The first weekend of Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Saturday 28 February – Sunday 15 March) hosted loads of special events along the Yarra as part of ‘Open Kitchen’, including ‘A Coastal Culinary Trail’ at the just-opened Arbory Eatery and Bar.
I was invited to visit the event and as I’ve been watching the building progress of this restaurant on Instagram I was excited to visit the week-old eatery.
Arbory has been built on part of the disused Sandridge railway line which runs along the edge of Flinders Street station. As a result, it’s a 120m long narrow wooden deck draped with gum trees which affords magnificent views of the Yarra, vibrant Southbank and the pedestrian bridges spanning the water.
The sound-scape is quintessentially Melbourne too, with the tooting of Metro trains, the splash of the water and cyclist’s bells dinging now and again.
A Coastal Culinary Trail was a one-off event showcasing Australian seafood. For $15 you could choose one of the four seafood dishes (which are not normally on Arbory’s menu) and a glass of DOC wine.
Out of the four dishes my favourite were the Pacific oysters, au naturale. Clean, fresh and slightly briny, they were perfect with a glass of pinot grigio. The barbecued calamari was surprisingly tender and made great snack food paired with the chunks of chorizo. Sadly the lobster roll failed to please, with a too-dry brioche bun and a mayonnaise-heavy filling with sparse pieces of lobster.
I’m keen to try their standard menu, which has been described as European-style snacks and no-fail comfort food such as burgers and sundaes. I predict Arbory will be one of my favourite places to enjoy Autumn’s mild weather and visitors will enjoy the novelty of imbibing at Melbourne’s longest bar. They are promoting the hashtag #stayawhile and the relaxed atmosphere, friendly service and stunning views certainly make it the perfect hangout.
The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival (Saturday 28 February – Sunday 15 March) is kind of like my idealised version of Christmas (lots of eating without the present traumas) which makes the Artisan Bakery & Bar the ultimate Christmas Village, a place to celebrate some festival cheer.
Every day until Sunday 15 March, from 7:30am to late, head down to Queensbridge Square on Southbank to sample delicious bread-based wares from Peter Rowland as well as a rotating calendar of local and international bakers producing their most famous baked goods, including Éric Kayser (Maison Kayser, Paris) and Justin Gellatly (co-founder of London’s Bread Ahead).
I ‘accidentally’ inhaled one of Justin Gellatly ‘s famous doughnuts for breakfast and oh my god…I have to say it was one of the best doughnuts I’ve ever had. Spongy, fluffy and dripping with salted caramel cream with a shard of crumbling honeycomb on top.
Apparently guest baker’s products have been selling out every day by 10am so I’ve diarised Éric Kayser‘s visit (Tuesday 10 March and Wednesday 11 March) in the hope that he’ll turn out some of his famous eclairs.
We started off with little pots of Irrewarra Sourdough’s granola, some fluffy and tart Victorian yoghurt and homemade fresh fruit compote.
Then the carb-loading began, with wooden boards containing a selection of Irrewarra Sourdough and Woodfrog Bakery’s bread, Mount Zero olives, Milawa cheese, Mytleford butter and picles and condiments by Peter Rowland ($20 each).
Then a selection of tartines ($14) – basically fancy open-toasted. Nothing better than melted cheese on bread! Our selection included double smoked leg ham, heirloom tomatoes, pickled red onions and chutney…
…sauteed mushrooms and onion jam…
….pulled beef, corn relish and pickled gherkins.
To end was Tivoli Road Bakery’s out of this world fruit loaf – a light fruit-studded bread almost akin to Christmas cake – plus a selection of Milawa cheeses plus Tivoli Road’s famous salted caramel and lemon curd doughnuts.
The Artisan Bakery & Bar is not just a place to eat and imbibe – there are workshop classes running onsite too, including free Little Foodies baking classes for children. Spaces for adult and kids classes are limited and bookings essential.
The Red Dress is an award-winning dance drama by the China Ningbo Performance & Arts Group tells the touching love story of a young man and a young woman from two rich families in an ancient town in southern China. Sweethearts since they were young, they fall in love and then move apart. The promise of marriage makes the beautiful bride-to-be wait for years with her dream of a red wedding dress.
The Red Dress, Palais Theatre, Lower Esplanade, St Kilda
Tuesday 10 and Wednesday 11 March 7pm
Ticketmaster www.ticketmaster.com.au or 136 100
Tickets from $24.00 to $70.00
Giveaway! Thanks to The Red Dress I have 2 x double passes valued at $140 to give away for the performance on Tuesday 10 March at 7pm.
To win, just follow the instructions. Competition closes midnight Wednesday 4 March. and the winners will be selected randomly. Good luck!
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