HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 7 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

Hotel Lincoln (sometimes known as The Lincoln) in Carlton is one of the oldest pubs in Melbourne. Its most recent incarnation has turned it into a destination gastropub since new owners took it over late 2014.

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 1 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, CarltonThe outside of the hotel still looks much the same ie slightly seedy and dim but a light refurbishment has turned the Art Deco front bar into a gleaming place for a drink and a chat, while the remainder of the space invites a proper sit down meal.

And the food by chef Lachlan Cameron (ex MoVida Aqui, Supernormal) is attention-grabbing and stunning. It’s not pub grub for uni students – this is fine dining done at affordable pub prices. There’s not a parma or burger to be seen.

The menu spans small plates (7 oz) to medium sharing dishes (schooner) to large meals (pint). Given I wanted to try EVERYTHING I left it in the chef’s hands – $45 for 5 courses of the chef’s choice (they can cater for dietary requirements). They also do a more extensive version of 8 courses for $60 but trust me, you will be very full after 5 courses.

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 2 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

First course was from the ‘7 oz’ section – tersely described as ‘spanner crab, corn crackers’. It was a mixture of fresh creamy crab scooped into a delicate and aerated corn shell. Sublime.

Then onto a generous charcuterie platter of local and imported cured meats, including a melt-in-the-mouth jamon serrano, lap cheong-like peasant sausage with a hint of sherry and chilli, a ventricina and squid ink sausage which didn’t have any seafood flavour for me. All accompanied by some hunks of crusty bread and whipped butter.

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 3 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

The vegetable dish was a lightly scorched cauliflower with crisp and salted dehydrated cauli leaves – a most unusual way to present a part of the vegetable I normally discard.  The underlying sauce was made of parsley with chunks of roasted almonds.

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 4 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

From the main meals I received the only fish dish – salmon, chorizo, clams and stormy lager sauce. Lest you start worrying at this point about your pants spitting, the cut of salmon is about half size. Crispy-skinned and juicy it pairs well with the fattiness of the sausage.

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 5 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

The main course comes with a pot of triple cooked chips, perfect in their fluffy/crisp ratio and a nest of cos hearts with house made curd. I’m not sure whether I receive one or two people’s portion of the sides but they were enormous and could not be finished, sad to say.

Hotel Lincoln 91 Cardigan St Carlton 6 HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

Because I needed to leave room for a dessert – a deconstructed lemon meringue pie. Flaked shortcrust pastry, dabs of lemon curd, cubes of soft meringue and freeze-dried raspberries, all artfully arranged on an ice-chilled plate.

As befits a good local the service was friendly and accommodating. I had stupidly only parked in a 1 hour parking spot so had to rush through my meal – and everyone was fine with that. They even let me take home a doggy bag of the chips!

While I didn’t delve into the drinks list a quick scan showed attention to craft beer and inexpensive wine.

Hotel Lincoln has got to be one of the best gastropubs in Melbourne and I’m floored by how reasonably priced it is. Get there quickly before it becomes over-popular and you can’t just walk in.

Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

Sundays to Thursdays – Noon to 11pm

Fridays & Saturdays – Noon to Midnight

7 Days Lunch & Dinner

Kitchen closes at 10pm

All Day Dining on Weekends

minilink HOT: Hotel Lincoln, 91 Cardigan St, Carlton

HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne 2 HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

I’ll let you in on a secret I discovered on a Foodi tour – you can get excellent $5 gourmet hotdogs at Ferdydurke! I don’t think even the fast food chains can beat that price, and the hotdogs at Ferdydurke are certainly a whole lot better. 

Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

Ferdydurke is a upstairs bar in Chinatown run by the same people as iconic Melbourne container bar Section 8. They are actually neighbours on grungy Tattersalls Lane and overlook a breathtaking street art mural by Adnate, except that to reach Ferdydurke you need eagle eyes to spot the tiny sign and you then you walk up a set of narrow winding stairs.

 Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne 3 HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

The top of the stairs lands you in a surprisingly spacious, high-ceilinged space overlooking Section 8 and Lonsdale Street. The effect is a bit reverse Alice in Wonderland and certainly the decor is kooky, from gothic lamps to axes by the fireplace. 

Ferdydurke HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

Ferdydurke’s focus is on cocktails, beers, wines, hotdogs and live local electronic music producers and djs. You can slake your thirst from 12pm to 1am every day and feed your stomach from 12pm to 9pm.Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne 4 HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

The frankfurters are Polish Parowka and made by Rob the ‘Sausage King’. The sausages are cooked in craft beer and saukerkraut broth then popped into glossy brioche buns from Grant’s Crust, a wholesale bakery business in Rowville.

 Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne 5 HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

The simplest Frank and bread is only $3 and comes with tomato sauce, mustard, HP sauce or daily hot sauce special. My advice is to up the stakes to the $5 hotdogs and fill your dogs with some of the house-made chillifire beans (which aren’t too spicy actually), cider onions and/or the Pico de Gallo salsa made with tequila, tomatoes, onion, coriander and chilli. 

Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne 1 HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

They even cater for vegans with vegan sausages. Or if sausages aren’t your thing they offer a special ‘Big Lebowski’ burger with pulled pork for $9, nachos for $6 or other bar snacks like house made jerky and pork crackling for $4.

Ferdydurke 31 Tattersalls Lane Melbourne 6 HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

The service is friendly, the atmosphere is cool yet cosy and it’s not so crowded, especially in the daytime, that you feel you can’t move or breathe. Ferdydurke is a winner – a well-stocked bar, cheap satisfying food and a funky little hideaway in the centre of Melbourne.

Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne(03) 9639 3750

Every day 12pm – 1am, Kitchen 12pm – 9pm

minilink HOT: Ferdydurke, 31 Tattersalls Lane, Melbourne

 

HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 6 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

Queen Victoria Market’s annual winter night market is back!

Luna1878 Night Market is a midweek celebration of winter that is happening every Wednesday night until 27 August. Before you groan about leaving your warm house to venture out on a freezing school night, just note two things:

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 9 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

1. The market is actually much warmer than you might expect. I think it must be because of the roof, the number of cooking fires and bright lights. I didn’t notice any outdoor heaters about but I didn’t feel the cold at all.

2. There is mulled wine!

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 2 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

Under the sheds of Queen Vic you’ll find a large range of street food to sample, interspersed amongst diverse stalls of local designers and craftspeople. I was invited to try out what was on offer at the market and I was pleasantly surprised by the broad range of food and entertainment on offer. The set up was a lot more spacious than my previous visit to the summer night markets and there was enough seating for quick bites in between strolling.

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 4 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

I think the food is the reason to get most excited about Luna1878 Night Market. You can choose to eat the world with Filipino coal-roasted meats, soups in a cob loaf to steaming pans of paella. Some of it was ok, other dishes were fantastic and most of it was priced around the $7 mark with nothing more than $15.

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 3 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

My recommendations go to the Xinjiang spicy lamb skewers, the grilled cevapi from the cevapi cart and the baby octopus from the Sicilian barbecue.

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 5 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

For dessert there were a few options – crepes, creme brulee, waffles or cannoli from a guy who had a cannoli for a head (kidding! just caught him at the right angle).

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 7 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

I think there could be more dessert options as the line for all of these stalls was pretty long and in the end we settled for a chilli and spice hot chocolate from Market Espresso. Unfortunately this was probably the worst thing we tried on the night, with badly burnt milk combined with a syrupy spice mix. We dumped half of it in the bin.

Perhaps my pro tip is to just swim against the crowd and eat dessert first and savouries later!

