Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Hophaus + La Tavola Della Famiglia + Northern Light + Artusi

Disclosure: I was invited to the below establishments as a guest of a launch or to dine

West End, Mid-level
Southgate Ave

Hophaus on Urbanspoon

Oh I miss Germany. Sorely. So being at Hophaus made me ever so happy, with the bevy of German and European beers on tap (almost exclusively I believe) and apple schnapps on the door at the launch. 

And really, is there much better than a dark beer? Whilst it may not be quite as perfect as the ones in Germany, it will certainly ease my craving for now!

I was amazed at the size of the place, comfortably filled with a swell of people, swigging from jugs of Bitburger bigger than one's head!

But beer is not the only thing to shine at Hophaus, the food was surprisingly good. Caryn and I found ourselves a spot near the kitchen and waited like vultures for the fried chicken, or the moreish sliders to come out and feast on. 

Not to mention, there's also a rotisserie in the kitchen, tempting customers peering in. I can certainly vouch for the angus beef brisket, tender and beautifully seasoned, just melting in the mouth with a touch of char. Mmhmm!

CECCONI'S FLINDERS LANE | La Tavola Della Famiglia
61 Flinders Lane

Cecconi's Flinders Lane Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Although launches are usually evening dominated affairs, it was very refreshing (even more so with the nippy winter air), to have a breakfast launch for Cecconi's new cookbook, La Tavola Della Famiglia, written by Olimpia Bortolotto. Yes, I've been doing a tiny bit of work for them in some other areas, but I was actually invited by the PR for this event too!

We were treated to a bevy of fun and adorable breakfast nibbles. Maria's beautiful quince and cinnamon muffins were made mini-sized, but were still lovely, light and fluffy. Truffled scrambled eggs served in cones were a luxe way to start the morning and small cups of museli were clean and wholesome. Tea and coffee were aplenty (naturally) as Olimpia shared her pride and joy with us.

I was gifted a copy of the book and it proved itself to be very handy when my parents were away for a month, often turning to it not just for it's beautiful pictures, but wholesome and hearty recipes. Perfect for feeding a brother and boyfriend unit. But more than a cookbook, it's also a memoir with the story of the family, and how Cecconi's came to be, from the days in Crown Casino to moving to Flinders Lane. 

102 Smith Street

Northern Light on Urbanspoon

Happy hour is great, who doesn't love discounted booze? However, due to my natural body composition (ie. being Asian), happy hour's that involve food are much more my thing. 

So when Northern Light invited me down to check out their happy hour nibbles, I was only more than happy to oblige, having absolutely loved my first visit there (and more recent visits too). 

From Thursday to Saturday, Northern Light dishes up cheery little snacks, with only one item over $5, alongside $5 glasses of Sapporo and red or white wine. Not a bad deal if you ask me!

Freshly shucked oysters with yuzu sake are cool, sweet and go down a treat. The smoked eel and sushi rice croquette is crunchily addictive with the lovely smokiness peeping through. 

The BBQ chicken wings surprise the palate with a nice kick of chilli and the surprising favourite of charred peppers with togarashi and soured cream are sweet, smokey and generously flavoured. A must have if you ask me!

Because we enjoy ourselves so much, Rob, Glenn and I stick around and pay for a couple of extra dishes on the menu, the green rice with comte cheese, mushrooms and truffle (hallelujah) absolutely slaying us with it's delectable richness. Creamy rice, rich melted cheese and truffles…could you ask for much more?

Upper Level
3 Southgate Avenue

Artusi on Urbanspoon

Sometimes I go to launches, just expecting to be there for an hour, sip on a glass of wine and then run off without too much tummy space filled up.

And then sometimes I'm totally surprised because the launch turns out to be one huge party that ends up being a whole lot more fun than I expected, and my one glass of wine turns into 6…

The Artusi launch was that party, the new Italian restaurant at the Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, the brainchild of Luis Pampliega and Tamara Volkoff, who also own Tutto Bene (my friend Caryn swears they have the best risotto in town). 

It was a whirlwind of a night, with wine flowing freely and the chefs working hard in the open kitchen to cater for all the merrymakers. Sumptuous prosciutto, hot and fresh fried eggplant bites and nibbles of unctuous pork belly on slaw. Although the canapes were small, they were beautifully executed and making great promises of the food to be served in the full dining experience. 

Along with a jolly MC who sung his way through the crowd, having a little boogie with me as he passed on through and a pasta demonstration, an opera singer also popped in for a while, to wow the crowd with her vocal prowess. Artusi was bringing in the Italian, and not in a small way. 

Well except with the desserts, with some of the tiniest (but very delicious) tiramisu's I've ever seen and generously sugared doughnuts served with some chocolatey goodness that I could have been licking out of the bowl (but there were people around and that's just not polite…or is it…?)

I was lucky enough to win the door prize of a $250 dining voucher, so looking forward to returning and providing  a full report soon!

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