Box Hill Central Location: 1 Main Street, Box Hill VIC 3128 Restaurants visited: Kitchen Republik, Movenpick Disclaimer: Sponsored article I have fond memories of growing up in Box Hill. Every time Chinese New Year turned its head, Mum and Dad would take us to the centre court of the Box Hill shopping precinct to watch the inaugural setting off of the Chinese fire crackers. The fire crackers make a deafening noise – the premise behind them is that the sound is so loud that it will ward off evil spirits from the new year – and I remember clutching tightly to Mum’s hand as each of the bright red crackers burst into oblivion.
Maison Du Bon www.maisondubon.com I first visited Paris when I was 10 years old. It was the middle of winter, and the air cut through the skin like ice. The sort of coldness that one would ordinarily need to bat away, with a warm, fluffy blanket or a steaming cup of cocoa. Yet, surprisingly, it was the one place where the coldness did not bother me – all one had to do was look up, and any hint of it would immediately vanish. The beauty of the place, in all its history and intimate splendour, was enough to take one’s breath away. In an instant, I had fallen in love with the city. And oh, let me tell you about the food.
POPS – Premium Ice Popsicles wwww.wearepops.com Launched in June 2014, two old school friends, James and Harry, saw a gap in the market for a contemporary, unique and fun concept. With a vision to incorporate the nostalgia of a popsicle with the luxury attributes associated with Champagne, the world’s first Champagne ice popsicle, CLASSIC, was born. And so it was on one fine Tuesday night that we descended on Arbory for the launch of POPS in Melbourne. In April 2015, POPS introduced three new products, including BELLINI, made using Prosecco and peach and two alcohol-free popsicles with real fruit.
GetFoodi Connecting food creators with food lovers www.getfoodi.com.au Can we all just take a moment to admire this wonderful creation? I mean really, that is one SERIOUS cake!
Mister Bianco Location: 285 High Street, Kew, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9853 6929 Mister Bianco has an offering too good to refuse – gorgeous, authentic Sicilian flavours and hearty southern Italian dishes finished with the sense of refinery that one would expect from someone of owner and chef, Joseph Vargetto’s experience. Blending modern European techniques with traditional Italian influences, Vargetto (of Langton’s, Number 8 and Mezzo fame) brings a wealth of experience and finesse to this local favourite. The restaurant falls within the fine dining category yet disposes of the pretentiousness that one might experience at fine establishments elsewhere. Service is friendly yet relaxed, the decor is intimate with white-clothed tables and low lighting, but the atmosphere oozes a pared back feel.
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.
Deliveroo www.deliveroo.com.au Now that the weather’s started to cool down, I’ve become somewhat of a homebody. Friday nights out on the town have been quickly traded in for the intense sport of couch potato-ing, with a piping hot mug of hot chocolate, a rug, House of Cards and and my favourite home delivery on rotation. Don’t get me wrong, I love dining out (and us Melbournians are well and truly spoilt with choice when it comes to dining and drinking destinations with impeccable service), however there are times where I’d rather just stay in and either cook a healthy meal or grab some takeaway and, in Pretty Woman style, ‘veg out’.
Street Talk Espresso Location: 710 High Street, Armadale, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9509 9687 Dean Fourtzis has created a warm and inviting cafe with a simple ethos of quality coffee, excellent food and personable service. Hiding away from the main High Street drag in Armadale, the intimate venue focuses on delicious meals and snacks, often with Greek and Middle Eastern influences. Coffee is a focus here, with Dean roasting his own coffee for service in house. The 5th avenue house blend is available exclusively at Street Talk, while other batches are available for wholesale.
Fancy Nance: Adriano Zumbo Dessert Bar Evenings When: Friday and Saturday evenings from 6pm-11pm (bookings essential) Location: 21 Daly Street, South Yarra VIC 3000 Contact: (03) 9826 0312 Adriano Zumbo’s exclusive dessert bar evenings kicked off with a bang at the celebrity chef’s whimsical South Yarra high tea salon, Fancy Nance.
Om Nom Kitchen and Dessert Bar – Adelphi Hotel Location: Adelphi Hotel, 187 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 8080 8827 http://omnom.kitchen/ Om Nom is set in the back of the light basked Adelphi Hotel. The moody, sharp space is calm and cool with metallic edges flaring any light that makes it through the picture frame like side windows. After a glass of sparkling we settled down to their signature high tea, plus a few obligatory extras.
Dex2Rose Location: 377-379 Little Bourke St, Melbourne CBD 3000 Contact: (03) 9078 0784 A cool change has hit Melbourne’s CBD, and kids, this time it’s a welcome one. Gelato doesn’t get much better than frozen at Dex2Rose (a wordplay on “dextrose”, the dextrorotatory form of glucose), where the friendly team whips up cheekily-named, innovative flavours (from ‘pinoy colada’ to ‘not your granny’s apple pie’) to order. White clinical walls are pitted against select splashes of colour and plush chairs inside. At the front bench, clouds of liquid nitrogen spill from KitchenAid mixers as the gelato is made before your very eyes. It’s a chem nerd’s dream, and a sweettooth’s secret escape.
