Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall Location: 64-66 Acland St, St Kilda, VIC 3182 Contact: 03 9525 3755 This revamped homage to classic Southern-style food is set to catapult you into the American food scene, which has well and truly taken Melbourne by storm. Not that we’re complaining, of course: Joe’s Bar and Dining Hall have clearly put a lot of thought into perfecting what are guaranteed to be crowd-pleasers: there’s everything that one could possibly want from a Texas barbecue at this joint.
The Merrywell Location: Cnr Clarendon St & Crown Riverside, Southbank, VIC Contact: 03 9292 7468 Simplicity is deceiving. As a student at school with an Asian mum, of course I learnt a musical instrument. Two in fact at one point. But to pre-empt any stereotypical thoughts: no, I wasn’t forced, and no I wasn’t under duress to perform like some kind of circus animal. Well, not often. But what saxophone and piano taught me, beyond the obvious, was that in simplicity there can be perfection, but it is always hard fought. The sheer effortlessness of the senior jazz band always amazed me as a novice. Jazz music looked and sounded so easy, so self-assured. But as I progressed and joined the band myself I realised that that aura of confidence and finesse came from talent, to some extent, as well as a massive amount of practice and technical ability. Simple was the result of weeks spent traversing the circle of fourths, blues, augmented and diminished scales and so on. To make it sound simple, took a fine polished skill.
Operator25 Location: 25 Wills Street, Melbourne CBD Contact: 03 9670 3278 Situated in a heritage-listed building tucked away off Latrobe Street, Operator25 is a bright, open space, with brick and modern rustic finishings throughout. The ceilings are high and the airy expanse adopts an almost warehouse feel, with the communal tables and warm tones injecting hits of cosiness into the space. It’s a lovely escape on a hot Summer’s day.
What: Mr Earl Tea monthly subscription boxes How much dosh? $20 for a 1 month subscription, $45 for 3 months or $78 for 6 months A little while ago we were contacted by the lovely founder of Mr Earl Tea, Emily Stone, who has initiated a bit of a tea culture revolution with her innovative premium tea subscription boxes. Now if you’re anything like us and harbour an obsession with all things tea related, then you’ll love this one – subscribe via the Mr Earl website and each month you’ll be sent three surprise loose leaf teas, hand selected from the finest specialty tea brands in Australia and New Zealand.
Krimper Location: 20-24 Guildford Lane, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9043 8844 A former cabinet factory and gallery, Krimper is indie at its best. The converted, industrial-style building is peppered with brick walls, thick wooden tables and, at least for the holiday period, the most delightful lineup of fairy lights which creep across the high ceiling. Then there’s that vertical bike rack at the front, where cyclists can sling their prized possessions on the wall while they tuck into some fantastic food.
Top Paddock Location: 658 Church St, Richmond, VIC 3121 Contact: 03 9429 4332 It’s hard not to fall in love with Top Paddock. Inhabiting a huge space at the edge of the Yarra and Church Street, this gorgeous, light-filled establishment brings a surprisingly relaxed, beachy appeal to one of Melbourne’s inner-city neighbourhoods. And with the same team behind Melbourne institution Two Birds One Stone backing this one, it’s good to know that you’re in exceptionally safe hands.
Bottle of Milk Location: 52 Mountjoy Parade, Lorne, VIC Contact: 03 5289 2005 On our days off we love to travel to Lorne. There’s something so beautiful about it all; the beach, the surfers eyeing the perfect wave, the kids playing in that ship of a playground. In a second it can take you blissfully away from the bustle of Melbourne, and make you feel right at ease. When we visit here, we always drop by Bottle of Milk. It’s a small yet hip eatery located at the end of the strip of shops, and they serve up some of the best burgers that we’ve tried to date.
Beatrix Location: 688 Queensberry St, North Melbourne Contact: 03 9090 7301 With its virtually unmarked glass door and cosy interior, this diminutive space on Queensberry St is home to some of our favourite cakes out. Opt for one of those sinful Elvis cupcakes (who knew banana and bacon candy could marry so well?) or one of those famous potato brioche donuts, covered in a lemon sour cream glaze. They’re so fluffy and snow-like – one touch and you’ll be in heaven.
Fa-fah! Location: Shop F018, 1341 Dandenong Road, Chadstone Contact: 03 9568 6600 Chadstone shoppers are now blessed with an alternative to the typical food court fare, with Fa-Fah bringing modern Asian fusion cuisine to the fashion capital. Housed outside the main shopping complex, Fa-Fah occupies a contemporary and bright hawker-style setting, with photos of the dishes on offer sprawled across newspaper menus.
Pidapipo Location: 222 Faraday Street, Carlton, VIC 3053 Contact: 0422 004 750 With the turn to sweltering heat and Summer days, Carlton has thrown us a bit of a lifeline, with the pop-up Pidapipo gelateria store opening up last month. The gelato test lab is open for this Summer only, and is the brainchild of Lisa Valmorbida, a Carpigiani Gelato University graduate and master of experimental gelato flavours. The launch night was hectic as ever, packed from the store to the street with one big family of gelato-lovers and media personnel. Apart from some enticing flavours on offer, there was plenty of aperol spritz to go around, and the boys from DOC also came over to serve up some mini pizza favourites. Bless.
