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The aroma of a Spanish paella is so alluring. The recently revamped Pop Restaurant in Hardware Lane is a serious destination for paella lovers. On Tuesday nights Pop Restaurant is serving up paella from a massive pan imported from Spain. Head Chef Manuel Villegas is the king of paella and can be seen preparing and serving the paella to customers. It's always exciting to see a Chef spending time out of the kitchen interacting with customers.

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We checked out the paella as guests of Pop Restaurant. Over the years I've been a big fan of the paella enjoying it all over the world. I love paella not just for the culinary bliss, but for the whole communal aspect of it. I understand the paella is a tradition in the countryside and streets of Spain where it's often out in the open for all to see. Paella is at the heart of community.

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Tagged in: Spanish

Posted by on in Fine Dining

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Circa The Prince, the darling of the Melbourne restaurant scene, has launched a superb Yakitori Bar as a pop up from April 6 to May 6, with the influence and design of Paul Wilson, chef extraordinaire.

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For mine it was the bao selection that proved the highlight. With seemingly hundreds of guests at the launch I proved myself adept at securing several Tea smoked duck and quince with bush plum sauce bao.

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Tagged in: Japanese
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Following the successful 2012 launch of Napoleon Perdis Life.Style in Sydney’s Woollahra, Napoleon has now opened his first Melbourne store in The COMO Centre, South Yarra.
 
Having long been inspired by travel, architecture, interior design, art, and fashion, Napoleon Perdis Life.Style is an innovative new retail offering that will showcase Napoleon’s passion for all things artful and reveal another side to the makeup maestro: the collector.
 
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“Melbourne was a natural choice for my second store, the shopping experience is so diverse and the consumer is very discerning. I think that Melbourne will really embrace my new concept!” States Napoleon.
 
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Life.Style Melbourne will be home to exclusive Ready–to–Wear collections alongside the best in luxury accessories, jewellery and home furnishings as well as a carefully curated edit of internationally sourced vintage furniture, decorative items and art.
 
This eclectic mix will sit alongside the Napoleon Perdis cosmetics offering and to follow, a Napoleon Perdis Life.Style signature collection of product.
 
“Napoleon Perdis Life.Style is a reflection of my own eclectic aesthetic; I am very acquisitive and love nothing more than hunting for and gathering new finds – be it fashion, furniture, or art."
 
Explains Napoleon “I wanted to recreate the experience, that feeling I get when I stumble upon something remarkable, whether it’s just an interesting trinket or a true treasure to add to my collection.”
 
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As a leading player in cosmetics for over 17 years, Napoleon Perdis has now evolved into a retail force across categories and continents. With a well-established international business, a distinct creative aesthetic, and a long history of supporting emerging design talent, Napoleon Perdis is viewed by the Australian fashion and retail community as an authentic tastemaker and an authority on international trends.
 
Brands exclusive to Napoleon Perdis Life.Style Melbourne include:
 
Ready – to – Wear:
Robert Rodriguez, Milly NY, Clover Canyon, Habitual Denim, Demy Lee and South
Parade
 
Accessories:
Thale Blanc, 111BeCa, Cecile et Jeanne, Clare Vivier, Gear3 by Saen and Banago
 
Jewellery:
Lucas Jack, NACH, Gina Stewart Cox, Defy Mafia, Jean Marie Poinot and JOOLS
 
Home furnishings:
IONIA Tablewear, Klein Reid and Furthur Design and Molla Space
 
Napoleon Perdis Life.Style Melbourne is located at:
Level 2, Shop 299
The COMO Centre
South Yarra VIC 3141
T: 03 9828 2111
Hits: 7303

 

FOG is an impressive fine dining restaurant in Prahran with modern upmarket decor and sexy cuisine with American influences. After an epic night at their monthly regional dinner celebrating the tastes of New England I left FOG ebullient and on a high.

My ebullience was partly due to the dreamy decor and the dreamy music being played. This place elicited the Great American Dream, even though we were in Prahran.

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Tagged in: American

Posted by on in Cafe

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Seddon Deadly Sins is a funky cafe in Seddon with a clever name and a culinary excellence. Seddon has become a cafe haven these days and Seddon Deadly Sins is one of the finest.  The decor and menu isn't predictable (presented inside a little Golden Book). Locals love this place for its style and for its dining spaces (including the outdoor courtyard).

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Seddon Deadly Sins has a cool ambience with great use of timber and glistening varnish on the tables. Interesting figures and quirky pieces adorn. I enjoyed the distressed wall, Phantom comics wallpaper, red lamps and cabinets with tasty treats. The mood is alternative and this includes the music selection.

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Tagged in: Cafe Western

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U-Village is a modern Asian fusion restaurant that impresses with its class decor and top notch cuisine. The modern fittings, soft wood and potted greenery make it as fresh as the food served. U-Village began in 2003 with a restaurant in Malaysia, now bringing the best of Asian fusion to St Kilda. 

