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).
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.
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.
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.
Hunter Valley Wine Festival, New South Wales May 2016 – June 2016 For more info, visit www.winecountry.com.au FACEBOOK AND INSTAGRAM GIVEAWAY: TAG A MATE TO WIN 2 BOTTLES OF WINE FROM THE GORGEOUS HUNTER VALLEY Hey fellow foodies! In celebration of the Hunter Valley Wine & Food Festival, we’re giving away twin packs of gorgeous wines from the festival including: 1) 2011 Little Reserves Shiraz Homestead Vineyard; and 2) 2016 Deluliis Semillon Single Vineyard!
Little Woodpecker Location: 55 Katrina Street, Blackburn, Melbourne, Victoria Contact: 03 9877 5102 Fresh and new, Little Woodpecker is nestled down a side street in a little row of local shops. With a clean uncluttered interior and a corner spot, there’s plenty of places to soak up what’s left of the winter sun.
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’.
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!
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
Spare Me Kitchen Location: Level 1, 393 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne Contact: 03 9419 6380 Walking into Glamorama’s Spare Me Kitchen, on Brunswick Street in Fitzroy, I didn’t know what to expect. Operated by the same crew behind the popular Less than Zero in South Yarra, Glamorama offers itself as a restaurant; a bar; and later in the night as a nightclub. I had high expectations about the atmosphere, but didn’t know what to expect from its kitchen. I found that all my expectations were surpassed by Spare Me Kitchen, which offered a fun and inviting atmosphere matched by a creative and delicious menu.
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.
Academy Kitchen and Bar Location: 318 Bridge Road, Richmond, Melbourne Contact: 03 9427 8231 Academy Kitchen and Bar’s Chef and owner, Will Manning, has tapped into a number of classic European dishes and adapted them for the modern, Melbourne palate. With experience in hatted restaurants, as well as a previous stint of part ownership of the beloved Prospect Espresso Cafe, Manning has put together a well-balanced menu that combines indulgent share plates of wholesome pastas, risottos and meats with techniques developed in Australia. Stepping in, it’s hard not to fall in love with the elegantly minimalist dining space. There’s a huge communal bar that lines the right side of the restaurant, with the other flanked by a long bench, wooden tables and an earthy brick wall. It has that genuine neighbourhood restaurant charm about it – warm, welcoming and accessible, accompanied by the promise of stellar food and drinks.
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.
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.
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.
Grub Food Van Location: 87-89 Moor Street, Fitzroy, Melbourne, Victoria Contact: 03 9877 5102 Grub Food Van is refreshing change amongst a sea of clean, minimalist designer cafe’s that litter every suburb. Decorated by the owners themselves, it feels much like stepping into their house, which is apt as it was their rather expansive abode. The garden is served by the gleaming bodied Airstream, perfect for summer days or nights, whilst the warm greenhouse is filled with light and plant life, heated heartily from the fireplace. As if to top it all off, it’s also dog friendly inside so people and their pooches aren’t shivering outside. Grub Food Van’s pastry chef even makes biscuits for well behaved canine guests.
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.
Pablo Honey Location: 68A Acland Street, St Kilda, Melbourne, Victoria Contact: 03 8658 3127 Pablo Honey mixes twisted tequila-based drinks at it’s swanky bar, which is adorned in art created by its staff. Original paintings and decorated skulls are a prominent theme, filling the dark cool walls. The setting is relaxed yet lively with a great buzz, with long tables for sharing tapas with a large group of friends or an intimate date.
Maxwell and Williams http://www.maxwellandwilliams.com.au/ Globally recognised for its clean, elegant lines and delicate patterns, Maxwell & Williams has made a name for itself in the realm of fine homewares. Each range is designed to deliver exceptional quality, with items designed to complement and enhance daily life. The result is a consistently elegant range of contemporary items which are mindful of using the best materials whilst still remaining inherently functional.