HOT: Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, cnr Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne

agathe patisserieIf you walked into South Melbourne Market last week your nose will have detected the new aroma of fresh, buttery pastry in the aisles. That’s because Agathé Pâtisserie, a Parisian-inspired patisserie and croissanterie, has just opened a permanent kitchen and retail store in South Melbourne Market.

Agathé Kerr’s pastries have gained a cult following since she started a little Saturday market stall in Prahran Market last year. The Parisian gained her professional pastry chef qualification at the prestigious Ecole de Boulangerie et Patisserie de Paris and had been making all her wares in a pop up store/lab in Windsor.

The new double-sized stall is clean and white, with the exposed kitchen baking fresh items daily behind the tempting pastry counter.

agathe patisserie

I ordered a classic pain au chocolat (with two luxurious sticks of chocolate inside), a brightly striped infused raspberry croissant, a classic escargot and almond croissant.

agathe patisserie

All excellent quality, with a buttery crumb, subtle flavours and airy layers of pastry.

agathe patisserie

There is one must-eat item on the menu. Agathé Pâtisserie’s famous cruffins ($7) are now piped to order with vanilla creme patisserie and topped with your choice of filling – on my visit, Nutella, salted caramel or peanut butter caramel.

agathe patisserie

agathe patisserie

agathe patisserie

For now Agathé Pâtisserie is focusing on their new premises and retail offering so there’s no wholesale orders to cafes. That means the only place to try these amazing pastries is at South Melbourne Market. Warning – on the first day of opening at South Melbourne EVERYTHING was sold out in 1 hour (9am!). So if you want to sample some of Melbourne’s best pastries you’ll have to set your alarm clock and get in early.


 

Agathé Pâtisserie, Stalls 63 and 64, South Melbourne Market, corner of Coventry and Cecil Streets, South Melbourne 0403 222 573

Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8am-4pm or until sold out.

HOT: Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

smith and deli

The owners of popular vegan restaurant Smith & Daughters in Fitzroy have now branched out to a delightful Jewish-inspired deli just around the corner on Moor Street. Dubbed Smith & Deli, the new-age convenience store will be a haven for vegans, vegetarians and curious omnivores.

smith and deli

Smith & Deli is housed in an old brick factory and I love the retro feel to the place, from the mint-green furnishings thanks to Callum Preston (who also designed Smith & Daughters) to the 50s rock tunes.

smith and deli

Smith and deli

The store’s focus is on take away food, provisions, fresh produce and take-home meals and the shelves and cabinets simply groan with neat rows of tempting food.

smith and deli

smith and deli

I was invited to visit Smith & Deli ahead of their official opening this Tuesday 16 June and had a lot of fun sampling their goods. I should preface my comments with the fact that I’m not vegan – so I’m comparing vegan dishes with their non-vegan originals. If you are limited to vegan choices then I think Smith & Deli will be a gastronomical broadening of horizons. If you’re not vegan, it’ll be eye-opening though in some cases I admit I’d prefer to eat the non-vegan versions.

smith and deli

I was offered a pre-made lunch box to try ($15) consisting of a half a Reuben sandwich, a noodle salad and a slice of apple crumble slice. I also gave way to temptation to buy up their baked goods – a croissant, doughnut, dill pretzel, passionfruit tart, honey cake and challah.

The highlights were the spongy glazed doughnut with ‘custard’, the surprisingly flaky croissant and the bready but not too chewy dill pretzel. Let’s just say they got the tick of approval from a 4 year old omnivore!

smith and deli

I didn’t love the dry pastry of the passionfruit tart though the filling was creamy and sweet or I’d much prefer the chunky meatiness of a proper Reuben sandwich.

smith and deli

Intrigued by the possibility of a vegan take home meal I bought a ready made pastrami pizza and margherita pizza ($16 each). The pizza base was light and fluffy and the flavours were true – it was just the curious un-melted texture of the ‘cheese’ which signalled its vegan origins. My kids loved it…but give me mozzarella instead.

smith and deli

There’s no seating on site so it’s strictly take-away service. Whitlam Square and Condell Reserve all offer nice places to sit and eat and if you’re studying in Fitzroy Library it’s just a handy diagonal stride across Moor Street.

Smith & Deli is a unique concept – a friendly grocery store where dishes have been converted to plant-based fare without sacrificing flavour. I did think in some cases the texture of meat and dairy simply couldn’t be replicated, but I’m curious enough to return, especially for the house-made vegan pastrami and salami (their slicer wasn’t working yet).

