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.
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.
Hellyer’s Road has the perfect Christmas gift, or perhaps just a great product in general with it’s new Range of Cream Liqueurs.
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.
Mr Mister Cafe 161 Chapel Street, Windsor, Melbourne Contact: 03 9529 3902 Mr Mister is open on the busy Chapel street strip. Their courtyard is a delight, a secluded place to bask in the morning sun and recharge.
Maxwell & Williams It’s officially time to start making your gift list, then checking it twice. High up on our lust list this season are great cook books (Overwhelmed by the choice of food and beverage books on offer? Pick something from their favourite restaurant or anything by Yotam Ottolenghi or Bill Granger is full-proof) and homewares that reflect your loved one’s lifestyle. Australian homewares giant, Maxwell & Williams is a good start, with designer pieces in a very affordable range. Claire Chilcott, Maxwell & Williams Creative Director, Claire Chilcott offered some tips for obtaining the right items for a killer table setting:
Shoot the Chef Crown Casino Riverwalk, Southbank, Melbourne (outside Nobu) contact: http://cliquephotos.com.au/ Clique, a large workshop and photography community are sharing their finalists and winners along the riverside as part of good food month. I was privileged enough to attend one of their workshops, presented by Fairfax and Epicure Photographer Eddie Jim.
Glenfiddich Artists in Residence Prize No Vacancy Gallery – QV, 34-40 Jane Bell Lane, Melbourne Contact: 9663 3798 Glenfiddich is showing the finalists of their Artist in residence prize right now. As well as work from previous winner Joan Ross, it features the works of the artists vying for a three month residency at the Single Malt Whiskey maker’s Dufftown Distillery in Scotland.
Fancy Hank’s BBQ Joint Level 1, 79 Bourke Street, Melbourne Contact: 1300 BRISKET Fancy Hanks has moved uptown. From Canteen like pub digs at the Queen Victoria Market, Fancy Hanks has taken their expertise, as well as a 2 ton Silver Creek smoker to the top of Bourke st. The bright new dining area is a definite lift upmarket. The food however has the same old favourites though, but with added complexity to the sides, which always merely orbited around those juicy brisket slices. The wedge salad for example is killer. T & I were at the launch where they brought out the crowd favourites. It’s worth making a booking as it’s sure to fill quickly. Their website even allows bookings to be made only 5 minutes beforehand, as if you were on wotif. The food is balanced and flavour filled, the sides are so good and the drinks are familiar, but twisted to suite the cuisine. Well worth going to.
Punchbowl Canteen 1 Fennell Street, Port Melbourne, Melbourne Contact: 03 8534 9957 In the midst of the slightly industrial and commercial side of Port Melbourne is Punchbowl Canteen. The heavy brickwork and large continuous windows give away it’s factory origins, which gives the inside a light airiness. The menu is genuinely interesting, with plenty for breakfast and brunch, as you’d expect plus a fuller lunch menu than most. We sampled a great selection of them, perched as a veritable bevy of exotica stopped by the corner: A Lamborghini Aventador, A Ferrari 246 Dino, A Lotus Europa and a Porsche 911 Carrera S convertible (991).
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.
Juno and May 662 Burke Road, Camberwell, Melbourne Contact: 03 8840 8006 Juno and May have transformed a large complex space into a series of areas with different textures. The bright light, light stained wood brunch front leads to the luxurious dark back area, with a great high function area above. We dropped in at night to taste their asian inspired dinner menu
Fatboy Chapel 352-354 Chapel Street, South Yarra, Melbourne Contact: 03 9827 7506 Chinese cuisine is one of those that would be instantly familiar to most people, along with its associations born from stir fried takeaway and cramped red restaurants of the 80s and 90s. Like burgers, pizza and Thai food, a reinvention for the modern palette would help cleanse the mind of the culinary horrors of yesteryear.
Meat Market South Wharf Location: 53 South Wharf Promenade, South Wharf VIC 3000 Contact: 9008 8953 Set in the stunning South Wharf precinct, Meat Market offers pasture fed beef from some of Australia’s best ethical producers, as well as chicken, seafood, lamb and kangaroo sourced in Victoria. Hearty proteins are available in all forms and sizes (think Cape Grim porterhouses and Kilcoy eye fillets) and come dressed with a range of classic sauces, from Bordelaise jus to a trio of mustards. Those looking to impress can turn it up a notch with a whole roast duck or 1kg of crispy pork belly, although make sure to leave up to a 45 minute wait for these gems busy periods.
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.