Newmarket Hotel 34 Inkerman Street, St Kilda, Melbourne Contact: 03 9810 0087 Just off the Princess Highway is the Newmarket hotel. With a rather deliberately low key looking entrance, it opens out onto a secluded, glassed courtyard, bathed in light, a chilled bar lounge, and intimate dinner amongst the concrete arches and rather suggestive wallpaper.
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.
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 Fonda Mexican Location: 248 Swan Street, Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9429 0085 Jinda Thai Location: 7 Ferguson St, Abbotsford, VIC 3067 Contact: 03 9419 5899
La Condesa Taqueria Location: 234 Johnston Street Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Contact: 03 9419 5675 La Condesa pays homage to the buzzing bohemian quarter and vibrant nightlife of Condesa in Mexico City, where the latest in food, art and culture is showcased and young artists and entrepreneurs – known as condechis, come out to play. This modern Mexican Cantina boasts traditional flavours with a Fitzroy twist. We recently visited La Condesa to celebrate the launch of their latest venture, the Taqueria, which sits on 234 Johnston Street.
Maya Tequila Bar & Grill Location: 74 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, VIC Contact: 03 9866 8836 Maya Tequila Bar and Grill may have been around in other guises previously, but let it be said now that things are changing. Under the helm of new owner Michael, Maya launches a two pronged attack as both a bar, and a restaurant. While most would consider this commonplace, the duo often comprises merely a few beers and a dash of wine, with unusual drinks orders receiving quizzical expressions from staff. Try ordering a Sazerac or and Old Fashioned beyond the bastions of established high cocktail establishments and you’ll be settling for scotch and dry. Not so here. With A, T and I propped in front of the extensively filled bar, littered with more Patron than a Ludacris video clip, we were spoiled for choice.
Taste of Melbourne 14-17 November 2013 Running over four days, Taste of Melbourne is perfect for those of you who always seem to have a never ending list of restaurants that you’ve been dying to try but just can’t seem to find the time to. The 2013 festival featured yet another incredible lineup, with a number of culinary giants setting up under the tent – Taxi Dining Room, Mamasita, Chin Chin and Saint Crispin to name a few. The festival works on a crown system, with entrants placing money ($1 = one crown) on an electronic card upon entry, which is then used to purchase any dish or item at the Taste of Melbourne.
Mamasita Location: Level 1, 11 Collins St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9650 3821 (no bookings) Offering tacos and tequila 7 days a week, Mamasita is one of those CBD staples that still manages to boast dangerously long queues and a solid following that, three years on, doesn’t seem to falter.
Since its opening in 2012, The Black Toro has been a hive of activity. Offering a higher level of dining on the already bustling Kingsway strip, even only a mere year after opening its doors The Black Toro is still packed to the brim with customers on a cold night.