Restaurants

Restaurants

Why does food have to taste so good?!

Happiness is cheese and pasta and you can find happiness at Cucinetta. The cosy Italian Osteria opened in 2017. Since then, the South Yarra osteria has transitioned to current owner, Giocomo of Caffe Cuccina. The ‘no fridge’, same day strategy is Cucinetta’s pizzazz. When there’s literally no room for frozen, you know it’s as fresh as Nonna’s. Head chef Attilio Nuscis, rotates his menu weekly, just like Nonna would. The only difference is the giant wine glasses – seriously, they’re hilariously large. This article was written for the AGFG....

Call the fire brigade, it’s flaming hot at The Modern Eatery. Swan St’s new contemporary house of Aburi, harnesses the power of flame, to lightly sear seafood by blowtorch. The technique originates from Tokyo’s Edo period, where searing the exterior extends the lifespan of fish. Hundreds of years later, aburi is well-loved amongst sushi enthusiasts. Chef Seiya Kurogi, fuses traditional elements of Miyazaki, with creative nuance. A sprinkle of anori here,  sprigs of purple cauliflower there. I can confirm that the Aburi is damn good.....

Albert Camus once said ‘ Maybe it’s not about the happy ending. Maybe it’s about the story’. At Camus in Northcote, immerse yourself in a culinary journey. The story is French Algerian – and the happy ending is a Turkish delight soufflé. Chef Pierre Khodja was born in Algeria and grew up in Marseille, France. Having discovered a penchant for all things food, the journey into the kitchen, led to various stints at Michelin starred restaurants. The technique is evident at Camus, taking heavy North African flavours, refining the presentation and balancing with classical French technique. Admittedly, Algerian cuisine is unbeknownst to most Melbournians and it’s a story you’ll love to hear. ...

Igni sees Victoria’s prodigal son return to the realm of regional dining. As quarter life and mid life crises ensue, a stint overseas is a natural cure for monotony. So off Aaron Turner went, to the BBQ capital of the world – sweet Tennessee. If you know a G-town resident or a chicken fan, Belle’s hot chicken, induces fond finger-licking memories. Chef Turner returns, opening a degustation only restaurant, with a Noma-esque feel. Seems the best chefs are moving away from the city lights?...

Wilson & Market’s Brasserie is Paul Wilson’s final puzzle piece. The Brasserie joins the the Luxe Bar and the Lifestyle bar that resides in Prahran Market. The trilogy is now complete. The British chef known for Latino food, has flown back to Aussie roots. There’s heavy emphasis on seasonality and the ol’ ‘ farm-to-table’ philosophy. The produce speaks for the Victorian land and sea. Expect fresh seafood, meats smoked in beastly contraptions and rotisserie. ...

Atlas Dining flies diners around the world. This month, we’re flying to Korea, with pilot-in-charge Charli Carrington. Atlas revolves around a rotational menu, changing every 4 months to reflect a global cuisine. Seasonal menu changes are common practice, but every 4 months is respectfully bonkers. You may recognise Charli from a recent stint on Masterchef – playing the role of ‘professional’ for the elusive immunity pin. Chef Carrington has surpassed amateur cooking competitions, racking up  impressive credentials at the age of 22. Grab your passports. We’re heading to the land of bubble pop and gangnam style. ...

The newly opened ‘Deck’ at Terindah Estate provides picturesque views of the Bellarine peninsula. With the sun shying away, a winter escape is on the agenda. Swirls of clinking, estate-made wine wash away the worries of work. Lush vineyards and the sparkling waters of Port Phillip Bay, welcome the weekend crowd. It’s a harmonious picture. Families picnic on the open lawns, pastel bridesmaids squeal at the beautiful bride and my Asian flush is rising like the sun. Wine is the nectar of gods, the sustenance of office zombies and Momma needs some sustenance. Darn you, asian flush....

Imbue Food & Wine opens in Maribyrnong. Being a local, it’s fair to say good dining options are sparse. Footscray is the destination for Vietnamese and a big bowl of steaming pho. Yarraville and Seddon, is for weekend brunches. Flemington is for laksa. Maribyrnong? Well.. there’s Highpoint. The opening of Imbue, ushers much-needed gastronomic love, to the ho-hum franchises that dominate this riverside burb. I love living in Maribyrnong, the views of the river, the proximity to good Vietnamese. The one thing that’s missing, is an up-and-coming food scene. Let’s hope our mates at Imbue, can get the westside train rolling. ...