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 8 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

The lively vibe in the market was enhanced by the free entertainment, including musicians, street performers and comedians. I actually found the cooking just as much fun to watch as crews hacked into a whole pig at the Hoy Pinoy and a primary school kid deftly flipped pizza dough at 400 Gradi.

Luna1878 Night Market Queen Victoria Market cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets Melbourne + Giveaway 1 HOT: Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne + Giveaway!

If you’re planning a trip to Luna1878 Night Market then mark next Wednesday 23 July in your diary as on that night only Kit Webster will be presenting his amazing multimedia installation called Enigmatic.

Luna1878 Night Market, Queen Victoria Market, cnr Elizabeth and Victoria Streets, Melbourne

Every Wednesday 9 July – 27 August 5-10pm

Free entry

Giveaway! Thanks to Queen Victoria Market I have 3 x $30 food/drink vouchers for Luna1878 Night Market to give away. To win just follow the instructions and the three winners will be chosen randomly. Entries close Monday 28 July midnight. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

Neapoli 30 Russell Place Melbourne 4 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

Neapoli is an all day eatery in Collins Street Melbourne that is many things to many people.

Neapoli 30 Russell Place Melbourne 1 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

By day, a cosy cafe and meeting place for nearby office workers (who particularly like the big boardroom table upstairs). By night, a sexy wine bar with interesting food to share.

Neapoli 30 Russell Place Melbourne 3 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

I visited on shadowy winter’s morning and the ambience was just right for the weather – dimly lit and with hidden corners for a quiet tete-a-tete. I loved Neapoli’s curving oak bar with leather stools but decided I wanted to sit somewhere less conspicuous and headed upstairs.

Neapoli 30 Russell Place Melbourne 6 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

Both levels benefited from the light glinting off the glorious black-framed curved wall of glass which fronted onto the terrace.

photo 8 982x1024 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

For easy navigation the breakfast menu was divided into fruits and grains, toast and bagels and eggs, plus a range of sides. I decided to start with and egg and bacon bagel with tomato relish ($12.50) mainly because the menu boasted that the bagels were steamed and baked in house.

photo 7 1024x880 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

The dish was possibly the most beautiful version of an egg and bacon butty I’ve seen. One barely fried egg, a generous slice of bacon, a festive frill of baby spinach leaves and a slick of sauce opened up between two crusty slices. The texture of the bagel itself was quite interesting – not quite the chewy, Eastern European variety I’m used to but more of a bready, almost brioche-like cakiness to it. Even if it wasn’t an authentic bagel it was delicious.

Neapoli 30 Russell Place Melbourne 5 HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

Based on the successful bread venture I decided to try the banana pancakes too ($15). These were gorgeous fluffy discs with a crisp border presumably created by an egg ring. The three pancakes were topped with a classic combination of banana and maple syrup. Unbeatable.

A glance at the vast lunch and dinner menu invites to return – it’s a list of old-school Italian favourites and unexpected segues into Greek, Thai and Mexican cuisine. I love the idea of all day dining too, as often I find myself eating lunch at 11am and dinner at 5pm these days.

Neapoli epitomises the best of alleyway dining in Melbourne – a culinary destination that’s relaxed yet sophisticated, the perfect place to read the papers solo or enjoy long boozy chats with friends.

Neapoli, 30 Russell Place Melbourne +61 3 9650 5020

Mon – Fri / 7am to late

Sat – Sun / 8am – late

minilink HOT: Neapoli, 30 Russell Place, Melbourne

HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 4 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

Ah Double Happiness. A sexy, intimate CBD laneway bar that has witnessed a few romantic rendezvous during my dating years and then became the backdrop to one of my favourite wedding photos.

With winter setting in Double Happiness’ dimly lit nooks are the perfect location for a warming nightcap.

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 8 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

I was invited to try their new winter cocktail menu devised around fragrant spices and warming liqueurs. All with tongue-in-cheek Maoist names like ‘The Great Leap Forward’ and ‘Little Red Book’, all matching the kitschy Communist propaganda lining the walls.

