Sunday, January 11, 2015

Launches - MOJO Wines - Heartattack and Vine - Jasper Kitchen - Frankie Says

Disclosure: I was invited to the below events 

Last year was a busy year! Here’s a couple of launches and invites that I was invited to that I (still) haven’t gotten around to sharing with you all!

The email invite was elusive, colourful and down right gorgeous; a smattering of spring colours. Although I may not have heard of MOJO Winemakers before, it didn’t take me too long to respond back with an enthusiastic yes to the launch of Studio MOJO!

Studio MOJO are MOJO Winemakers new look wines, and they have partnered with local Australian artists, Ghost Patrol, Kirra Jamison, Barbara Kitallides and Luci Everett, to design art to go on the wine labels. 

Considering that many people I know (myself included) will often buy wine by looking at the label, this is quite a clever move, and a great way to support the local art community as well!

When I arrived at Donkey Wheel House with my friend Jason, they had blown up large versions of the artwork and backlit them, creating a stunning art gallery really. I was particularly smitten with Barbara Kitallides passionate abstract piece for the Cabernet Sauvignon. 

More than just being beautiful though, the wine is dangerously easy to drink; I brought a bottle of the Cabernet Sauvignon to a barbecue the other day and was surprised I got through almost all of it without falling asleep, or getting a headache (being Asian is no fun, believe me!).

Highlights also included their 2014 Sauvignon Blanc, which we were the first to try; light fresh and fruity with passionfruit and guava coming through. And let’s not forget that Moscato of theirs, light, sweet and easy with dessert…too easy. 

Food that night was catered for by the Tommy Collins Group, with Michael Fox at the helm as head chef, who prepared some of the best catered food I had all year. The smoked chicken breast sandwich was a universal favourite, with smoked chicken breast that’s actually been pureed, dehydrated and made into a crisp, with more chicken sandwiched in-between. Honestly. An all protein chicken sandwich? Fitness buffs, take note!

One of my other favourites that evening was the dessert, with raspberry and almond, a bit of sponge, a bit of sorbet and other sweet yummy textural things that had me reaching for another cup….

3052/329 Lygon Street
Carlton VIC 3053

Heartattack and Vine on Urbanspoon

Honestly, I didn’t stay very long at the launch of Heartattack and Vine, it was a little bit too many people, too small a space and a very hungry boyfriend to deal with (one of those incidents where ‘hangry’ actually happened).

However, from the little bit I had to nibble on, it all tasted very promising, fresh and full of flavour. The fried olives I could have easily eaten a bowl of, and although we questioned how practical communal meatballs were in such a busy environment, they were very well received as well. And those mozzarella nibbles? Mhmm.

I loved the fit out as well, it was cosy, and the window frames suspended from the ceiling were certainly an interesting touch.

Although it’s only a small addition, Heartattack and Vine is exactly what Lygon streets need, an easy to approach all day eatery, with quality nibbles and a good drop behind the bar as well. Looking forward to popping by soon! 

Jasper Hotel
489 Elizabeth Street
Melbourne 3000

Jasper Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Hotel restaurant’s. They’re not usually where a foodie might plan to go, but with Melbourne’s food scene being so saturated and in front of the curve, I have to say, I’m actually pretty impressed with some of the offerings Melbourne hotels have. 

My family and I have always loved Allegro at the Westin for it’s consistency and quality and the new Sheraton has the Little Collins Street Kitchen which has also been another pleasant surprise, along with East, which has been developed by Hu Tong.

Jasper Hotel can also add itself to the list, with their new refurbishment and launch of Jasper Kitchen, with head chef Bruno Lima overlooking the menu for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Chef Lima has got the rock n’ roll looks, but none of the attitude, with a big beaming smile as he introduced himself, and explained the Brazilian influence on the food, which comes from his own background. 

This is most present in the tapas, which we greedily devour, from the calamari con chilli, with apple saffron allow to the Seta al Ajillo, mushrooms cooked in garlic, olive oil and chilli. He’s not afraid to relinquish big and bold flavours in the food, and even in small bites, there’s nice big hits of spice and definitely garlic. Happy places. 

The Albondigas de Carne are also incredibly popular, wagyu meat balls braised in tomato salsa, which are tender, with the lovely rich flavour of the wagyu coming through and balanced out by the acidity in the salsa. 

The mains have more of a fusion approach to them, with plenty of Asian ingredients coming into the mix such as tempura soft shell crabs, and shiitake mushrooms in the risotto. Well, with the exception of the red meat, which is cooked perfectly. 

Dessert goes back to being quite classic, with excellent vanilla-y creme brûlées, and decadent shiny chocolate cakes, which are well received around the table. 

My only thought is that perhaps the food theme at Jasper Kitchen is a bit disjointed, but as a hotel restaurant you do have quite a large demographic to cater for, so there’s definitely something for everyone here!

Also got a little tour of the hotel, and loved this communal courtyard on the first floor, perfect for wedding groups! 

15 Acacia Place
Richmond 3067

Frankie Says on Urbanspoon

I’m super excited for Frankie Says to open. To be located out the back of a residential apartment opposite the road from IKEA, it was a surprisingly gorgeous spot, especially on the cool and breezy evening we were getting, right next to the river, surrounded by greenery, in a lovely paved courtyard area. 

Throw in some live easy listening music and delicious nibbles, and I think we’re all good hey?

Frankie Says is Megan Phillis and James Meehan newest project, they also brought us Hoy Pinoy, The Meatball Company and the Melt Shop, set to open very soon in Mid January, 

The food they had for us to pick at was exactly the kind of food I want to eat all day everyday. Beautiful cured meats, cheeses aplenty; the mozzarella was to die for, spelt (!) bread and baked goods and pickled vegetables everywhere. It was a stunning and delicious spread; I’m petty sure I went back for thirds!

Let’s not forget the desserts, with meringue mushrooms and chocolate and matcha soil, decadent caramel goodies, sticky homemade marshmallows and rich cholately cake. Might have gone for fourths. 

We also got to sample wines from their ‘Frankie Says’ range, with a the Riesling being a favourite of mine. 

I’m particularly looking forward to breakfast at Frankie Says, as it’s such a lovely setting and would be such a soothing way to start the day. Better keep an eye on them…!

1 comment:

  1. What a stunning selection of places, the food looks lovely at all of them. Very keen to see what the Melt Shop has in store too ...