HOT: Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood


Where a Girl Goes is the flagship store of Melbourne stationery designer Cristina Re and it’s well-named – it’s an unabashedly feminine place, full of pastel colours and frills and flowers and butterflies.


The large space has a retail section displaying Cristina Re‘s stationery, crockery and bath and body products, but most of the floor  is dominated by a high tea parlour. The parlour is filled with white replica French Provincial furniture and vases of pink roses (rose is the favourite flower of Cristina) and it’s a very pretty space to indulge in afternoon tea. It demands dressing up in your best frock and a bit of lipstick!


You can even book a semi-private area if you have a large party.


Gourmet Chick and I were invited to try their signature high tea and on a weekend the tables were all booked up with hen’s dos and baby showers. The signature high tea, which goes for 2 hours,  includes two hot beverages plus savoury and sweet treats for $49 ($59 on weekends). You can upgrade your signature high tea with flutes of sparkling wine, apple or pear cider, a cocktail or even include  include craft activities and astrology/tarot card readings in your booking, making it a more unique experience than your traditional afternoon tea.


The tea selection has a list of about a dozen options from Cristina Re’s signature tea leaf range, or you can choose a Belgian hot chocolate, Belgian hot mocha, espresso coffee, chai latte or juice. Of course with afternoon tea you should try one of the teas but for your second beverage I highly recommend the creamy and rich hot chocolate.


The food offering consisted of a mini vegetarian quiche (in our case, one mushroom and one roasted capsicum) with a few sprigs of rocket as garnish, plus a tiered tray.


First impressions are always important and thus I tend to form an opinion about the quality of an afternoon tea based on the sandwiches. While the sandwich bread and fillings here were fairly standard (cucumber, chicken, smoked salmon) they benefited from the fact that they were very fresh. My pet hate is stale, pre-prepared finger sandwiches.


The middle tier had a fat, fluffy scone for each person accompanied by some chantilly cream and some very fruity raspberry jam.


The top tier was my favourite – some petite sweet vanilla cupcakes with different flavoured frostings, a selection of handmade Belgian chocolates and some excellent miniature macarons demonstrating a lightness of touch in their making. You can also purchase the sweets to take home.




For a place which doesn’t really specialise in catering, I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the food and beverages at Where a Girl Goes.  I particularly liked the fact that the afternoon tea is served on  Cristina Re‘s elegant gold-rimmed High Tea Collection porcelain along with 24 ct gold plated cutlery.




From the outside Where a Girl Goes may seem intimidatingly pink and frilly but inside the setting is unique, the atmosphere and the service staff are warm and inviting and I think it’s a perfect place for a girly get-together

Signature High Tea, Where a Girl Goes by Cristina Re, Cnr Langridge & Oxford Sts, Collingwood +61 3 9495 6222

Wednesday   10:30am – 5:00pm
Thursday    10:30am – 5:00pm / Workshops & Consultations 6pm – 8pm
Friday     10:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday   10:30am – 6:00pm
Sunday     10:30am – 5:00pm

HOT: Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (6)
Underground Cinema is more than just going to the movies – it’s a whole theatrical experience in a secret location, with a secret film revealed right at the end. It’s fun, novel and has developed a bit of a cult following since it first started in Melbourne in 2009.

I was invited to experience Underground Cinema‘s first show of 2013 which had a ‘Snow’ theme. As promised, it was their most interactive and immersive film screening to date. The amount of planning, organisation and dress rehearsals that must have gone into this production was astounding.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (5)

The first clue to the foreign/arthouse/horror film screening was an invitation to enrol into the UGC Swedish Forensic Academy. “You’ll need to have a keen eye for detail and a propensity to discover the truth. Temperatures are low and snow has been forecast as an entire town awaits the verdict, relying on all the help they can get.”

The dress code was “All in white, trousers and sensible shoes” and we were told to bring a pen, torch and camera. I managed to get two out of the three requirements in the dress code but come on, I’m Melburnian! My wardrobe is predominantly black and I literally own one white Tshirt in my wardrobe. Fortunately at this screening every non-white wearer was issued with a papery zip-up onesie and it proved to be an amusing and curiously cosy outfit for the evening (though a bit difficult for the bathroom!).

The secret venue was revealed a few days before the screening as Collingwood College. A high school? It still didn’t give me any sense of the identity of the film. However, the winding corridors, numerous rooms and school cinema proved to be a perfect location to hold a secret cinema screening.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (7)


Before we even got close to the cinema we were separated into groups and made to march in chain gang lines, undergo a psychological examination, a physical medical, listen to a lecture on forensic science, visit a crime scene and listen to a police interview. Everyone talked in fake Swedish accents.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (1)

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (4)


All the shenanigans were very amusing and fun and went on for close to an hour, with a pit stop for a Rekorderlig cider along the way.

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (2)

Then we were held in a ‘holding pen’ outside the cinema (with actors weaving themselves in and out of the crowd) for another hour, which was a quite boring even though there was bar service and some dodgy Swedish meatballs for snacks. We took a lot of selfies!

Underground Cinema Snow, Collingwood College, cnr Cromwell St and McCutcheon Way, Collingwood (3)

My friends who were in the later tranche said that they didn’t get through the entrance for 45 minutes, so it seemed like everyone had long period of waiting either at the start or finish. I hope that they iron out that issue next time because it was more than two hours from the entry time to the film screening, by which time I was very, very sleepy.