Smith & Deli, 111 Moor St, Fitzroy

Tue-Sun 8am-7pm

Opening Tuesday 16 June 2015

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HOT: Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton

Lygon food store

Lygon Food Store was a pioneer in Melbourne in the 1950s. This iconic Carlton cafe and food store opened 63 years ago as one of the first suppliers of imported products from Italy and it was the first shop in Lygon Street to serve Lavazza coffee.

Lygon food store

This unpretentious establishment has long been a favourite with uni students and academics for a casual breakfast or a hearty lunch.

Lygon food store

Their huge ciabattas and baguettes are excellent value (all under $10) and the glass cabinet holds a rotating mouth-watering selection of Italian meals, soups and salads.

lygon food store

The cartoccio, an oval mass of pizza dough, squidgy mozzarella and laden to overflowing with antipasti and charcuterie, is one of their specialities. It’s big enough to share between two or three, making it an economical lunch for $14.50.

Lygon food store

About a month ago Lygon Food Store opened its doors for dinner on Thursday to Sunday evenings.

I was invited to sample some of the dinner menu, which has an emphasis on Southern Italian cuisine mainly from Puglia, the region that owner Pasquale Coco knows best. Some of the recipes are from his family, some have been devised by Pasquale who is also the chef.

Lygon food store

The highlight of the preview was the serves of pasta and the risotto Milanese, all cooked al dente and adorned with the simplest of sauces to highlight the freshness of the ingredients. All the pastas and stone fired pizzas are under $20.

Lygon food store

There are just four main dishes to choose from – a veal osso bucco, rockling fillet, crunchy eggplant polpetta with spicy caponata and couscous and in a nod to on-trend ingredients, a light quinoa salad. Again, each of the mains was very reasonably priced under $30.

Lygon food store

While bright new eateries ensure that Lygon Street is ever-evolving it’s always nice to revisit old favourites. Lygon Food Store is a Melbourne institution for a reason and now you can enjoy their wares (and do your deli shopping) morning, noon and night.

Lygon Food Store, 263 Lygon Street, Carlton 03 9347 6279

Monday – Wednesday, 7am – 6pm
Thursday – Sunday, 7am – 10pm

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Melbourne Good Food and Wine Show 2015 – Giveaway!

Alistair1Australia’s largest consumer food and wine exhibition the Good Food and Wine Show is being held in Melbourne over the long weekend on Friday 5 June – Monday 8 June  at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

The main ambassador for this year’s show will be UK celebrity chef Ainsley Harriott, where he will exclusively take part in the Melbourne show. He’ll be there along with a line up of renowned local and international chefs plus  hundreds of boutique exhibitors and a focus on on-trend foods and beverages.

Exhiting

Take a shopping trolley, lots of cash, wear comfortable shoes and clothes and don’t drive or ride a bike – there’s beer and wine on offer!

Tickets are $34 general entry for adults, $20.40 for children 12-17 years and kids under 12 years are free.

Giveaway! Thanks to Good Food and Wine Show  I have 3 x double adult passes for general exhibition entry on any of the 4 days to give away. To win all you have to do is leave a comment before midnight Monday 1 June and the winners will be selected randomly. Good luck!

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HOT: High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport

Newport Railway Workshops

High Tea on the Rails was a one-off fundraiser organised by Elysian Afternoon Teas for McAuley Community Services for Women’s May High Tea Appeal.

Elysian Afternoon Teas is a vintage high tea business run by Therese Slee which offers small groups of 2-12 people the experience of high tea without the mess or the fuss.

Therese delivers high tea to your home by bringing her stash of vintage china (including a large collection of unique souvenir teaspoons), linen and table decorations. All the catering is done from her home kitchen. Some of the recipes come from the Ritz in London, some are treasured family recipes and some have been created by Therese.

Newport Railway Workshops

The location of this event was at the Newport Railway Workshops, which once used to be the largest industrial complex in Victoria. I never knew this place existed! The original 1880s workshops are now occupied by railway preservation groups Steamrail Victoria, Diesel Electric Rail Motor Preservation Association Victoria and R707 Operations and used by the Department of Infrastructure for the storage of disused trams and other rail rollingstock. The Australian Railway Historical Society Railway Museum is located south of the workshops.