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 5 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 7 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

As RM loves his Scotch we ordered ‘Anti-Rightist Movement’ with Scotch whiskey, lemon juice, house five spice liqueur, fig and cinnamon bitters and egg white ($17). The balance of heat and aromatics was perfect for the chilly night.

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 9 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

I claimed the novelty factor with an alcoholic bubble tea (all $15). These cocktails are generally sweet and very easy to drink, like a teeny-bopper alcopop but cooler.

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 6 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

As I love Japanese plum wine I tried No. 6 with plum wine, mint, lime and cloudy apple juice. It even came in a plastic cup with a peel-off lid and a fat straw for slurping up the coconut jelly and popping boba pearls! Definitely a drink where you can’t help smiling along and dangerously addictive.

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 2 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

If you’re after some fire-power in your cocktail then try the Northern Expedition – dark rum, black walnut bitters, PX and a glass smoked out with a smouldering cinnamon stick ($18). Best of all it comes with a large ice sphere which means your drink will stay colder for longer and not dilute into a watery puddle. The cocktail was sexy and smoky, a drink worthy of Don Draper.

Double Happiness 21 Liverpool St Melbourne 3 HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

Double Happiness is an old favourite and it remains high on my go-to bars in Melbourne. Their new menu ensures that I’ll keep returning to sample more of their limited edition wintery concoctions. Celebrate your long weekend with a visit!

Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne 03 9650 4488

MONDAY TO FRIDAY 4PM – LATE

SATURDAY & SUNDAY 6PM – LATE

minilink HOT: Double Happiness, 21 Liverpool St, Melbourne

HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 21 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

Oriental Teahouse in Chapel Street now hosts an (almost) secret bar upstairs called Zhou Zhou, named after its owner, the well-known Melbourne tea specialist and David Zhou.

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 5 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

I was invited to check out the Zhou Zhou on opening and after some confusion about the entrance I climbed the stairs from the brightly lit Oriental Teahouse to enter a dim Shanghaiese drinking den. The décor was moody and dark with timber floors and murals of Shanghaiese ladies in cheong-sam and touches of Chinoiserie and kitsch Asian paraphernalia dotted around. Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 3 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 1 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

Zhou Zhou serves over 50 Asian inspired craft beers, which apparently was quite a feat of research for David Zhou, a self-professed tea man. The drinks list is rounded out with wine, sake and Asian-inspired cocktails such as the Hello Vera – a mix of West Winds Gin, peach, aloe vera and mint, or the Mekong Hijinks of lychee, lemongrass and hibiscus tea and more West Winds Gin. I preferred the latter cocktail for the balance of sweet and tart and it was served with a lychee sherbet lolly for a comical twist.

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 8 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

The kitchens of Oriental Teahouse provide the savoury and sweet snacks, mostly dumplings, all for sharing and to match your drinks.

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 4 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

I tried the fat and fluffy pork buns and the chilli dumplings, always a favourite with their slippery pliant skins and kick of heat. But there’s lots of choose from so you don’t just have to stick with dim sum.

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 7 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

The relaxed vibe and hidden nooks of Zhou Zhou create a cosy counterpoint to the noisy street life happening downstairs on Chapel Street. It’s a place you can linger as you’ll be fed and watered in comfort and style while the rest of the populace fights for parking spaces. And if you’re at Zhou Zhou with a larger group I recommend commandeering the room across the hallway for your own private party!

Zhou Zhou Bar upstairs Oriental Tea House Chapel St South Yarra 6 HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

Zhou Zhou, 455 Chapel Street, South Yarra 03 9826 0168

Wed-Thu, Sun 5pm-11pm Fri-Sat 5pm-2am

minilink HOT: Zhou Zhou Bar, upstairs Oriental Tea House, 455 Chapel St, South Yarra

HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 1 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran
Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 3 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran
In a former life I used to live around High Street Prahran and there was not much going on there – a dry cleaner, a stationery store,  some furniture shops.