U-Village has created a brilliant dining atmosphere that it describes as "smart and relaxed". With quality decor, funky lighting and a rice theme that extends to painting on the walls and laser embedded into the wall seat, the ambience is gorgeous, light filled and upmarket. Offering lunch specials, banquets, and impressive dinner options, U-Village is a standout restaurant that caters for all.

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Soft grey walls and bright poppys, a wonderful ambience to our eating experience.

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Tagged in: Asian Fusion Malaysian

Posted by on in Spanish

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Pop Restaurant in Hardware Lane has undergone a rennaisance with addition of Executive Head Chef Manuel Villegas, a new team and an impressive new menu featuring Spanish and Italian cuisine.

With years of history including an art gallery, Pop Restaurant offers a stunning ambience in Hardware Lane. Come here for breakfast, lunch or dinner and Pop Restaurant (and Hardware Lane) pulsates with atmosphere. Musicians performing at night add to the ambience in the Lane.

Manager Greg Mahoney has been a restaurateur for many years and is passionate about providing a great experience for diners. With the advent of Manuel Villegas, one of Australia's best chefs, and a menu which highlights Mediterranean cusine rather than just Italian, we were keen to sample and experience the changes at Pop Restaurant.

We arrived on day one of the new Pop menu. Normally we allow restaurants to settle in where there's major changes, but the team at Pop were at the top of their game.

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Tagged in: Italian Spanish

Posted by on in Fine Dining
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The Point Albert Park Lake is proud to host an exclusive dinner Friday April 12 2013, showcasing previous winners of The Age Good Food Guide, Young Chef of the Year award, 2003 - 2013. From Justin Wise to Daniel Wilson, George Calombaris to Adam D’Sylva, what happened to these bright young stars? Over an eight-course dinner matched to wine, this gala event will take guests on a culinary journey with some of Victoria’s most talented chefs.
 
The dinner will be facilitated by The Age Epicure Editor, Janne Apelgren, who will interview each chef about the impact this award had on their culinary careers at the time and how it continues to influence them today.
 
The menu features a specially crafted dish from each chef;
 
MENU
Crispy prawn and tapioca betel leaf
Pani puri, crisp potato parcel, mung bean, chilli and aromatic water
2008 Adam D’Sylva; Tonka and Coda
 
King salmon, cucumber, nori
2011 Michael Fox
 
Meli Melo of vegetables, herbs and flowers
2010 Nicolas Poelaert; Brooks
 
Marron, caramelised tarama, kritharaki
2004 George Calombaris; The Press Club
 
Veal tongue, mustard seeds, watercress juice
2007 Dallas Cuddy; The Society Group Singapore
 
Potato gnocchi, crispy veal sweetbreads, spanner crab, merlot vinegar jus
2013 Mark Briggs; Dig A Pony
 
Yarra Valley pasture fed lamb, Otway shiitake farce,
pan seared foie gras and sauce Rouennaise
2009 Justin Wise; The Point Albert Park
 
Raspberry tart, orange and crystalised fennel
2012 Josh Murphy; The Builders Arms
 
Vietnamese tiramisu – coffee jelly, condensed milk mousse,
salted peanut cream, pandan sponge and caramelised banana
2003 Daniel Wilson; Huxtable
 
Take home treats by Cakes of our Lives
2003 Emma Mackay
 
Priced at $180 per person, this gala event is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to dine with some of the country’s most talented and influential chefs.
 
Hits: 5984

Posted by on in Cafe

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Once A Tailor is about the simplicity of Sicilian food in upmarket Hawthorn. The World Loves Melbourne was invited by John Bertuna and Tony Verga as part of a bloggers event for a sampling of the menu. The stunning ambience was married to simple fresh cuisine that focuses on breakfast and lunch. We dined in the outdoor part of the restaurant, open and charming - a superb setting for events and functions. 

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Once A Tailor is Sicilian inspired but don't think it's pasta driven. There's a great range of cuisine to please most palates and tastes. All Italian inspired restaurants need to do bread well. Once A Tailor serves up quality bread, and this Olive foccacia served with oil, is a delightful example of the Italian tradition.

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Etto is a highly impressive Italian street food restaurant in South Melbourne. This is about the simplicity of Italian street food at reasonable prices (only around $10-13). The food is healthy with no deep frying or use of oils. The pasta is fresh and home made, using imported Italian equipment. The fit out is modern oozing with Italian style. You can mix and match pasta dishes with a selection of fabulous sauces. Customisation is a strength of Etto and you get the feeling this place is all about satisfying the customer. The menu brims with favourites of Spaghetti, Tagliatelle, Pappardelle, Rigatoni, Gnocchi, Fusilli and Ravioli. 