I’ve eaten a lot of high tea in Melbourne, but never before in a vintage railway carriage! For this occasion we were very lucky to use the historic Avoca Dining Car, which was built at the Newport Railway Workshops and used for the Royal Visit of the Duke and Duchess of York on their visit to Australia in 1927. It was on loan from R707 Operations which charters locomotives, carriages and trains for private tours, corporate events, tours and filming across Victorian rail network.

Newport Railway Workshops

Newport Railway Workshops

Our high tea began with a flute of bubbly or home made ice tea in the spectacular Art Deco interior of lounge car 708, which was built in the 1940s and further decorated with some items from Seddon vintage shop Once More, With Feeling.

Newport Railway Workshops

We were then ushered into the snug dining car. Each gorgeously decorated table held a plate of traditional crustless sandwiches and scones with home made jam while pots of Madame Flavour teas were brought around.

newport railway workshops

 

The sandwiches were not terribly exciting to be honest as the bread was too soggy and thin. The traditional fillings included chicken paté and lettuce, cucumber and egg.

Newport Railway Workshops

The cake trolley was my highlight, filled to the brim with excellent home made treats. I dived into the moist Lemon Cheese Cream Butter Cake, a crispy hazelnut meringue filled with chocolate ganache and a tart with a hazelnut base and spiced apple butter filling.

Newport Railway Workshops

The ginger fluff sponge was simply amazing, like eating puffs of cloud sandwiching light whipped cream.

Newport Railway Workshops

From the hum of conversation a grand time was had by all as we dined to our fill in unique surroundings. Best of all, $10 of each ticket went to McAuley Community Services for Women, which provides much needed services for women and their children who are escaping family violence and for women who are homeless.

If you’re interested in the works of R707 Operations they restore and maintain heritage locomotives and carriages and can provide tours by appointment. They also regularly provide comfortable family friendly and affordable vintage rail travel day train trips to regional centres in in Victoria.

High Tea on the Rails by Elysian Afternoon Teas, Newport Railway Workshops, Shea St, Newport 

HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

humble patisserie

Humble Patisserie is a sweet little cake shop and bakery in Hawthorn. While the store is humble in size (there are only a few tables and chairs tucked inside and on the pavement), the cake, pastry and  confectionery spread certainly is not.

humble patisserie

I love the super-cute fit out, with Orla Kiely wallpaper behind the counter and riotously up the ceiling and a large storybook rabbit wielding a baguette and wallpaper matching scarf.

humble patisserie

It’s the kind of place where it’s impossible to choose just one thing to eat. Everything is baked fresh daily on site. They are justly famous of their pastries, especially the almond croissant, and their homage to classic Australian biscuits and sweets such as the Wagon Wheel and coconut ice.

humble patisserie

If you have to whittle down your choices, I highly recommend the Kingston and one of their mini tarlets, a buttery biscuity crumb filled with creamy lemon curd or a rich peanut butter and chocolate ganache.

humble patisserie

Humble Patisserie wholesale to a few other cafes in town but I suggest you make a trip to visit this nostalgic little bakery for a sweet treat and a coffee using Axil beans.

Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn (03) 9818 2463

Mon to Sun 8am – 4pm

Humble Patisserie on Urbanspoon

HOT: The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

melbourne food and wine festival

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.

melbourne food and wine festival

melbourne food and wine festival

melbourne food and wine festival

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).

melbourne food and wine festival

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.

melbourne food and wine festival

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.

I was also invited by Peter Rowland sample some of Artisan Bakery & Bar’s mostly Victorian menu.

We started off with little pots of Irrewarra Sourdough’s granola, some fluffy and tart Victorian yoghurt and homemade fresh fruit compote.

melbourne food and wine festival

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).

melbourne food and wine festival

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…

melbourne food and wine festival

…sauteed mushrooms and onion jam…

melbourne food and wine festival

….pulled beef, corn relish and pickled gherkins.

melbourne food and wine festival

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.

melbourne food and wine festival
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.

melbourne food and wine festival

The Artisan Bakery & Bar, Melbourne Food and Wine Festival 2015, Queensbridge Square, Southbank

7 days a week 7:30am-late until Sunday 15 March

HOT: 5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

5 and dime bagel

5 and Dime Bagel’s New York style boiled bagels have been gaining a loyal following from farmer’s market shoppers for the past two years.

 While you can still buy 5 and Dime Bagel at Flemington and Gasworks farmers markets, they have opened a permanent store in Katherine Place, near the King St end of Flinders Lane. They are one of half a dozen new, small, food enterprises that will hopefully turn that rather dead area of the CBD into a vibrant culinary destination. 