DuNord Location: 367 Little Bourke St, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9642 0052 Traverse Little Bourke Street and you’ll find DuNord’s unassuming brick exterior wedged in between a quirky lineup of shops. And when you’re surrounded by stores toting outdoor adventure equipment and the like, it’s quite refreshing to find a trendy bar right in the thick of it.
Maya Tequila Bar & Grill Location: 74 Toorak Rd, South Yarra, VIC Contact: 03 9866 8836 Maya Tequila Bar and Grill may have been around in other guises previously, but let it be said now that things are changing. Under the helm of new owner Michael, Maya launches a two pronged attack as both a bar, and a restaurant. While most would consider this commonplace, the duo often comprises merely a few beers and a dash of wine, with unusual drinks orders receiving quizzical expressions from staff. Try ordering a Sazerac or and Old Fashioned beyond the bastions of established high cocktail establishments and you’ll be settling for scotch and dry. Not so here. With A, T and I propped in front of the extensively filled bar, littered with more Patron than a Ludacris video clip, we were spoiled for choice.
The Piano Restaurant and Bar Location: 18 Bridge Rd, Richmond, VIC Contact: 03 9428 9385 The Piano Restaurant and Bar may be a relatively new entrant to the Bridge Road dining scene, however the modern Thai establishment has quickly gained a solid following among locals and that crispy duck is already indisputably a signature dish. The fit out is simple yet charming; dark wooden tables are lit by flickering, colourful candles, there are clean lines throughout and then there is, of course, that rich wooden piano sitting near the front window.
Third Wave Location: 30 Cato St, Prahran, VIC Contact: 03 9510 2991 Capitalising on hearty American fare and high quality coffee, Third Wave is a brand spanking new cafe located in the heart of Prahan. The cafe has a wonderfully bright and open feel, and boasts renowned chef Ryo Kitahara, a protégé of Iron Chef Sakai from the popular Japanese television series. TFS was kindly invited to the cafe to try out their brunch offering, which extensively covers both American and Russian style dishes.
The Royale Brothers Location: 1 Church Street, Brighton Contact: 03 9005 4242 Walk up to Royale Brothers and you can be in no doubt that this would be a late night favourite. A small hole in the wall, open late in amidst a sea of day only shopping in an area with little else besides. To say that Royale Brothers is inspired by the great golden arcs, as well as perhaps one of the only G rated sequences in Pulp fiction would be a disservice. Recall if you will the taste of a quarter pounder through the rose coloured nostalgia of your very first time you ever went to McDonalds. Recall as well a first bite fuelled by an enduring hunger on a night spent imbibing the distilled, brewed or fermented. Heighted by either discovery of the new, alcohol or perhaps both, that is what a Royale with cheese tastes like.
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.
Adriano Zumbo Patisserie Location: 12 -14 Claremont St, South Yarra, VIC 3141 Contact: 1800 858 611 Adriano Zumbo has well and truly invaded Melbourne. The first Zumbo venue in Victoria is a quirky young thing, layered with mirrored panels, buckets of neon and loads of pizazz – a perfect reflection of Adriano’s eye-catching flair.
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.
FOMO Thai Location: 171 Bourke Street, Melbourne, VIC 3000 Contact: 03 9650 7987 Located smack bang in the middle of the buzz of the CBD, FOMO Thai on Bourke Street is a modern Thai heaven, with a clean aesthetic and casual, cheap eats in tow. Wooden communal tables feature throughout, and then there’s that large open kitchen to the back, where you can spot your dishes being quickly whipped up.
Frolic Yoghurt Fitzroy Location: 365 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy, VIC 3065 Contact: 03 9417 0097 Finally summer seems tantalisingly within our reach, and with that T and I were delighted to accept an invitation to drop by and savour all things froyo at Frolic Frozen Yoghurt, Fitzroy. Step in and you can’t help pausing to admire the feature wall – custom artwork sprawled across bare brick, so fitting and at home at its residence on Brunswick Street. Traverse further in, past the toppings bar (oh, so many choices – don’t worry, we’ll come back to that) and you’re ready to get down to business.
Melbourne Night Noodle Markets Location: Alexandra Gardens, Melbourne When: 18th – 30th of November, 2013 – Mon-Tue: 5-9pm; Wed: 5-10pm; Thu:-Fri 5-11pm; Sat:4-10pm; Sun: 4-9pm As part of The Age’s Good Food Month this year, for the next two weeks Alexandra Gardens has morphed into an extravagant hawker-style night noodle market. With over 25 food stalls and nightly entertainment, a number of Melbourne’s most loved Asian eateries such as Chin Chin, Longrain, Izakaya Den and Mamak have set up shop, including some new and upcoming restaurants. The full list of participating restaurants can be viewed here, and it’s definitely an event that is not to be missed.