HOT: Burn City Smokers, 31A Vernon St, South Kingsville

burn city smokers

American barbecue specialists Burn City Smokers have been using the prep kitchen for their successful catering business in South Kingsville for over a year. But it’s only recently that they’ve launched an eat-in and take away venue at the front – Burn City Test Kitchen.

To begin with they’re starting slow at the Burn City Test Kitchen. The menu and hours are flexible depending on feedback (particularly from locals), what produce is available and the needs of their busy catering arm.

At the moment you can try out a limited menu of small bites, burgers, larger plates and sides, along with drinks, on Friday nights, Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday lunch till late afternoon.

burn city smokers

The dining room is small and sparsely furnished though still cosy with lots of timber touches.  The decor is rustic and retro, with a lot of space for hot sauce!

burn city smokers

burn city smokers

We try the pig head’s terrine ($10), full of the same porky goodness you’ll also find in the smoked pulled pork burger ($16) with apple sauce, mustard and crispy sweet potato fries.

burn city smokers

The bangers and mash is a huge plate of comfort food perfect for wintery climes.  Think thick smoked beef sausages, onion gravy plus a mash spiked with seeded mustard.

burn city smokers

The highlight is the beef short rib. For only $25 you get a huge hunk of 12 hour slow cooked smoked meat, falling gently off the bone, and a pile of deliciously charred honey carrots. It’s easily a meal for two people, especially if you pair it with some fries or broccoli salad with chilli and almonds ($7 each).

There’s only one dessert at the moment – a waffle. We were too full from our meat-a-thon to try it but will definitely return for it on our next visit to Burn City Test Kitchen.


Burn City Smokers, 31A Vernon St, South Kingsville

Fri:    5-10pm
Sat:   12-10pm
Sun:   12-6pm
Mon-Thurs: Closed

Hours may vary, best to call ahead/email to check

Steve 0438 372 461 / Raphael 0402 159 484

Reservations: info@burncitysmokers.com.au

HOT: Van Gogh and the Seasons, National Gallery of Victoria, 180 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne

van gogh ngv

Van Gogh and the Seasons is the largest Vincent van Gogh exhibition ever held in Australia. It is exclusive to Melbourne as part of the popular annual art series  ‘Melbourne Winter Masterpieces’.

van gogh ngv

The exhibition is curated by Sjraar van Heugten, renowned Van Gogh expert and former Head of Collections at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam. It’s the first time an exhibition of Van Gogh’s works has explored the artists’ connection to the seasons.

van gogh ngv

To get a feel for what you’re about inside Van Gogh and the Seasons watch the 9 minute video installation narrated by David Stratton and David Wenham. The film was commissioned by the NGV and includes footage shot in the Netherlands and France interspersed with Australian locations to capture scenes of all the seasons.

van gogh ngv

The rest of the galleries are filled with almost 50 Van Gogh masterpieces arranged into Autumn (probably the artist’s favourite season), Winter, Spring and Summer.

van gogh ngv

The colours and paintings start off quite muted at first and the highlight works in my view are within Spring and Summer.

van gogh ngv

van gogh ngv

There Van Gogh’s famous use of colour and vibrant brush strokes are much more evident.

My favourite work is ‘The garden of the asylum at Saint-Remy’. If you look at the painting side on you can actually see the shimmering 3D effect created by the thick, vigorous application of paint.

van gogh ngv

One of the most prized and well-known works is ‘A wheatfield, with cypresses’, a coup from the National Gallery in London as it rarely leaves that gallery.

van gogh ngv

At the exhibition gift shop don’t miss the display of stunning limited edition shoes created by Wittner. The four shoes in ‘The Art of Style‘ collection are inspired by Van Gogh and the Seasons and will be available to purchase at selected stores (Melbourne Central, Block Arcade, Chadstone, Collins Street) and online from Monday 1 May.

van gogh ngv

van gogh ngv

There are 124-136 pairs of each design and 20 maximum of the most popular sizes eg 38.  To ensure you get your hands on a pair pre-order online now.

van gogh ngv

NGV has also produced a children’s book to accompany the exhibition ($19.95) and I LOVE these Vincent Van Toe socks ($21.95)!

van gogh ngv

van gogh ngv

Van Gogh and the Seasons is also accompanied by a scholarly catalogue, an extensive program of talks, tours and events and NGV Friday Nights, featuring live music, food and performances.