Well, the corner around High Street and Chapel Street has been revamped to become a cool eating and drinking precinct. The latest addition to the casual and funky restaurant strip is Charlie Dumpling. A cool place where you can drink cocktails and eat late night (and lunchtime) dumplings.

I was invited to the launch of Charlie Dumpling. The narrow space was crowded with people holding Mr C Sheen cocktails – a flirty pink mix of gin, watermelon, lime, and agave festooned with perky umbrellas – with one hand and popping toothpicks of dumplings with the other.

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 7 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

While it’s not all dumplings the menu is all savoury or sweet snacks that you’d have with drinks – so if you’re starving it could get expensive. The dumplings themselves are not authentic – more a modern interpretation of lots of Asian flavours – and the inventive combinations are a trade mark with chef Dylan Roberts (formerly Cutler & Co., Ezard, Claremont Tonic).

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 8 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

So instead of traditional har gao you get a more thickset version stuffed with bamboo shoots and topped with a drizzle of chill oil. Of the non-dumpling options choose the salmon tartare on airy nori crackers which is like eating sushi on a salt and vinegar chip! Extremely moreish.

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 5 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

The best dumplings of the night was a gyoza wrapping container water spinach and squid. Drizzled with curry leaf kewpie it was spicy and juicy and not a dish you’re likely to find elsewhere.

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 4 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

For dessert we have mochi filled with a lemon tart sorbet and salted almond caramel. These little orbs of icy tartness were a highlight and spying the other dessert dumplings on the menu (chocolate with raspberry sorbet and doughnut!) my advice is definitely leave room for sweets.

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 6 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

Charlie Dumpling‘s fitout subtly harks back to South Asian origins – lobster pot lamp shades, bamboo steamers on the shelves and rustic seaside window shutters as a wall feature. If a noisy, crowded Gen Y hangout is not really your scene then try taking a peek upstairs where you’ll find a giant lobster adorning the wall of the private dining room. The room seats 8 and stands up to 28 people and provides a great view of High Street from the tall sash windows.

Charlie Dumpling 184 High St Prahran 2 HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

Charlie Dumpling will no doubt be very popular given its winning combination of drinks and food – so keep an eye out for their takeaway service, coming soon.

Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran 03 9510 4213

Monday 5:30pm-12:00am

Tuesday – Sunday 12:00pm-3:00pm, 5:30pm-12:00am

minilink HOT: Charlie Dumpling, 184 High St, Prahran

HOT: Designing 007 – 50 Years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton


Designing 007 50 Years of Bond Style Melbourne Museum Nicholson St Carlton 2 HOT: Designing 007   50 Years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style is Melbourne Museum‘s showcase James Bond exhibition for the summer. And if you don’t want to share the space with gawping noisy kids then I recommend heading to the museum on Friday nights when the exhibition is open for adults only, with special location themed nights, martini talks and music.

Every Friday night 5-9pm until the exhibition closes on 23 February you can have a cocktail at the Bond Bar, purchase themed food and nibbles, dress up in costumes from Rose Chong and see the extensive Bond exhibition at a leisurely pace.

Designing 007 50 Years of Bond Style Melbourne Museum Nicholson St Carlton 1 HOT: Designing 007   50 Years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style comes to Melbourne from London’s Barbican and features many items which will delight Bond fans (like RM, who’s seen every single Bond film) and entertain those with a passing interest in Bond (like me).

We spent around 2 hours looking at all the exhibits. There’s lots to absorb, with drawing and models of sets, vehicles and technology from five decades from 1962’s Dr. No to 2012’s Skyfall. Most of the items are original but there are some re-creations which I don’t think are particularly necessary (even if it is Ursula Andress’ white bikini in Dr No).

