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.
New Shanghai Various locations: Emporium Melbourne, Level Three, 287 Lonsdale Street, CBD, Melbourne + Chadstone Shopping Centre, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone, Melbourne Contact: 03 9994 9386 (CBD) / 03 9973 9483 (Chadstone) Disclaimer: Sponsored article Those who know me well will know that I am OBSESSED with dumplings. Whether it’s fried, steamed, savoury or sweet, you name it – I’ll (probably) like it. And when it is done well, boy does it make a whole world of a difference. Enter New Shanghai. Just like the heritage of one of our favourite dumpling joints, Din Tai Fung, at the heart of New Shanghai are ancient family recipes learned in Shanghai and passed down from generation to generation. These ancient recipes are the base of a sumptuous spread of Shanghai-style soup dumplings (called ‘xiao long bao’ after the bamboo steaming baskets they are traditionally prepared in), noodles, bubbling hot pots, and pan-fried buns. Each of these can all be enjoyed while viewing New Shanghai’s live dumpling-making theatre (thanks to an open kitchen).
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.
Arbory 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.
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.
Ziggy’s Eatery 195 Carlisle Street, St Kilda East, Melbourne Contact: 03 9531 4071 We stopped off on a sunny morning at Ziggy’s for a very early lunch. Knocking out burgers and their own signature sauce it’s a local that hums.
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!
China Red Location: Shop 6, 206 Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne Contact: 03 9662 3688 I’m notorious for hitting up the chef-recommended dishes list of any eating establishment, so when said list contains an item as good as Shanghai xiao long bao at uber-popular Chinese eatery China Red, I’ve just gotta tell you about it.
Middletown Location: 229 High Street, Prahran, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9530 2288 Middletown, the name of Prahran’s latest cosy hideout, is based of the persona of the Dutchess of Cambridge; royal, but close to the people. It’s all part of the vision of co-owners Randy Dhamanhuri and Valerie Fong, the same duo behind Operator 25, which has quickly become one of Melbourne CBD’s most frequented cafes. The duo have created another luxurious nest in this feel-good space with sophisticated, delicious and healthy meals.
The Truffle Shuffle Location: South Melbourne Market http://southmelbournemarket.com.au/the-truffle-shuffle/ I still remember the first time I tried truffles. A good friend had just gotten engaged and, armed with a good excuse to throw a decadent cheese and wine party, I headed down the orange staircase at Spring Street Grocer’s cheese room in the hopes of picking up a creamy brie or camembert for a crowd. Safe to say, Spring Street Grocer does not disappoint, and I walked out with a slab of truffle brie, absolutely convinced by the French cheesemonger that it was the best thing in the world. And boy, it was – from the strong scent of the truffle that had been grated and strewn throughout the middle of the cheese, to that sharp, earthen and delicately oily taste. It was out of this world.
The Crux and Co Location: 35 Albert Road, South Melbourne, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9820 1081 South Melbourne’s newest addition to the brunch rotation is a massive, 110-seater space with a killer menu and round the clock fresh pastries. It’s one of those places that, despite only opening a month ago, is already a hub of activity and still somewhere that is intimate enough to encourage visitors to sit for a while and enjoy the surroundings. Owner Kevin Li (who also brought us Lights in the Attic) and manager James Julian have designed the space to be somewhere that visitors can lounge and relax, without the pressure of being pushed out. That means light-filled spaces with wooden features and pot plants throughout, and service that focuses on making patrons feel like they’re at home.
Tim Ho Wan Location: 206 Bourke Street, CBD, Melbourne Those who have traveled through Hong Kong, Singapore or Kuala Lumpur will be familiar with dim sum chain Tim Ho Wan. Founded by acclaimed dim sum chef Mak Kwai Pui (Le Meridian, Lung King Heen), the original 19-seat restaurant was awarded a Michelin star after just one year of opening in 2009 and, since then, the restaurant chain has taken the place as the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world. We headed in to celebrate the launch of their latest monthly specials, which includes a serve of prawn and chive dumplings with a kick of chilli, crispy pork noodles and golden tofu.
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.
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.
East Ivy Location: 6 Burton Crescent, Melbourne, Ivanhoe, Melbourne Contact: 03 9499 8186 One of the East’s best cafes is (in, mind you, true Melbournian style) hiding in a street off a main road in a non-descript building in Ivanhoe. For those in the know, the cafe, East Ivy, brings all the finesse of its sister restaurant Lux Foundry to the fore, and then some. The all day menu is accessible as ever, aiming for broad appeal with a blend of Melbournian brekkie staples as well as a few unique touches. Coffee is by Proud Mary, teas by Larsen & Thompson (yes please), and the food is reliably good. All of the things one would expect from a crew who clearly know the brunch game back to front.
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
Meatball and Wine Bar Location: 135 Flinders Lane, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9654 7545 Most of you would be familiar with the Meatball and Wine Bar. Melbourne’s first artisan meatball restaurant, which launched in the CBD and has now expanded to three outlets across Melbourne, has quickly become renowned for its highly customisable meatball offering, which includes balls of the beef, chicken, pork, fish and vegetable varieties. Once you’ve picked your balls, ordering is a simple affair – add a hearty, creamy or light sauce and something for your balls to sit on (who can go past a good ol’ mash?) and voila, you’ve got yourself one lip-smacking meal.
Ms Collins 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.
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.
400 Gradi Location: 99 Lygon Street, Brunswick, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9380 2320 By the time Johnny Di Francesco of Melbourne’s 400 Gradi was 17 years old, he was already managing his own pizza section at a restaurant in Carlton and had been making pizzas for over 5 years. This was, of course, all while Di Francesco was studying an electronics engineering degree at university; determined to pursue his passion in the kitchen, Di Francesco would attend university during the day, and then continue to work in the pizza restaurant at night.