The Melbourne Food and Wine festival is in full swing, with The Grand Richmond hosting Italian Yum Cha. Imagine small plates of delectable Italian dishes served in Yum Cha portions. I promise, there will be no unusual fusion dishes, aka bolognese dumplings. Instead of asian ladies pushing around trolleys, diners will select their desired dishes, on a ‘tick-box’ style menu. 10 courses of small-plates are made-to-order, served with matching cocktails and/or teas. Originally planned for two weekends – the unique experience has been expanded to all weekends for the month of April. It sounds like a crazy idea, but it makes perfect sense. Smaller portions = more food to try. All aboard the Italian Yum Cha train!...

Merhaba, welcome to Souk! Let the fluorescent signage of Bligh Pl, guide you to North Africa, Anatolia and Middle East. Owners Ergun Elmas (Arabesque) and Vlad Kovacevic, have converted The Deanery, into a contemporary space. The Middle Eastern influence, flows onto the drinks menu. Sultry eyes, watch on, with clinks of Turkish Coffee martinis. ‘Aladdin’s mistress’ flutters her rum soaked eyelashes. The menu, created by Mexican-born head chef, Rogelio Almanza – has the gastronomic influence of Mexico and Middle East joining forces. Welcome to the alleyways of Melbourne, Souk!...

MPD steak kitchen brings a touch of theatrics to the South Eastern burbs. For the Zagames group, the million dollar steak house, is the diamond in the rough. It’s lightyears away from the family-friendly Zagames next door. The residents of Berwick breath a sigh of relief, there isn’t much to eat, this far South. Now, there’s billowing clouds of liquid nitrogen and tomohawk steaks the size of a baby. But how does MPD compare to its CBD counterparts? Is it worth the trek down, for us spoilt inner city latte sippers?...

Smak your lips for a cafe that delivers nutrition and taste. “We know that creating healthy, portion controlled meals, that taste like Christmas is no mean feat’. Catering to the activewear crowd of South Yarra, whilst not scaring away the big brekky lovers is a challenge. Admittedly, I’m from the latter crowd, generally skeptical of the latest ‘superfood’ trends and health cafes. Have you tasted a golden latte? They’re unforgettable and not in a good way. So have a couple of blokes, managed to bring the ‘taste of Christmas’ to healthy meals?...

Penta goes against the definition of insanity. That is, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The ‘Mischievous Little Dreamers’ – the same team behind Tinker, Mob Espresso and Temperance Society have unearthed the formula to lure the finicky Melbourne cafe crowd. There’s plenty of fish in the sea and many of us are hooked. You may have noticed similarities between all three sister cafes. The same successful formula is replicated with slight tweaks: bubblegum bright smoothies, colourful Pannacottas and hotcakes laced with gardens of edible flowers. One look at those smoothies and you know the ‘Dreamers’ have been here. But how does Penta compare to its’ sisters? The south east is booming with......

CH James or Charles Henry James was a budding philanthropist of the Northern suburbs. Well known in the north for his business flair, legend says that the laneway culture of Melbourne, was a legacy of CH James. Hurray, laneways where you don’t get mugged! CH James in Fairfield pays ode to the Victorian gentlemen. Owner Theo Krambias, inspired by the concept of a local hero, converts the old Alfio’s Caffe, into the CJ James of today. The outdoor courtyard is a popular hang amongst the locals. The cafe decorated with yester-year knick knacks – a pitcher fork here, a wagon wheel there. You will commonly find Theo greeting diners with an enthusiastic ‘Hello’. Despite, the inspiration from older years, the......

Hotel Jesus says ‘Hola’, opening a bright Mexican tostaderia, on Smith St. This is the second venue from Mamasita’s Matt Lane and Nick Peters, joining forces with Mexican born Yasser Garcia in the kitchen. The tile -laden venue is deliberately retro kitsch, but ends up looking effortlessly cool anyhow. Inspired by the tostaderia’s and taqueria’s of Mexico, you can expect tostadas, ceviche, tacos and Mexican street food. Unlike the a la carte style of Mamasita, Hotel Jesus presents diners with a tick-box and a laminated picture menu. Trying hard to be daggy and casual, the food is anything but. These are not the 25c tacos you find in Tijuana or East LA (incidentally delicious). The toppings and flavor combinations steer......

Humble Rays doesn’t need a slice of humble pie. Despite the pastel blue walls telling diners to ‘Stay hungry and be humble’, Humble Rays’ food is far from humility. It’s loud and proud. Colourful and vibrant. Owners Gough and Tinee, packed up their suitcases, moving from the much-loved ‘ Honey Badger’  in Hobart, to the rugged streets of Melbourne. Walking distance from The University of Melbourne, I wish Humble Rays was around when I was a ‘studious’ youngster. It certainly would’ve made University life more tolerable. On the weekends, its a quiet affair, relying on locals and the instagram crowd to fill the tables. Once semester hits, it’ll be a different story. No doubt,  it will peak the interest of......

