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!
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.
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.
De Bortoli Winery and Restaurant Location: Pinnacle Lane, Yarra Valley, Yarra Glen, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 5965 2271 I first chanced upon De Bortoli a few years ago. I had been invited along to a spontaneous weekend escape to the Yarra Valley, with the whereabouts of the lunch date kept a close secret until arrival. The day that we set out from Melbourne was absolutely beautiful – the sun was out, the air crisp, and the skies crystal clear; a perfect day for a winery visit. I remember the car rolling onto the De Bortoli drive, the first glimpse of those rows of vines, and the first look-in to those cellar doors. That day we dined on one of the most exquisite degustations I had been treated to, matched with wines and delivered with impeccable service. It’s a intimate, romantic space, and somewhere which is understandably a popular destination for engagements, weddings and other important celebrations. I instantly knew we’d found something special.
Dutchess 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.
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.
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.
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.
Bistro Bakini Location: 568 St Kilda Rd Melbourne, VIC 3004 Contact: 03 9521 7774 We were first introduced to Bistro Bakini last year by a food blogger, Ashley (of ‘I’m so Hungree’), whereupon we immediately fell in love with the restaurant’s refreshing take on fine Italian food. Headed by head Chef Luigi Buono, whose previous endeavours include Caffe e Cuccina, Vino Bar, Bond Street and Orto Kitchen and Garden, Bistro Bakini recently pushed the boundaries of Italian fare with the launch of its one-off Masters of the Mediterranean degustation menu. We attended a media night recently to preview the dinner ahead of its official launch at the restaurant.
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
Meat Fish Wine Location: 31 Artemis Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8660 6333 Apples and Pears Entertainment Group, the passionate restaurateurs behind Red Spice Road, Red Spice QV and Burma Lane, have just opened up a fourth restaurant in Melbourne, Meat Fish Wine, in the the heart of the city. The farm to table inspired menu, which features some fantastic dishes using local grain and pasture fed steaks, fresh sustainable seafood and locally sourced heirloom vegetables, is complemented by an impressive wine list featuring 500 wines from Australia and around the world. New wines are featured each month with many available by the glass in the restaurant and wine bar. We were invited to a small media lunch, whereby Andrew Cameron (Group CEO) and Vanessa Green (Director of Marketing & Consulting Wine Director) gave us an insight into the new venture.
Saint Crispin Location: 300 Smith St, Collingwood, VIC 3066 Contact: 03 9419 2202 If we had to draw up a list of 10 of our favourite places to dine in Melbourne, Saint Crispin would firmly take one of the top spots. Why? Whimsical plating, playful execution and absolutely exquisite flavour combinations. The dishes are never too heavy, the menu is well-priced considering the quality and care that goes into each plate, and we’ve never had a dish that’s been a ‘miss’ here. We’ll let these photos speak for themselves – this is a must try. Opt for three courses; you’d be crazy not to.
Wagyu tartare and bresaola, egg yolk, hay ash and pine nuts
Asparagus, roasted parmesan custard, radish and gazpacho
Shoya Location: 25 Market Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9650 0848 Long renowned for its culinary excellence, Shoya is a celebration of sophisticated Japanese cuisine. Opt for the traditional horigotatsu style seating and splurge on the chef’s omakase course (ranging from approximately $120-180 pp) or flip through the extensive a la carte menu. Two dishes we can’t go past: the agenasu dengaku (fried and grilled egg plant with prawns topped with fresh sea urchin miso paste) and the saikyo moromi-yaki (marinated and grilled miso white fish). Flavours are always subtle, and plating is exquisite – Japanese fine dining at its best.
Market Lane Bar Location: InterContinental Melbourne, The Rialto, 495 Collins Street Melbourne 3000 Contact: 03 8627 1400 We recently had the pleasure of celebrating International Coffee Day with Intercontinental Melbourne at The Rialto. The event took place at Intercontinental’s suave Market Lane Bar, with two expert mixologists providing a wonderful step-by-step demonstration of how to master the art of Stefano Manfredi’s signature coffee Espresso di Manfredi. I have to say, E and I had a wonderful time at Intercontinental Melbourne. The mixologists at Market Lane Bar made the cocktail-making process incredibly simple to follow, and we were fortunate enough to learn how to make two gorgeous cocktails (one using the traditional method, and the second with the addition of Intercontinental Melbourne’s spectacular honey, which comes onsite from hives located on the top of the building!).