Syracuse Location: 23 Bank Place, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9670 1777 There aren’t so many fine restaurants left in Melbourne where they’ll warmly welcome you at the door, hang your jacket, pull out your chair and fold your napkin across your lap. But this chivalry carries a lot of weight at Syracuse. Set in a gorgeous space harking back to old-world glamour, this classic dining institution takes pride of place on the law end of the city. High ceilings, stately pillars and white-table-clothed wooden tables add to the sophistication of the grand dining room, and beautiful chandeliers dangle from above. Then there’s that long list of Australian and International wines to graze over from the wine bar. It’s a lovely, intimate place, and the perfect setting for a romantic dinner or celebratory night out.
Mork Chocolate Brew House Location: 150 Errol Street, North Melbourne, Melbourne Contact: 03 9328 1386 If you’ve ever wondered where Hash Specialty Coffee’s fairy floss hot chocolate comes from, this is it kids. The Mork concept store and brew house is a chocolate fan’s dream, with the cafe producing its own liquid hot chocolate and hot beverages.
Hash Specialty Coffee & Roasters Location: 113 Hardware Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8529 0284 This homage to the ubiquitous hashtag has well and truly taken the humble hot chocolate to the next level. Steps away from Melbourne institution The Hardware Societe, Hash Specialty Coffee and Roasters is quickly becoming just as difficult to secure a table at during brunch hours, whether it’s for those beaker-laden, fairy-floss-accompanied, Mork hot chocolates or their playful, modern take on the usual brunch options, all executed with the level of service and sophistication that Melbourne food enthusiasts have come to expect from their cafe experience.
Chocolate Bar New York Location: Emporium Melbourne, Level One, 287 Lonsdale Street, CBD Melbourne Contact: 03 9020 4338 T and I attended the recent launch party for Chocolate Bar NYC. Although they’ve been around for around 6 months, now it’s officially open! Some of the highlights were Red Velvet brownies, potato chip chocolates and chilled American peanut butter milk. Stop in and enjoy their dine in menu, or take something home for later.
Bibelot Location: 287 Coventry St, South Melbourne Contact: 03 9690 2688 Those familiar with the sweet, decadent morsels streaming out of Chez Dré will no doubt recognise the style and artistry here. Dividing their cafe and dessert businesses, Bibelot stands proudly with vast glass frontage onto Coventry street. Bibelot offers a great selection of cakes, chocolates, biscuits, slices and a full gelateria. Sampling from the 6 flavours available, the ice cream was particularly noteworthy with the flavours delicately balanced like the best from Smith or Lygon Street while the hardening dark chocolate topping added some texture to the satin folds of cream and chocolate. The Pistachio was very pleasing, which after many years of searching, is the first to actually taste of pistachio nuts, and not anything else. It’s a classic, but you must try it. The cakes and desserts were as exemplary as ever and well worth taking home or enjoying surrounded by the clean smooth decor. Bibelot is deserving of planning a trip around. The presentation and mouth watering looks were equally impressive here so what could be said is better to be shown. Scroll down if you dare!
The Food Society attended the launch as a guest of Bibelot.
Lt Nic Location: 262 Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9044 6985 Situated off one of the busiest intersections in Melbourne’s central business district, Lt. Nic is perfectly poised to cater for those city goers who are hard-pressed for time. The small cafe churns out wonderful, consistent coffee, to the tune of new bean entrant Rumble Coffee Roasters. There are a range of cakes, brownies and other sweets on offer (hello peanut butter Butter Bing), as well as wholesome salads and gourmet sandwiches (such as a seven-hour braised-beef brisket ‘Not so Reuben’) for those looking for something a little more substantial.
Little Rogue Location: 12 Drewery Lane, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 0433 739 148 Open that bright blue door off Drewery Lane and you’ll fine a quirkily-adorned cafe called Little Rogue. The relatively new establishment, which serves up a house blend of Small Batch’s Candyman beans, also stocks one of our favourite cookies out – Butter Bing’s cookies sandwiches, which come in a range of delectable flavours (how could you say no to a nutella and peanut butter-filled chocolate cookie sandwich?), Kwak Scrolls in all delicious forms, and Mille and B’s popular crepe cakes.
Market Lane at the InterContinental Hotel Location: Rialto Building, 495 Collins St , Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8627 1567 This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music film, which first captivated audiences in 1965. The film, which received five Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Director, has garnered a legacy as a household favourite, with iconic songs like ‘Sixteen going on seventeen’, ‘My favourite things’, ‘Do-Re-Mi’ and ‘Edelweiss’ still loved by many after all these years. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of The Sound of Music, InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto and Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment have partnered up to offer a series of Champagne Afternoon Teas in Intercontinental’s Market Lane Bar, in perfect time for Mother’s Day.
T By Luxbite Location: 517 Flinders Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9629 9662 Wedged in a teeny space in Melbourne’s ‘The Archway’, T By Luxbite, the sister restaurant of South Yarra’s beloved Luxbite patisserie, is known for its wonderful and playful takes on the traditional tart. Tarts come in all shapes and forms, from the cutesy ‘Gingy’ the gingerbread man tart to the more usual raspberry and blueberry tarts.
Maxims Cakes and Pastry Location: 173 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9662 1980 When I was working and travelling in Asia, one of my favourite weekend indulgences in Hong Kong involved lining up outside Dim Sum Square to get my paws on some of the city’s best flaky char siu pork buns and steamed har gao dumplings. The world-renowned restaurant is somewhat of an institution, and guarantees diners one of the best yum cha offerings in the city.