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We sampled many of the dishes of Etto (as their guest) sitting outside on a warm Melbourne day, and were impressed with the quality of the home made pasta and the wonderful balance of the sauces. The pasta is fresh and pleasing and the sauces are light and don't overpower. This is great Italian street food. The Spicy Italian Sausage (above) features free range pork sausage and basil pesto. There was a delightful kick in the sausage and the sauce was superb. One of my favourite dishes.

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Tagged in: Italian

Posted by on in Cheap Eats

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Olympic Doughnuts is a doughnut haven and Footscray institution housed in a humble caravan. These are "old school" hot doughnuts that have transcended into the 21st Century as an honest tasty if not politically incorrect product. Loads of dough and sugar and packed with rich jam. These are the sort of doughnuts you see less often these days in preference for sleek light and sophisticated cold doughnuts. I enjoy both.

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Olympic Doughnuts takes up its prime position at Footscray Railway Station. How handy it is for students and train travellers. I would find it hard to walk past this caravan if I were catching the train (and annoy passengers with the aroma of piping hot donuts). The value is fantastic - only 80 cents for a doughnut - 1970s prices... There's a cute sign in the shop - 5 doughnuts equals $4 and so on. It's not until it gets to 10 doughnuts that you can get a small discount.

The olympic logo is interesting - hopefully vetted by the Olympic Committee. Doughnut eating could be part of the Olympic Games methinks...

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Tagged in: Footscray

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Station Hotel in Footscray is dude food heaven and a serious steak destination. This is one of the great hotels of Melbourne bringing the ambience of yesteryear with a modern twist. The outside appearance of the Station Hotel is preserved and is classic. Then you enter a charming establishment with two distinctive dining areas - the formal dining and the casual bar area. To be honest I'm impressed with the casual area - the only difference is the decor is a bit more low key and the music slightly louder. The menu is the same for both areas. I chose to dine in the casual area (with the office worker punters) - which featured impressive timber panelling and vintage timber floor.

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Station Hotel is famous for their premium steaks and hand cut chips - serious meat territory for all steak lovers in Melbourne. Or should I say it's a Black Angus haven - the predominant premium meat here. Tempting to grab some 100 day grain or grass fed Black Angus...

But as I was working nearby (actually across the road) I was able to glean some local knowledge. I'm told by locals the lunch specials are also famous. So I ventured to Station Hotel to enjoy the lunch special of Steak sandwich and Soup of the day. Wow. This is great value. The soup was a creamy mushroom - superb texture and richness. It was served also with several slices of fresh bread and a small plate of butter.

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Posted by on in Vietnamese

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Nhu Lan is another eatery that shines in Footscray in serving tasty honest fare that hits the mark. Cheap eats haven. As a bakery it has a wide range of offerings including cakes and buns but the highlight is the bahn mi rolls. The staff call out "Next?" and then someone will shout out "Pork roll!" or "Ham roll!" from the thronging crowd.

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Nhu Lan always seems to have a solid line up of three or four deep. That says it all. The menu is on the board and it has descriptions and pictures of the fare. Come here for a magnificent BBQ pork bahn mi roll for... wait for it... only $4. And this is freshly cooked BBQ pork - not just the sandwich slices that some places serve. In fact the staff got out the large knife and chopped up the large slab of succulent pork in front of me. These are some of the best bahn mi I've had in Melbourne. 

The French style baguette is given a lightness and a crispy crust, combining superbly with the Viet ingredients. The generous smear of pate and the fresh crispy cucumber and carrot etc satisfy. And the pork is perfectly cooked. I like to add chilli for extra kick...

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Albert Street Food and Wine is a serious hatted (The Age Good Food Guide) foodie destination and was the perfect venue to showcase the skills of Melbourne chef Philippa Sibley and international celebrity chef from New Zealand Annabel Langbein (known as "The Free Range Cook") as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival. 

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Albert Street Food and Wine is a spacious restaurant housed in a heritage building on Sydney Road Brunswick and has a superb ambience of finery and modern fit out. There were 100 guests at this function dialling in to the amazing story of Annabel Langbein and to experience a menu put together with stellar dishes from both Philippa and Annabel.

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Tagged in: Fine Dining

Posted by on in Cafe

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Top Paddock is already one of Melbourne's standout cafes with its spacious modern fit out and extensive imaginative menu. Meeting here in a trendy part of Richmond with my salubrious brother (Melbourne businessman and food critic extraordinaire) we commented that "these people know what they're doing". And they surely do being of the stable of Three Bags Full, APTE and Two Birds One Stone - some of the best cafes in Melbourne. Chatting with one of the owners Nathan Toleman at the restaurant, the team have pulled their experience from the other cafes and have even progressed the cafe concept.

What I love is that the team have not reproduced their earlier successes but sought to give Top Paddock its own identity. In the early days of Three Bags Full it seemed there were similarities with the menu of stalwart APTE. Which is fine. But here at Top Paddock the menu options are distinctive and even exploring new ground. Kudos.