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style starts with an eye-catching entrance to the Gold Room with a gold-painted replica of Shirley Eaton draped on a rotating cushion. You then proceed through various themed rooms – the most interesting one for me was the ‘casino’ room with many glamorous evening gowns and excerpts from the films where the gowns are featured. The sometimes outlandish gadgetry featured in various Bond films is also fascinating.

Take the time to watch the short 20 seconds films interviewing various people involved in the making of Bond, including special-effects expert John Stears discussing how he had to drill into a brand-new Aston Martin DB5 for Goldfinger and a languid cigar-toting Sir Ken Adam discussing how he decided to pack an autogyro in crocodile-skin cases. Give the ‘Foreign Territories section’ which details Bond’s exotic locations, a quick walk-through.

Designing 007 – 50 years of Bond Style is as entertaining as the Bond franchise itself, even for someone who only has a passing interest in the films and books. If you want to join the Friday Night Bond Experience you can book on-line. Note that the The Bond bar and Designing 007 exhibition are also open till 9pm Saturday nights.

Designing 007 50 Year of Bond Style Melbourne Museum Nicholson St Melbourne HOT: Designing 007   50 Years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

Finally on 22 February you can celebrate White Night with James Bond’s last night in Melbourne from 7pm 22 February to 7am 23 February – imagine seeing the exhibition at 3am after a few drinks! To purchase your White Night tickets go to Melbourne Museum Tickets.

Designing 007 – Fifty years of Bond Style, Melbourne Museum, Nicholson St, Carlton

1 Nov 2013 – 23 Feb 2014 10am-5pm daily

Late Nights Friday and Saturday open till 9pm

Adult  $24
Adult Flexible* $34
Concession  & Students $16
Child  $14
MV Members – Adult $14, Concession $12, Child $10

Includes entry to Melbourne Museum between 10.00am and 5.00pm on the day of your visit

HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

When in Beechworth, drink beer.

Bridge Road Brewers is one of Australia’s most popular craft beer producers and is one of the foodie destinations to visit in Beechworth thanks to their brewery operations in a 150 year old coach house, the kitchen’s famous pizzas and a convivial beer garden which is particularly family-friendly.

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 9 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

I was invited to visit Bridge Road Brewers by Tourism North East and we rolled into Beechworth just after lunch opening on a weekday. Being unseasonably warm already the beer garden was starting to fill up so if you’re coming with a large group or want to be assured of a spot during a busy period then book ahead.

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 7 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

For colder climes the beer hall is spacious and filled with beer-making paraphernalia, decor and furniture as well as a cosy wood fire.

The Bridge Road Brewers kitchen makes pretzels and pizzas influenced by brewery co-owner Maria Frischmann, who grew up in the Tyrolean Alps. The kitchen bakes pretzels daily and they come plain ($3) or with a choice of cheese sauce or chocolate sauce ($4.50).

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 11 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

These crusty, salt-speckled twists are the perfect beer snack – thirst-inducing and easy to hold. Perhaps only a busty girl and a stein are missing for the true Tyrolean experience (and the brewery does host Oktoberfest celebrations in mid-October every year).

The kitchen is most famous for its extensive range of pizzas though you can order other beer-friendly plates such as nachos, ribs and pie or a lighter soup or salad.

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 5 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

Bridge Road Brewer’s pizza bases are made in house using their Bavarian Wheat Ale and it creates a crispy, bubbly base for a range of toppings. We tried the classic margherita punctuated with big dollops of Shaw River Buffalo Mozzarella and fragrant basil leaves ($17.50) and for contrast, a non-traditional “Morrison Street Butchers” Sausage Pizza with bocconcini, caramelised onions, tomato, sausage and mustard sauce ($19).

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 3 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

Both pizzas were bursting with hearty flavours and very filling – I think one large pizza between two would be sufficient. My only criticism is that I thought there could have been less topping so as to retain the crispiness of the base and to prevent ingredients frequently slipping off into a messy puddle (onto my lap, invariably). But in general Australian pizza eaters tend to prefer more toppings, not less, so I can understand the slightly overladen approach.

