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.
Rice Paper Scissors Location: 19 Liverpool Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9663 9890 Rice Paper Scissors is one of those venues that manages to hit all the right notes. Each of its CBD and Fitzroy locations are intimate, personable venues; the cocktails are as cheekily-named as they are imaginative; and, most importantly, each item on the menu is lip-smackingly spot on. At roughly $12-$15 per share plate, dining at this gem is an absolute bargain. Most diners opt for the $59 feast option, which gives 5 stellar dishes to be shared between two people, however we’ve often found that 3-4 dishes (depending on hunger levels) suffices. Must-orders here for us include the twice-cooked sticky pork belly with sticky tamarind caramel sauce and the tapioca-dusted crispy barramundi with green apple slaw.
Son In Law Location: 56-58 Johnston Street, Collingwood Victoria Contact: 03 9410 399 Resplendent in blazing purple is Son In Law, a stone’s throw from the Tote on busy Johnston street. This is fresh, up to date Thai Street food. We had to start with this new restaurant’s name sake: Son In Law Eggs – Sweet Tamarind, Chilli, fried shallots – $8
Red Spice Road Location: QV Centre, 37 Artemis Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8660 6300 My love for weddings is equally matched by my love of a good challenge. So, when I was tasked by C with the honor of organising her Hens party and corresponding dinner celebrations, naturally I was absolutely ecstatic. C, being the lovely lady that she is, gave me considerable freedom in scoping out restaurant venues for the night, with the only conditions being that: a) the place would be able to deliver a fantastic night in a ‘pretty’ setting; b) the venue wasn’t so noisy that the girls would be able to have a proper chat; and c) the per-head charge would fall within a reasonable price range.
45 Degrees Pizza Location: 33 Bridge Road, Richmond, VIC Contact: 03 9429 5577 For traditional pizzas with a twist, one can’t go past 45 Degrees Pizza. The newly opened pizzeria joint is a celebration of Melbourne’s hip hop culture, with custom graffiti splashed across the walls and an open kitchen format that gives diners a view of the pizza making process, where pizza chefs don Run-DMC-esque uniforms while whipping up hearty pizzas to the tune of hip hop. 45 Degrees’ owners have been careful to craft a unique space and pizza offering that turns the traditional pizza topping on its head. The outcome is a cheeky menu which truly celebrates Melbourne’s multiculturalism, borrowing snippets of flavour from various countries and their favourite dishes from across the world.
The Brass Coq Location: 470 Little Lonsdale Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9640 0035 Beyond the highly informal pho joints which proliferate the city, finding a refined, yet unpretentious, Vietnamese eatery in Melbourne’s CBD can be a bit of a challenge. Enter The Brass Coq, a wonderful bar and restaurant that is making in-roads into the buzzing Healys Lane precinct; an area which is quickly becoming a go-to for the Flagstaff / courts end of the business district. The Brass Coq’s contemporary Asian cuisine draws predominantly on Vietnamese staples, re-interpreted with a finesse and technique that is reflective of the team’s breadth of experience across the hospitality scene. An emphasis on taking an inventive approach to dishes while still playing to the five fundamental tastes of Vietnamese cuisine (spicy, sour, bitter, salty and sweet), ensures consistency in the quality of the dishes.
Mama’s Buoi Location: G25 GPO Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9671 3426 Situated in the heart of the laneway straddling Melbourne’s iconic GPO building, Mama’s Buoi is a modern vietnamese eatery which serves up punchy dishes full in flavour and spice. Bao Hoang, the Director of Mama’s Buoi, has drawn from his own family experiences in designing the menu; a constant theme on the menu is that it is centered around family, home-cooked meals enjoyed with both his Mom and close Aunt. The space is a large, airy space, with the majority of the tables lined up outside to bask in the Melbourne atmosphere and a huge bar towards the front. A little while ago we attended a blogger dinner with Wasamedia and the team at Mama’s Buoi to try out some of the tantalising new dishes on their menu.
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
Urban Kitchen Emporium Melbourne Launch Restaurants: Pho Nom, Tokyo Pop, 1000 Wat Location: Lower Ground, Emporium, 287 Lonsdale St Melbourne, VIC Melbourne’s shopping mecca, Emporium Melbourne, has just gotten better with the arrival of the new Urban Kitchen dining area on the lower ground floor. With a energetic vibe and a brightly lit arena, the large dining space is peppered with Asian highlights, with vietnamese noodle shop, Pho Nom, serving up heartwarming pho, banh mi and rice paper rolls, and popular Melbourne institution, Ramen Ya, dishing out bowls of steaming Japanese fare. And if ramen ain’t your thing, then there’s also Tokyo Pop, with healthy bento boxes and sushi to boot.
Super Bowl Pho & Bun Bo Hue Location: 252 Victoria St Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9043 7458 Super Bowl is a relatively new addition to the Victoria Street mix, and it’s a welcome one – from 9am to 10pm the joint serves up pho & bun bo hue at lightning speed. Service is quick and efficient, and everything on the menu is dirt cheap; just the way we like it.
Embodying the community and the spirit of the family unit in Asia, Red Spice Road is a fun and modern take on casual, street-inspired food, with an emphasis on sharing plates and humongous, make-friends-with-your-neighbour dining tables.