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Top Paddock has a light and airy feel with plenty of space (and is accessible with nearby parking) and great use of timber paneling and modern fittings. Some serious coin has gone into the layout and to great effect. Top Paddock has a superb ambience for romantic escapades or catching up with friends. Check out the tiling along the wall, dark timber floor, semi industrial ceiling, cool world music (at the time) and the cute display cabinets with treats. The spacious outdoor area is also alluring on a fresh Melbourne morning.

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Tagged in: Cafe Eastern

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Celebrating the unique rivalry between Melbourne's North and South sides, on the Easter weekend for the 5th consecutive year, Bimbo Deluxe (North) and Lucky Coq (South) will showcase the best in electronic culture, visual entertainment, food, booze and sound in the Best of Both Sides Festival.

For seven glorious days (25-31 March) both venues will offer 14 different events, with free courtesy buses running in between. Canvassing a multitude of musical styles from house to hip-hop, rock to blues, garage to electro, this year's round up includes up-and-comers DJ Who, Silversix and Uone, as well as Melbourne stalwarts Ransom, Tigerfunk and Kasey Taylor.

Look out for familiar faces - Boogs, Spacey Space and Muska as well as over 50 different acts and 13 live performances including visual DJ’s who will produce a projection spectacular. How much will this plethora of hedonistic good-times cost? Not a cent... The Bimbo and Lucky philosophy has long-been ‘always free, always fun’ and they're not about to change that now.

Bimbo Deluxe - 376 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy

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Tagged in: pizza

 

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G-Star introduces the RAW Tailored Atelier, an in-store denim customization service supporting our democratic belief that everybody should be able to create their own personal denim with the best fit and unique detailing. The RAW Tailored Atelier also gives us the opportunity to share our passion for denim with the customer in store and inspire them with our excitement for high-end craftsmanship, detailing and tailoring. 

In the RAW Tailored Atelier the clean 3301 five pocket denim is up for customization, the men’s 3301 fit is straight while the women’s version is a slim fit. At the atelier you will be advised by a professional G-Star tailor about the correct width, the length of the denim will be tailored to your preference. You also get the opportunity to personally choose the detailing for your denim like different buttons, rivets and back label. By doing so you can create your personal denim look, whether it’s modern, vintage or anything in between.  Afterwards the denim will be hand-finished based on your personal preferences and send to you in an exclusive RAW Tailored Atelier canvas bag.

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Pacific Seafood BBQ House is a popular eatery in Victoria Street, the CBD and South Yarra -  and the cuisine has impressed customers for some years. When it gets down to it, some well cooked seafood and BBQ fare is just the ticket on any day. Who doesn't love flavoursome BBQ taste? 

The menu reveals a few different styles including Cantonese and Shichuan. Order a hot pot, or a whole flounder. The menu selection is amazing. This is reinforced by the many menu items wrtitten colourfully on posters on the wall (written in both English and Chinese).

For mine I was keen to eat the BBQ pork with rice, a mainstay I often order. It was a toss up between that and the BBQ duck (looking inviting in the window). Having explained to the waiter I didn't have long for lunch , the food literally arrived within a couple of minutes. It was just a matter of cutting up the pork into slices to go on the rice with accompaniments.

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Tagged in: Chinese

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Are you a lover of finery and classy hand made chocolate? When it comes to gourmet subscriptions the crew at agendaselects.com have it covered. They're teaming up with Ganache to provide a superb chocolate subscription - delivered to your door each month.

We were able to taste the Easter theme Ganache chocolate offering and it was the perfect indulgence. For a start this month's selection came in an attractive red Ganache bag to keep the product in top notch condition. This bag is something we will keep and use over and over...

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Inside the bag was a range of superb chocolate including individual hand made chocolates, Easter Egg component and a variety that was great value. This is the best chocolate in Melbourne. Why consume average standard chocolate over Easter when you can order the best!

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Tagged in: Chocolatier

Posted by on in Vietnamese

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The Pho Chu is one of the best pho eateries in Melbourne. The restaurant is modern and inviting, the staff are friendly and the pho rocks with generous portions of tasty broth, perfectly cooked meat and accompaniments. I left The Pho Chu feeling warm from the satisfying pho and the engaging service.

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How do you tell one pho from another? In my opinion you look for generous portions full of ingredients, a broth that is not too fatty, a broth that actually is full of flavour and not bland, accompaniments that are not wilting but super fresh quality, perfectly cooked pho noodles, and meat that is perfectly cooked and quality cuts. But of course the main distinguishing feature is the broth. Making a great broth takes hours. You can tell a great broth by tasting it before any seasoning is applied. The Pho Chu has that great broth that entices you and beckons you.

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Tagged in: Vietnamese