The Lui Bar at Melbourne’s prime real estate in the skies is luxe, elegant and provides superior views of Melbourne’s skyline. Since opening in 2011, it has been at the top of my “to-go” list, although I find the location right smack bang in the middle of the city a bit awkward seeing as I drive to the city these days, and popping in for a quick drink isn’t really possible with the pain in the ass parking. You will need to consult the concierge at the ground floor just before the elevators and our arrival mid-afternoon proved that we had arrived just in time, snagging the last window view seat.
For anyone that has travelled to Japan before, you will understand the fervour that you acquire for the food and culture, and the unwavering appetite and despair that you feel after your return home. While there are a few places in Melbourne to satiate to a certain extent, the fresh sashimi and sushi cravings you begin to have, there’s no where quite like Japan. With just the mere mention of the words “just like in Japan”, I know many people who will be scrambling and demanding for the name and address.
There are only a handful of weekends are left until Mr A and I are off to gallivant all over the east coast of America. In an attempt to soak up as much Australia sun as we can before we are plunged into the second Winter of our 2014. It seems fortuitous that Melbourne is laying off the temperamental weather act on our free days, so we decided to make the journey to Ascot Food Store. It is larger than it appears from the outside; beyond the front of house, a few steps up lead to a segregated dining area with a homely and comfortable feel. To beat the breakfast crowds, we had woken up a little earlier given the distance as well so we were feeling a little bleary eyed. That was quickly rectified with some coffee orders; using Proud Mary coffee beans and St David’s Dairy milk, my iced latte provided a refreshing caffeine hit.
Mister Jennings was conceptualised by Ryan – a solo venture after departing from a Melbourne favourite, Estelle Bar & Kitchen. It is a small space, although not cramped, highlighted by the plentiful natural lighting flowing in. While “tasting menus” typically bring up concoctions of tiny portions and exorbitant prices, Mister Jennings is one of the few restaurants changing the game and bringing affordable tastings of the chef’s top picks.
Not many are willing to travel all the way from the outer east side all the way over the bridge to the west side, so I’m lucky to have Ms L who doesn’t mind the mini road trip when it comes to good food. Ms L had been eager to try Seddon Deadly Sins for a while and it was one of those days when she felt like she needed a day off work, that we made our way to Seddon. We felt extremely welcomed when we arrived at Seddon Deadly Sins, as if we were regulars coming back for our weekly visit. Our coffees were rich and strong, suiting our palates well especially considering that Ms L is incredibly picky when it comes to her long macchiatos.
It was like there was a pornographic movie playing in the background.
The hushed murmurs and the muffled squeals of excitement from our neighbouring diners seemed to show their unequivocal appreciation for their meal. From their first bite into the spiced prawn cracker, to slurping down their oysters and finally, when they nipped their golden egg with a knife to see the requisite egg yolk oozing out. Admittedly, Mr A and I both had the same quieter sentiments – upon first bite of the first few dishes, our eyes were rolling back into their sockets.
Melbourne is consistently on point with food trends – instagram-worthy food like fluffy hotcakes accessorised with a colourful array of edible flowers and fresh fruit; frozen yoghurt dispensaries popping up on every corner, both north and south of the river; cold pressed juices and healthy smoothies served in mason jars; and the latest one to start making an appearance on menus – things made with food-grade edible charcoal. Charcoal food products are becoming more mainstream – what, with charcoal brioche buns encasing meat patties, ice creams scooped into charcoal waffle cones; and now, after supplying select cafes for a short while earlier this year, Nora has opened shop in Carlton with a range of their signature charcoal tarts.
If you haven’t noticed lately, my posts have been sporadic and spanning towards the monthly basis now – a cumulation of getting caught up in work, life and obsessively planning our trip to America at the end of the year. I feel major guilt neglecting my little food baby (my blog, not my stomach. My stomach is always well fed!) but the urge to relax after a long day at work always wins over writing and editing. Still, enjoying good food with loved ones is still a significant aspect of life I’m happily partaking in; and to celebrate our father this year, we decided to take him out to a neighbourhood Italian restaurant. At Assaggi Italiani, we are greeted with upbeat Italian greetings and heavy accented wait staff, while being led up the stairs to a private room for our table of nine.
Kyneton is a small and sleepy town, with the locals all know one another and can be seen pulled over on opposite sides of the road and hanging out of their respective car windows having a gab. With a little time before dinner, we soaked in the Winter sun at Monsieur Pierre while enjoying a raspberry and coconut slice and their signature Gypsy spice hot chocolate. Now, I’ve never really understood the fascination with chilli chocolate but now may have been converted with a simple sip of this drink. Rich, thick chocolate liquid with a slight spice lingering on the tongue – an ideal pick me up after a long drive.
There was a mad scramble for dinner reservations when word first got out about Champions Bistro. Occupying the dining space in an unassuming suburban bowls club in Melbourne’s South, most sessions were booked out months in advance due to the limited span of the temporary restaurant. It is only now, after a few extensions due to popular demand, that Clinton and Ali are taking a short hiatus in September to rest and recharge. Without neglecting to signing in at the front counter leading to the bistro, we catch glimpses of smoke wafting up from plates and a collective of interesting looking bites which had us highly anticipating our meal.