Van Gogh and the Seasons, NGV International, 180 St Kilda Road, Melbourne

28 April – Wed 12 July 2017

Open daily 9am-5pm weekdays, 8am-5pm weekends (note gallery normally opens 10am)

Mon 10 July – Wed 12 July open 8am until 11pm.

Adults $28, Concession $24.50, Child 5-15 years $10

HOT: Hawthorn Common, Level 1, 302 Burwood Road, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common

Welcome to the Closed Loop. Hawthorn Common is a cafe which is all about living sustainably so everything is made from scratch on site and any food waste is processed to compost.

Hawthorn Common

The spacious dining area, particularly the umbrella-shaded deck, is the perfect place to while away a sunny day. 

Hawthorn Common

The menu is focused on local and seasonal ingredients. I try the spanner crab omelette ($20) a fluffy eggy plate studded with chunks of crab. It’s adorned by snow peas and wild, bitter sprouts picked straight from the garden which are a bit tough and weedy for my liking. I suggest to the waiter that maybe a quick blanch would make them more palatable?

Hawthorn Common

As a healthy indulgence I try the pavlova pancakes ($16). The two pancakes are wholemeal and thus denser than an American-style hotcake. It comes with a circle of tangy passionfruit curd, fresh fruit and shards of delicate meringue. It’s a gorgeous dish, both to look at and to eat.

Hawthorn Common

At Hawthorn Common they make their own bread and roast their own coffee on site so you’re able to take them home.

Hawthorn Common‘s health conscious ethos and the stylish and relaxed environment make it a great advertisement for sustainable living. 


Hawthorn Common, Level 1, 302 Burwood Road, Hawthorn (03) 98192200

Monday — Friday 7am — 4pm

Saturday — Sunday 8am — 4pm

Hawthorn Common Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Rd, Sunshine West

Sunshine Social Glengala Rd Sunshine West

Sunshine Social repurposes a former service station into a barbecue restaurant and bar inspired by Melbourne’s classic charcoal chicken shops.

Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Road Sunshine West

During balmy weather, the beer garden is a great place to hang out. There are picnic tables bedecked with jaunty yellow umbrellas and sheltered under the eaves where the petrol bowsers used to be. 

Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Road Sunshine West

For kids there’s a cubby house filled with books and plus an old-fashioned tricycle. 

Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Road Sunshine West

sunshine social glengala rd sunshine west

The main restaurant is airy and spacious, with a big open kitchen cooking rotisserie meats and seafood over hot charcoal then barbecuing to order.

The menu is the same whether you’re eating in or grabbing takeaway. The highlight is the chicken, with a choice of half a chicken with two sides ($28.50) or a whole chicken with three sides ($38.50).

Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Road Sunshine West

A whole chicken feeds 2 adults and 3 children easily. For sides we choose the charred corn on the cob, addictive crunchy thick cut chips in ‘Sunshine’ seasoning and a light and crisp slaw that is thankfully not smothered in mayo.

The meat is juicy and tender and there’s a smoky char to the skin rubbed in a marinade of onion, garlic, paprika, cumin and oregano. I reckon they should bottle the mixture and sell it!

Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Road Sunshine West

We finish with an ice cream sanga ($7.50) – two balls of vanilla bean ice cream between McVities Digestive biscuits. Lo-fi but satisfying!

Sunshine Social’s speciality is definitely protein from the grill, so if you’re vegetarian stick to the salads. A salad plate for three salads is a very reasonable $15. There are also burgers and small snacks to share, perfect with drinks. 

Note that the bar is well-stocked, particularly with local tipples, but its licence only applies to the restaurant inside.

Sunshine Social is a great addition to Melbourne’s west, with its no-frills but high-quality menu presented in a relaxed, cheerful environment with friendly service. 