Royal Stacks is burger royalty, knighted by burger loving Melbournians. One look at the lunchtime crowd and the love affair is perpetual. Melbourne’s answer to ‘The Shake Shack’ – Royal Stacks has had a wildly successful year, opening its flagship store in the CBD, followed by Brunswick and Chaddy. It’s January 2017 and Royal Stacks has officially turned one. Like any fussy infant, the baby is in need of new toys. A collaboration with Melbourne’s 15 year old doughnut prince – Bistro Morgan, is a perfect fit.”Seeing someone so young create such a fantastic product is inspiring, which is why we’d love to support him,” says Royal Stacks owner Dani Zeini. Pair the new Fruit Loops shake with the Fruit......

Tutto Benne means – it’s ‘All okay!’ We all know the saying ‘The better the view, the worse the food.’ Sometime, it’s not okay… I’m looking at you Darling Harbour. It’s fair to say that Southbank is Melbourne’s Darling Harbour -the sweeping skyline, the waterfront view and snapping tourists looking for a bite.  After 13 years in Southbank, Tutto Benne has taken over the balcony, overlooking the Melbourne skyline and the Yarra river. “Eating delicious food with a spectacular city view – what’s not to love”, says Restaurant Manager Osvaldo. The riverside terrace has since introduced a new Summer Aperitivo Grazing and Cocktail menu. The Venetian style tapas (Cicchetti) are designed to be shared....

Tinker goes against the definition of insanity. That is, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. The ‘Mischievous Little Dreamers’ – the same team behind Penta, Mob Espresso and Temperance Society have unearthed the formula to lure the finicky Melbourne cafe crowd. There’s plenty of fish in the sea and many of us are hooked. You may have noticed similarities between all three sister cafes. The same successful formula is replicated with slight tweaks: bubblegum bright smoothies, colourful Pannacottas and hotcakes laced with gardens of edible flowers. One look at those smoothies and I know the ‘Dreamers’ have been here. That’s successful branding. But how does Tinker compare to its’ sisters?...

Mr. Scruffs is not for the active wear, detoxing juice crowd. Best to replace the Lululemon leggings with a pair of fat pants, because Mr Scruffs is all about the drip of melting cheese, hulky burgers and beer. Located on the grungy streets of Smith St and a short walk from my office (thank the lords), the poutine and half priced Tuesday menu is held in high esteem. By high esteem, I mean it results in groans of cheesy pleasure and satisfying food comas. There are no gimmicky freak shakes (oh god, someone make it stop) or oddly coloured buns –its all about the about tasty burgs and good ol artery cloggers. No need for gimmicks....

Georgio’s Seafood & Steakhouse, just little way off the Monash freeway in Beaconsfield, does exactly as it advertises in its name; serving up steak and seafood in a warm, family run restaurant. Once a video rental store, now converted into a restaurant, Georgio’s head chef, John, oversees the kitchen while his father manages front of house. Together they are providing patrons with friendly service as well as generous serving sizes and quality meals. It’s old school dining, all the way south-east....

Gontran Cherrier is a rock star baker, starting his journey in the culinary capital of the world. The Parisian baker has an impressive resume with Michelin experience, teaching at a top culinary school,  with books and TV shows to his name. With bakeries in Europe and Asia, Melbourne is a natural progression for Gontran’s next artisan boulangerie. With Melbournians’ existing willingness to line up for pastries and café culture– Smith St is the chosen home for the first Australian branch of Gontran. “I chose Melbourne for my newest international bakery because it is known for its excellence in food. I think it also shares a lot of similarities with Paris such as the café culture and laneways.” Gontran said....

Latin Food & Wines (formerly La Morenita Latin Cuisine) moves from its Sunshine home to Deer Park. Out this side West, is where the Latin American community dwell. Latin Food & Wines serves as a bottle shop, restaurant and grocer, selling: booze, cakes, deli meats and groceries for those seeking Latin goods. It’s easy to forget that you’re in Melbourne, when you walk inside the expansive warehouse. The Red, White and Blues of the Chilean flags, hang from metallic railings. A Chilean painted Vespa is thrusted on a pedestal. Latin music is sung karaoke style. It’s all about family, South American BBQ and having a big fiesta. It’s Friday night, after all. The blackboard menu of chunky meat-filled sandwiches and......