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 6 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

To match your food you can try a pint of any of their craft beers or go with a beer flight of up to ten tastings that arrives on its own special board.

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 8 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 12 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

You can also conduct your own tasting by taking home a mixed six-pack ($19.50) and for his taste RM’s pick of the beers was the Beechworth Pale Ale. He was particularly impressed that each bottle showed the ‘malt profile’ and ‘hops profile’ so you can judge the flavours for yourself.

Bridge Road Brewers Old Coach House Brewers Lane 50 Ford St Beechworth 1 HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

Finally, if you’re exploring Beechworth Bridge Road Brewers is a convenient starting point because they have free town bikes for hire. The “Town Bike” is a collaboration between Bridge Road Brewers, Larder Fromagerie and Provisions and Pennyweight winery and Beechworth’s wide quiet bike-friendly streets and access to Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail give visitors another way to explore the town and its surrounds. The town is currently holding events as part of North East Victoria’s inaugural Cycle Salute cycling festival (18 October – 5 November 2013).

And if you’re going further afield, Bridge Road Brewers is one of the stops along the High Country Brewery Trail where you can cycle parts of the scenic 100km Murray to the Mountains Rail Trail and visit craft breweries in Glenrowan, Beechworth, Bright and Mount Beauty for a recovery drink.

Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth +61 3 5728 2703

Kitchen opens lunch 7 Days a week, 12 – 3pm and Friday, Saturday and Sunday evenings from 6pm. 

minilink HOT: Bridge Road Brewers, Old Coach House Brewers Lane, 50 Ford St, Beechworth

HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wow’s Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 4 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

One of my favourite local bars is the fun-filled Mr Wow’s Emporium. There aren’t many inner city bars which also feature an airport strip light-style indoor bocce corridor!

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 5 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

I also love the ping pong table, large curved bar festooned with dangling phallic looking naked bulbs against the backdrop of a huge Melways mural (in case you get lost, y’know) and the covered balcony overlooking Smith Street if you don’t fancy being sportive.

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 3 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

Mr Wow’s Emporium is also unique because it has a rear-access astro-turfed garage which can host a round robin of food trucks because technically it’s ‘private property’ (sister Cuban bar Los Barbudos shares the food truck space).

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 1 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

Their latest resident was Round the Way, a sleek food truck serving bagel burgers using interesting ingredients and house-baked bagels of the bready rather than chewy boiled variety.

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 2 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

The menu varies from time to time and on my visit there were three burgers on offer – a vegetarian option, one bagel burger and one deli-style bagel.

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 8 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

We tried the ‘Czech 1-2′, a high tower cevapi beef burger, crispy iceberg lettuce, tomato, cheese, onion with tomato chutney and mayo. A reasonably standard burger combination lifted beyond the norm by the run-down-the-chin juiciness of the patty.

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 6 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

We both also enjoyed the ‘Baus Hawg’, a seasoned pulled pork with a smattering of caramelised onions, a deep Texas style BBQ sauce and cheese. I would have liked a little more layers of flavour and texture in the burger – maybe some chilli or fresh greens.

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck Mr Wows Emporium 97B Smith St Fitzroy 7 HOT: Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wows Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy

For those with smaller appetites or daintier fingers try the mini bagel bruschetta toasted with garlicky oil and topped with tomato, Meredith goats cheese and fresh basil, proscuitto, peppers and a slice of King Island blue cheese and my favourite, a slice of eye fillet bresaola with a sprinkle of green olive tapenade and semi-dried tomato ($12).

You can keep an eye on where Round the Way parks their van by following them on Twitter and Facebook.

Round the Way Bagel Burgers Food Truck, Mr Wow’s Emporium, 97B Smith St, Fitzroy


View MEL: HOT OR NOT in a larger map