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.
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.
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.
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.
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’.
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.
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.
Bar Nacional Location: Collins Square, 727 Collins Street, Melbourne Victoria Contact: 03 9252 7999
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.
Royal Stacks Location: 470 Collins Street, CBD, Melbourne, VIC Contact: 03 9620 0296 Melbourne’s latest burger joint, Royal Stacks, may have just opened it doors on the Spencer end of Collins Street, but the soon-to-be Melbourne institution is already kicking up a buzz with burger fanatics. Drawing on US influences and the expertise of resident burger guru, Dani Zeini (the same geniuses who brought us Grand Trailer Park Taverna, Dandenong Pavilion, Easey’s and Truck Stop Deluxe), Royal Stacks manages to deliver on all of the things that a Shake Shack-inspired burger chain must, and then some. That means a lip-smacking menu of premium ‘stacked’ burgers, served with the option of jazzing it all up just the way you like, with add-ons including the usual extra patty and extending to a sinful deep fried mac and cheese croquette. Bless.
Trunk Location: 275 Exhibition Street, Melbourne 3000 VIC Contact: 03 9663 7994 There are a lot of things to love about Trunk. There’s that adorable side diner, housed in a shell of its own, which serves up some hella hearty American-style loaded fries, diner dogs and moreish brioche-bunned burgers. Then there’s that gorgeous garden to the front, peppered with large wooden communal tables and gorg-ified by the loveliest strings of fairy lights. Oh, and, if you’re in a mind to take that date of yours to the next level, you can easily transition to the indoor restaurant and bar which dishes up equally satisfying meals, albeit in a snazzier environment.
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.
Kirk’s Wine Bar Location: 50 Hardware Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: (03) 9600 4550 One of the things that I love the most about blogging is being able to meet the passionate brains behind some pretty smashing local produce. All of us here at TFS already regularly use Cobram Estate’s olive oils in our cooking (SERIOUSLY, if you haven’t tried it, that gold-labelled, black-bottled hojiblanca magic is guaranteed to turn ANY mediocre salad into a plate of bliss), so it was a resounding ‘hell yes’ when we were asked to pop over to an intimate olive oil tasting at Kirk’s Wine Bar with Cobram Estate CEO Rob McGavin.
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.