Sunshine Social, 64 Glengala Road Sunshine West 3020 (03) 9312 0223

7 Days 11am-11pm

HOT: MсGаіn’ѕ Nurѕеrу, Cafe and Fооd Stоrе, 1 Sіmmоnѕ Cоurt, Anglеѕеа

mcgains angelsea

MсGаіn’ѕ Nurѕеrу, Fооd Stоrе аnd Cаfé іѕ a hіddеn jеwеl lосаtеd іn a соlоurful соnѕеrvаtоrу ѕеttіng in Angelsea. It’s one of my favourite places to eat out on the Surf Coast and reminds me of the magical setting of Michelin starred Petersham Nurseries in the UK.

mcgains angelsea

A visitor’s first encounter at McGains is the gorgeous food store.

mcgains angelsea

mcgains angelsea

It’s styled like something out of Home & Garden, overflowing with baskets of local produce piled artfully on rustic wooden shelves.

mcgains angelsea

mcgains angelsea

It’s enough to make a foodie salivate….but make sure you proceed to the cafe.

mcgains angelsea

The cafe is sprawled out over several areas, mostly glassed indoors with some protected outdoor areas. You’re surrounded by verdant greenery and the seasonal menu is sourced from MсGаіn’ѕ fооd ѕtоrе аnd nurѕеrу vеgеtаblе gаrdеn.

mcgains angelsea

The menu has many cafe standards – ѕоuр, ѕаlаdѕ, ѕwееt аnd ѕаvоurу раѕtrіеѕ tо сurrіеѕ and саkеѕ.

mcgains angelsea

The difference is that much of the produce is organic so everything tastes fresh and full of flavour. It’s also beautifully presented on mismatched china plates. Coffee is by Geelong’s  Cartel Coffee Roasters made with Schulz’s organic milk.

mcgains angelsea

MсGаіn’ѕ Nurѕеrу, Fооd Stоrе аnd Cаfé is a wonderful place to be inspired for your garden and kitchen, a single stop where you can source plants, gardening advice, ingredients, fantastic coffee and delicious meals.


MсGаіn’ѕ Nurѕеrу, Fооd Stоrе аnd Cаfé, 1 Sіmmоnѕ Cоurt, Anglеѕеа, Vісtоrіа 3230 +61 (03) 5263 3841

Cafe

Mоn-Frі: 8:30аm-4:00рm

Sаt-Sun: 8:30аm-4:00рm

Nurѕеrу аnd Fооd Stоrе:

8.30аm – 5.00рm еvеrу dау

McGain's Nursery and Organic Food Store Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

HOT: LuxBite Pop Up, Level 3 Highpoint Shopping Centre, 120-200 Rosamond Rd, Maribyrnong

luxbite highpoint

LuxBite is one of my favourite artisan patisseries and bakeries in Melbourne – so I’m VERY excited that they’ve made the journey west to Highpoint Shopping Centre.

From Wednesday 12 April until Sunday 4 June (at this stage) they have a pop up stall on Level 3 of Highpoint, near Toys R Us and the atrium area. No longer do I have to trek to South Yarra or the CBD for my sweet treats.

At the drool-worthy cake cabinet you’ll find their selection of limited edition handmade Easter treats.

luxbite highpoint

luxbite highpoint

luxbite highpoint

Look at this lineup of cute cakes! Try the Egg-stremely Excellent Egg, Golden Easter Egg, Butts Bunny and Chick Me Out!

luxbite highpoint

You’ll also find their ‘Lolly Bag Cake’, consisting of layers of nostalgic childhood sweets and made famous on Masterchef. It starts with a banana lolly jaconde, freckles crunch, mandarin jaffa ganache, spearmint leaf buttercream, another layer of ganache flavoured with musk sticks and topped with a redskins glaze.

luxbite highpoint

luxbite highpoint

My kids adore the products from their collaboration with Hello Kitty whereas I am a raving fan of their recently released selection of viennoiserie. Their croissants and pastries are so buttery and flaky with a distinct crackle when you break them open.
luxbite highpoint

Make sure you leave room for their pandan canele too!

luxbite highpoint

Finally, LuxBite are famous for their macarons, which are always consistently excellent in texture. Their rainbow cabinet of interesting flavour combinations exemplifies their passion in combining French technique with Asian ingredients. They also have an Easter special – a chocolate freckle macaron in the shape of a hot cross bun.

luxbite

The LuxBite pop up is only open for a limited time and they regularly sell out of items – so get in quick! Remember their motto ‘Life is uncertain. Eat dessert first.’


LuxBite Pop Up, Level 3 Highpoint Shopping Centre, 120-200 Rosamond Rd, Maribyrnong

Mon-Wed 9am-5:30pm

Thu-Fri 9am-9pm

Sat 9-6pm

Sun 10-5pm

Closed Good Friday

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