Cecconi’s Flinders Lane Location: Basement, 61 Flinders Lane Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 8663 0500 Following Melbourne’s newfound affinity for casual dining, there are only a few restaurants left where they’ll hang your jacket, pull out your chair and fold your napkin across your lap. But it’s exactly this sort of charm and attention to detail that carries a lot of weight at Cecconi’s. Set in a basement towards the loftier end of Melbourne CBD, stepping into Cecconi’s feels like entering a world of its own – the space is elegant and softly lit, with white-clothed tables and rich dark walls. Staff are polite and friendly, knowing exactly when to interject and offer assistance and when to leave you to banter. Behind a veil-like wall is, I presume, a private dining area, providing an intimate dining experience. It’s a classic setting – nothing overdone, and what one would expect of a fine dining restaurant.
Little Collins St Kitchen Location: Level 1 Sheraton Melbourne, 27 Little Collins St, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9290 1051 After arriving up the marbled stairway encompassed by large woody panels, tall chandeliers and glitzy lobby, entering into Little Collins St Kitchen was like walking into a different country. Light cream textured tiles, white wooden armchairs and plush grey couches. It was warm and welcoming, like a French provincial kitchen, making it a welcome change to the oppressively dark, stark interiors normally common to such dining establishments.
Nespresso Emporium Location: G-030 Emporium Melbourne Nespresso sure know how to party in style, and the recent official launch at their newest boutique was no exception. The worldwide pioneer in premium portioned coffee opened its doors to its new Boutique in Emporium, inviting shoppers to experience Nespresso within the world-class shopping precinct. Celebrities, media personnel, and VIP guests flocked to the gorgeous boutique for an intimate evening glimpse at what is no doubt guaranteed to be a mecca for coffee afficionados looking to replicate their favourite brews at home.
Nespresso Emporium Location: G-030 Emporium Melbourne Melburnians will be delighted with news of the arrival of the brand new Melbourne Nespresso Boutique, which has just opened its doors in the exclusive Emporium precinct. The world-class venue is a stunning space, occupying 230 square metres and containing the largest of Nespresso’s coffee rooms in Australia. To celebrate its opening, TFS joined Nespresso and Torstar Sydney for an intimate first look at the new boutique.
La Maison Maille Boutique, Mount Eliza Website: http://www.maille.co.uk/home.dept The first La Maison Maille boutique in the Southern Hemisphere has just opened up shop in Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula, and, for all you mustard aficionados out there, it’s a must visit. The Australian store, which is now Maille’s sole mustard emporium outside of Europe, carries Maille’s exclusive mustard range, which can be purchased right off the supermarket shelves. The launch is a collaboration with Mount Eliza’s Ritchies IGA, a local supermarket with an emphasis on creating a “community” atmosphere, emulating that of the original Maille store in Paris in 1747. In celebration of the launch, we were invited to attend an intimate mustard masterclass with Chef Adrian Richardson (from the television series Good Chef, Bad Chef) and to sample the world’s most exclusive mustard; the Maille Chablis mustard with Black Truffle, containing wine sourced from Chablis, the renowned Burgundy wine region and black truffle from Périgord in France.
Radii Restaurant and Bar Location: 1 Parliament Sq, East Melbourne, VIC 3002 Contact: 03 9224 1211 Tradition and modernity collide in a breathtaking fashion at Radii, with the Park Hyatt restaurant flaunting contemporary European cuisine while retaining the opulence of the fine dining experience. That means that Radii is one of the increasingly few restaurants in Melbourne where the staff will open the door for you, whisk your coat away, pull out your chair and fold your napkin over your lap. And it’s just that sort of impeccable service that adds to the splendor of dining here.
Rockpool Bar and Grill Location: Crown Casino 8 Whiteman St Southbank, VIC 3006 Contact: 03 8648 1900 Forming part of the Neil Perry empire in the Crown Casino Complex, Rockpool is famed for its impressive stock of steaks (grain fed, grass fed, wagyu; take your pick) and display of fine produce. Walk through those heavy wooden doors and you’ll immediately be struck by the beauty of it all – the sleek, dimly-lit venue; the mean-looking meat locker at the front; the frenzy of the open kitchen.