strong series of glasses which have been designed to cater to the needs and demands of a modern bar, expertly sized to accommodate every cocktail, whether classic, inventive or whimsical.
We set out to Eau de Vie earlier this week to preview the series of glasses through an intimate masterclass with designer Stephan Hinz.
Location: 470 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC
Contact: 03 9620 0296
Melbourne’s latest burger joint, Royal Stacks, may have just opened it doors on the Spencer end of Collins Street, but the soon-to-be Melbourne institution is already kicking up a buzz with burger fanatics.
Drawing on US influences and the expertise of resident burger guru, Dani Zeini (the same geniuses who brought us Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Dandenong Pavilion, Easey’s and Truck Stop Deluxe), Royal Stacks manages to deliver on all of the things that a Shake Shack-inspired burger chain must, and then some. That means a lip-smacking menu of premium ‘stacked’ burgers, served with the option of jazzing it all up just the way you like, with add-ons including the usual extra patty and extending to a sinful deep fried mac and cheese croquette. Bless.
Location: 275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000 VIC
Contact: 03 9663 7994
There are a lot of things to love about Trunk.
There’s that adorable side diner, housed in a shell of its own, which serves up some hella hearty American-style loaded fries, diner dogs and moreish brioche-bunned burgers. Then there’s that gorgeous garden to the front, peppered with large wooden communal tables and gorg-ified by the loveliest strings of fairy lights. Oh, and, if you’re in a mind to take that date of yours to the next level, you can easily transition to the indoor restaurant and bar which dishes up equally satisfying meals, albeit in a snazzier environment.
Location: Level 2, 146 Flinders St, Melbourne VIC 3000
Contact: 03 9810 0055
Step into Dutchess Melbourne and you immediately know that you’re in good hands.
The space exudes a level of class which complements its ‘Paris-end’ of the CBD position, with luxurious tan booths scattered throughout and big glass windows extending to views over Flinders and Russell streets. The dining menu has been crafted by chef Justin Wise (Press club, The Point), with a focus on modern Australian fare that allows diners to pick between a range of tapas plates for grazing and more substantial main dishes for the ravenous.
The bar boasts a list of innovative cocktails that have been carefully selected by head bartender Paul Ramsay (finalist in the Angostura Cocktail Challenge). The place goes off on Thursday and Friday nights, and it’s not hard to see why.
Mission Mexican Festival 2015
Location: Federation Square
When: Sunday 13 September, 11:30am-8:00pm
For more information, head to: http://www.mexfest.com.au/
We recently attended a media preview of the 2015 Mexican Festival, which will be held this Sunday 13th September at Melbourne’s beloved Federation Square.
Melbourne’s top Mexican chefs, artists and musicians will take food and culture lovers across Mexico’s different regions, from the rainforest state of Tabasco to the hustle and bustle of Mexico City, allowing foodies to get a true understanding of the intricate flavours, sights and sounds that make Mexican cuisine and culture so special.
Location: 24 Bond Street, Melbourne
Contact: 03 9629 9844
Tucked neatly down a lane, as most fancy places in the Melbourne CBD are, is Bond Melbourne. Upon stepping in, one immediately notices the electric pink and yellow lighting, which bathes the whole area with a surreal glow.
The architecture was amazing with a clean fluidity owed to not having a single straight line anywhere. Every surface curved in 3 dimensions, creating scallops and compound curves that wrapped around the space. A top budget fit-out indeed.
After a tour of the possibilities, we nestled down in one of the many clam-shaped booths with the first of our cocktails.
Girl with the Gris Gris
Location: Ding Dong Lounge, 18 Market Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Contact: 03 9514 4577
Girl with the Gris Gris is a unique venue which capitalises on Melbourne’s love for live music and hearty food.
The restaurant itself is nestled inside Market Lane’s vibrant Ding Dong Lounge bar, meaning that diners can enjoy live and eclectic local, national and international rock, hip-hop and electro music whilst tucking into local chef Chris Weysham’s modern take on New Orleans cuisine.
That means filling serves of shrimp etouffee, spinach madeleine crab dip and grilled eggplant po boys alongside the tunes of artists like The Melvins, Silversun Pickups, The White Stripes, Plan B, The Kills, Peaches, Mike Patton, Ariel Pink, Death From Above 1979, Supersuckers and The Ting Tings, to name a few.
The National Hotel
Location: 340-344 Victoria St, Richmond, VIC 3121
Contact: 03 9429 8811
The National Hotel is one of those rare pubs that manages to radiate a sense of relaxed elegance while still catering to every pub goer.
The fire-lit lounge and cosy rear dining room is offset by cool timber and concrete blocks which provide both texture and warmth to the huge space. The Hotel’s old Victorian shell has been renovated extensively, with a mix of recycled materials and rich overlays. It’s an inviting place, and an easy choice for a relaxing dinner or nibbles over drinks.
We were recently invited to attend a blogger dinner at The National Hotel to try out both existing and new items on their menu in conjunction with the team at Reymond Communications.
Location: Flinders Walk, Melbourne, VIC 3000
Contact: 03 9621 2260
“Slow down, stay awhile” is the mantra of Melbourne’s latest bar and eatery, with Arbory opening up on the banks of the Yarra.
Located next to Flinders Street’s Platform 13, the new bar stretches 120 metres long and takes up the location of an abandoned train line which was first used by Australia’s steam railway. The product of a joint venture between HQ Group (the restauranteurs behind Coffee HQ) and Metro Trains, the light-filled, airy space boasts a large wooden deck and illuminated shipping containers designed by Jackson Clements Burrows Architects.
Grand Trailer Park Taverna
Location: Upstairs – Enter via Bourke St, 87 Bourke St Melbourne, VIC 3000
Contact: 03 9972 3699
With a menu that plays homage to pop culture references, it’s hard not to fall head over heels in love with Grand Trailer Park Taverna.
Set above the bustle of Bourke Street, the burger, beer and milkshake joint aims to transport patrons to the US’ great outdoors – the space is set up with picnic-style tables, with little enclaves and an outdoor dining area to the back.
I am constantly astounded by the quality and diversity of food that is offered in Melbourne.
Having recently returned from travelling and working overseas (where I had the pleasure of dining at quite a few Michelin-starred restaurants), I can comfortably say that Melbourne offers some of the best restaurants and cafes in the world, which, believe it or not, I much preferred over their Michelin-starred counterparts.
This past month I have been very ‘busy’ re-acquainting my palette with Melbourne food. Here are a few favourites that I’d happily eat at (over and over) again:
Hinoki Japanese Pantry
Location: 279 Smith Street, Fitzroy, VIC 0065
Contact: 03 9417 4531
Location: 248 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121
Contact: 03 9429 0085
Location: 7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067
Contact: 03 9419 5899
Lazerpig Pizza Parlour
Location: 9-11 Peel St, Collingwood, VIC 3066
Contact: (03) 9417-1177
We rarely find pizza that’s on par with 400 Gradi + DOC, but Lazerpig is firmly up in the same ranks. The dough is light and fluffy; the toppings not too heavy or sparse. The margherita is dangerously delicious and addictive, and (dare we say it), better than Gradi’s version. Watch out kids!