Disclosure: I was invited to the below launches either by the restaurant or by a PR company
This year has proven to me just how chaotic and crazy Melbourne's dining scene is. I mean, it's actually great, as it's thriving and pumping and there's something new to see almost everyday, but it's also exhausting trying to keep up with it at the same time (and let me tell you, my waistline is starting to suffer!)
Here's a quick round up of some of the launches I've been to in the last couple of months…
234 Johnston Street
Johnston Street seems to be getting a little more love these days, with new windowed shopfronts showing off shiny new hospitality fit outs. It's quite exciting. La Condesa is new to the strip, serving up Mexican goodness.
I had been greedily eyeing off the menu online, which was small, concise and pretty straight forward and jumped at a chance to check it out.
Tequila cocktail in hand, I monopolised multiple baskets of homemade tortilla chips, with chick and creamy guacamole.
Also loved their mini tacos, which were just for this event, but could be done as they make the soft shell tortilla's themselves, and it certainly showed. The mushroom filling here was quite moreish and I look forward to finding some time to try a full meal in the future.
Billy Law knows how to throw a good party. Boxes of pork crackling, trays of glazed bacon and sweet pork ribs that just fall apart in your hands.
Held at Ba'get, who offset all the testosterone driven food with light banh mi's and bun's, Billy Law gave a stunning preview of the food that his book can create.
It's honestly wonderful to see a blogger do so well, I remember attending one of his early photography workshops, before his rise to fame on Masterchef and it's great to see him go from strength to strength.
Now just need to find a man who'd like to cook those ribs for me…
265 Little Lonsdale Street
I used to love freshly juiced juices, but after seeing all the waste that they left, I gravitated towards smoothies, especially green ones, stuffing them full with kale and spinach.
Five Plus takes what I do at home, and takes it to a whole different level with their delicious range of smoothies made entirely of fruit and vegetables, a spot of coconut water and almond milk.
Along with the ultra healthy smoothies, packed full with avocados, parsley and lemon juice, amongst other things, there are also some great sweeter options (but no less good for you I'm sure) for those just dipping their toes into the world of green smoothies.
The peanut butter cup is a favourite, with peanut butter that's blended in house, dates, cinnamon, almond milk and other delicious goodies. Aromatic, nutty and creamy. All the good things you could want for!
When I heard Jacques Reymond had joined forces with a service that delivers frozen food to people, via online order, I was pretty surprised. I mean who could have seen that as a career move for him?
I'm still working to be entirely convinced of it, but looking at the way we are now, it's not a hard stretch to imagine not too far in the future for lots of families to be ordering full meals online, in the comfort of their pi's, especially if they're reasonably priced.
At the launch, it was fascinating to go through and try the different products available, showcasing quite a variety, from pastas, to pizzas, to meats, to desserts.
Although the pastas, risottos and cheese souffle didn't excite us, and left us thinking there's still a bit of a gap for frozen food to work on, a group of us were loving the Mediterranean rice, the pizzas and the little slivers of lamb we were getting, with beans and creamy cauliflower. It was quite impressive.
But what really shone, was the desserts, and being usually less than $10 an item (some of the cakes come in serves of two), they're actually amazing value. The chocolately desserts were rich and sumptuous, the gelato was lovely and creamy and on a whole, we were pretty impressed.
I'm not sure I'm wholly convinced of the concept yet, but I did very much like those chocolate cakes…
22 Goldsborough Lane
To fully disclose here, Tadka Boom! was actually a client of my office, BrandWorks, who designed the branding, and consulted with the set up of the store as well. So when they finally held their official launch, I knew I had to be there to support them.
Besides that, I had genuinely come to enjoy the food through the tastings I had attended (perks of the job hey?)
Tadka Boom! takes Indian food and gives it a fresh twist on it's head, keeping the flavour but making the food a bit lighter and brighter…in fact, one might say it's quite a bit healthier too!
We didn't see a single curry all night! Instead we had lentil nuggets, a nice little protein nibble (or two, or three, or four), sliders with plenty of greens, samosa salads and wholemeal roti wraps.
Oh, and don't forget their ice-creams, I'm crazy about their 'Spice Cream', which is a Kerala spice ice-cream. Dee-licious.
115/117 Collins Street
Whilst pairing food and wine has always been a no brainer, cocktails have slowly been making their way out of dark and broody bars, and coming in as very, very suitable food companions.
And just in time with the warmer weather that's creeping in, Brooks bar master Shae Silvestro shook and stirred some of his new spring cocktail creations for us tot try.
Upon descending in to Brooks, we're greeting with a spritzy and classic French 75, a spot of gin, lemon juice and sugar topped with Presecco. Dangerously easy to drink and a great aperitif.
The Sloe Coach, as it might imply with more gin, is a creation of Shae's, designed to match with a particular dish on Nic Poleart's new menu (although I've promptly forgotten which), with Byrrh, slow gin, pastis, lime juice and sugar syrup. There's a rich herbaceous flavour to this cocktail, which we all quickly fall in love with and is almost creamy on the lips as well.
To wrap up, an amaretto sour, complete with an egg white to really turn this into dessert. Just yum.