Are you a Good egg or bad egg? Eggs had a temporary bad reputation, with the American Heart Association labelling them high in cholesterol. This fact, was later disputed. Now, our yellow centred friend is known for being rich in proteins, vitamins, minerals, good fats and nutrients. Good Egg in South Melbourne celebrates all things egg. Greg Bremner, co-owner of Good Egg wanted a cafe to focus on good quality eggs – free -range and Victorian sourced. In a deliberate attempt to avoid the fastidious brunch, dishes veer on the simplistic side, but all feature egg prime and centre.  Walking inside, is an explosion of yellow. Clearly, the colour of yolk is the inspiration – from lemon curd cookies that......

Corner Hotel in Richmond is a landmark Melbourne pub. Known for its live music, music-goeres have been bopping to tunes – or these days ‘head bangin’ since the 1940s. Gone are the ol’ cheap cut parma and steaks. Times are a changing and pub grub is shifting towards refinement. The Corner Hotel has recently undergone a redevelopment – officially opening its new rooftop, with an indoor dining area, outdoor courtyard and private function area. Live music is still in the DNA. On a Saturday night, drums are thumping downstairs, upstairs is filled with an eccentric mix of metal heads, bearded types and locals seeking a drink.  “While The Corner Hotel will continue to host the best local and international touring......

Saint James says ‘Make brunch, not waste’. This British themed cafe is a story of two mates, leaving their hometown, travelling far and wide and opening a taste of home in Melbourne. The home of the Brexit is quite different from the land down under. There’s no question, our climate is hotter, the people are relaxed and the cafe culture is A-grade. But there’s much to love about the Poms, the British classics make you think of warm pubs and snowy nights. Oh and the football! I’m sorry Aussies, but soccer is a far superior game. In fact, Craig and Rich named Saint James Cafe after Saint James Park in Newcastle – home to Newcastle United. There’s not much to......

Gramercy social serves up American style comfort food. Burgers, wings, tacos and banana split, what more could you ask for? Situated just off Chapel Street, Prahran, a stonethrow from Cullen’s Lobby, the team is serving up American comfort food for breaky, lunch or dinner. They sport a broad range of small starter plates which are great for sharing with a friend or two; in particular, keep an eye out for the DIY Brisket Tacos and the Pretzel Dusted Calamari. If you are a burger lover, then the burger selection should have you covered. Between the Yarra Valley sourced beef patty, slow cooked brisket, pulled pork, buttermilk fried chicken and mushroom and sweet potato patties you are sure to find something......

Lucy Lockett lost her pocket, Kitty Fisher found it. If by pocket, the writer means moolah spent on food. It’s a relatable problem. Once upon a time, two bloggers sacrificed some notes from their dishevelled Gen-Y pockets. You see, it seems we spend all our hard earned dough, on luxuries such as smashed avocado. So much so, we forego paying the unattainable mortgage. What does a white haired partner from KPMG know? The Melbourne cafe scene can reach deep into my pockets, anytime. Lucy Lockett, is named after a nursery rhyme, Lucy being a poor lass and Kitty Fisher being a rich courtesan. Tucked away in suburbia, Lucy Lockett is anything but impoverished. She’s understated and cool. The wide open......

Brunswick West was once a cafe starved suburb. Thankfully, a little strip of neighbourhood eateries has woken up the caffeine worshippers. Amidst quiet suburbia, where pooches bark – Lolo and Wren amps up the cool factor. Sitting amongst Lankan Tucker and Rude Boy Burger, Lolo and Wren caters to Albion’s St cafe requirements. Since opening in 2012, Lolo and Wren have consistently appeared in ‘top’ and ‘best of’ lists. From marshmallow engorged hot chocolates to the sinful croque monsieur, it’s not difficult to see why. The cafe specialises in artisan produce including 5 senses coffee, free range meats and gourmet cheeses. An irrelevant fact, as far as I can tell, Lolo and Wren, specialise in tastiness. The focus of the......

Do you smell that? The smell of Fancy Hanks, fills the air with an intense smoky aroma. Fans of American BBQ and worshippers of smoked meat, congregate on Bourke St, for a taste of the deep South. There’s a certain aura of machismo to American Style BBQ. The beast of the machine, churning out smoked meats to feed the masses. At Fancy Hanks, the custom-built smoker, was crane lifted into the new home. The gargantuan offset smoker, working overtime at the busy launch. The flow of hot air and smoke, is one of the hallmark features of American BBQ, producing brisket with deep red smoke rings and pulled pork. Fancy Hanks has transformed the former Tuscan Bar, into a 100......