I love 5 and Dime Bagel for their chewy but not too dense texture and slightly crunchy crust. They are hand rolled, boiled and baked fresh every day on site and then distributed to other outlets as well as tumbled into wooden trays in their new premises. 

5 and dime bagel

The small cafe is reminiscent of an old-school American diner. Not the ones with kitschy, brightly coloured decor but the sort of subdued neighbourhood hangouts I can imagine found in tumbleweed Midwestern towns. When I walked in I was immediately reminded of the film The Last Picture Show. 

5 and dime bagel

The cafe offers bagels with a rotating selection of flavoured cream cheese (schmears) and fillings, all made in house. You can buy bagels to take away ($2 or 6 for $11) or sit down for a simple bagel sandwich and an espresso or filtered Promised Land Coffee. 

5 and dime bagel

My tip is to go for the dill bagel. The dill bagel has no added salt, which is unbelievable as it is so full of flavour. Combined with their house cured salmon/trout and cream cheese combo and it’s one heavenly sandwich.

They are purists with their bagels too. It is usual for bagels to be toasted in other cafes but here they don’t toast them because the bagels are so fresh. They bake constantly, throughout the day, so even if you arrive at the end of the lunch hour the bagels are still fresh.

 I can’t get on a plane to New York so 5 and Dime Bagel is the closest I’ll get to having a New York breakfast. And now you don’t have to wait for the weekend for your bagel fix!

5 and Dime Bagel, 16 Katherine Place, Melbourne

Monday to Friday 7:00 am to 3:00 pm

5 & Dime Bagels on Urbanspoon

HOT: Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

maribyrnong makers market

Maribyrnong Makers Market is a sweet little arts and crafts market held several times a year in Seddon. The market is at Seddon Uniting Church, a small and charming venue which hosts stalls inside the church hall as well as the outside grounds.

maribyrnong makers market

The focus of the market is about showcasing the work of local craftspeople and artists. Every stall holder has made their products themselves and the community feel extends to the charity sausage sizzle set up on the pavement outside.

maribyrnong makers market

I bought some treats from Helen’s Kitchen Favourites, a local sweets and preserves business based in Williamstown.

maribyrnong makers market

I even got to meet Helen and her husband Simon and her sales patter convinced me to buy her handmade and preservative-free pate and shortbread. Both were delicious but particular mention must go to the buttery, crumbly biscuits – three of us devoured 8 large rounds of passionfruit topped ones in one afternoon!

maribyrnong makers market

I also loved Little Puddles’ DIY felt ball garland and wreath kit but wasn’t sure of my handicraft skills as to whether I’d be able to make one. Maybe by Christmas I’ll have worked up the nerve!

maribyrnong makers market

It’s not every day that you see someone like Raxor, a craftperson actually hand spinning yarn in order to make her woollen goods.

maribyrnong makers market

The Maribyrnong Makers Market is a great place to buy some lovely, unique and often handmade things and meet the makers who come from the local area. It’s also within walking distance to Seddon Village with cafes and more shops to explore.

Maribyrnong Makers Market’s next dates in 2014 are tomorrow Saturday 22 November where it will extend down to the nearby park Harris Reserve and Thursday 18 December, just in time for Christmas.

Maribyrnong Makers Market, Seddon Uniting Church, cnr Gamon and Mackay Sts, Seddon

Saturday 22 November 9.30am – 3.30pm

Thursday 18 December 4.30pm – 8.30pm

Cream of the Crop at The Age Good Food Month – Giveaway!

cream of the crop

November is The Age’s Good Food Month in Melbourne and one of the many events happening is the Cream of the Crop.

On Sunday, 23 November,  the Dairy Industry Association of Australia will be hosting the first ever Cream of the Crop, a dairy festival! For a mere $20 (kids under 12 are free) you will receive unlimited samples of cheese, ice-cream, yogurt, butter and other goodies on offer, as well as entry into dairy master classes throughout the day. Wine, beer and cheese platters will be available for sale.

Cream of the Crop, Sunday 23 November 11am till 5pm

Ormond Hall, 447 St Kilda Road, Melbourne (entry via Moubray Street)

Giveaway! Thanks to Dairy Industry Association of Australia I have 5 x double passes to give away for Cream of the Crop. To win just follow the instructions below. The winners will be randomly selected on Monday 17 November. Good luck!

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