As for the film? I had my bets on the original version of Girl with a Dragon Tattoo but it was Let The Right One In, a very dark vampire film from Sweden. As I watched the film all the ‘clues’ we’d experienced before the screening all came together – cleverly done, Underground Cinema!

For more information on upcoming Underground Cinema screenings, check out, and

HOT: Bayte, 56 Johnston St, Collingwood

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (9)
It’s not often that I have a meal where every dish is faultless. And when I do have such an experience I want to shout it from the rooftops!

So today I say – get thee to Bayte (bay-tee)!

Bayte is a casual cafe/restaurant serving home-style Lebanese cuisine inspired by the chef’s grandmother’s recipes and childhood dishes.

It’s at the unfashionable side of Johnston Street in Collingwood and hence I don’t think it’s received as much love as some of the hip hotspots around the corner on Smith Street. I think that locals have discovered it and love it – but actually I believe it’s worth crossing town for.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (1)

The space is a tight split-level affair, with a sunny front communal table, smaller tables up by the kitchen and a graffitied courtyard. Bayte means ‘home’ in Arabic and the atmosphere is welcoming and warm with subtle Middle Eastern touches such as beautiful jewelled pendant lights and shimmering copper plates mounted onto the walls.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (2)

Breakfast is served all day from a menu which includes traditional breakfast items (eggs, muesli, pancakes) with a Lebanese touch. The lunch menu contains some filling and good value wraps (the most expensive is $11.50)  and a mezze selection perfect for sharing, so go with a group.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (8)

Don’t miss trying the fresh-out-of-the-oven flatbread – a lightly charred, stretchy yet flaky vessel for scooping up the smokey homemade babaganoush ($8). Our party of three polished it off in record time and mopped the dish meticulously clean.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (7)

Another excellent dish was the Soubih el Sit – long cigars stuffed with minced lamb, onions, pine nuts and with unexpected hints of sweetness from pomegranate molasses. The filo pastry was a wonder – incredibly flaky layers with a delightfully light crunch and not at all soggy despite the juicy filling. A serve of the Soubih el Sit normally has two cigars ($9) so they happily accommodated us with 1.5 serves so we could have one each.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (6)

The falafel were not balls but in fact flat broad bean and chickpea patties topped prettily with freshly blended almond taratour still containing nut chunks, a thin slice of radish and sprinkling of dill ($8.5). It was a solid dish, perhaps not as awe-inspiring as the Soubih el Sit but still full of authentic flavour and interesting textures. Again we ordered 1.5 serves.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (5)

Of the larger meze we tried the Kafta Meshwi – lamb kafta skewers of mince and a generous grab bag of herbs, each bearing grill marks on the outside yet pink the middle ($12.5 for two). I loved these until I bit into the juicy chargrilled fillets of the Djaj Mishwi bi Toum mà Rebb el Ruman– fat grilled chicken skewers glazed with pomegranate molasses served with slices of barbecued potato and garlic sauce ($12.50). This was the finger-lickin’ dish that turned my developing love for Bayte into absolute adoration and it’s not to be missed.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (4)

To counter all that meatiness or if you’re vegetarian I recommend trying the Moghrabieh bi Khoudra mà Jibeen ($10.50). It contains two of my favourite Middle Eastern ingredients – chewy giant couscous and sweet pops of pomegranate seeds – combined with a generous amount of roasted vegetables and sprinkled with Lebanese cheese.

Bayte Johnston St Collingwood (3)

To finish off, try some homemade baklava ($3). It features that amazing filo pastry again and the filling is a nutty mixture, not too syrupy, fragranced with the heady scent of rosewater. A beautiful end to a fantastic meal.

We left Bayte happily sated and enthusiastic about returning soon. I look forward to discovering other dishes when their dinner service starts Friday 17 May.

Bayte, 56 Johnston St, Collingwood +61 3 9415 8818

Mon and Tue closed
Wed, Thur, and Friday – 11.30am till 11.00pm
Sat and Sun – 9am till 11.00pm

Bayte on Urbanspoon


HOT: Lisa Tomasetti “Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage”, James Makin Gallery, 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood

HOT: Lisa Tomasetti "Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage", James Makin Gallery, 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood

Dancers have provided inspiration for artists for centuries. I think it’s a dancer’s constant search for the perfect line and form and the potential expressiveness and passion of the human body which fascinates photographers, painters and sculptors.

Sydney based artist Lisa Tomasetti currently has a free exhibition of photographs she took for the Australian Ballet over a number of years which takes audiences ‘behind the scenes’. Not so much behind the scenes in terms of viewing rehearsals, watching from the wings or access into dressing rooms, but rather taking the dancers off the stage and onto the street during their international tours to Tokyo, New York and Paris.

The large scale works pose ballerinas in their classical costumes performing amazing dance feats and juxtaposed against recognisable urban environments – the faceless black-clad commuters of a Tokyo subway station, next to a cop car on the streets of Manhattan or in front of a metro sign in Paris. Some of the pairings are so incongruous that it’s as if the dancers have been photoshopped into their background, particularly when they’re captured while suspended in mid-air.

My top three favourite images all come from New York.

Lisa Tomasetti Behind the

The first is of Amy Harris on Brooklyn Bridge. I love that bridge as a piece of architecture and the lines of wire and wood and the spaces created between them are echoed in the sculptural style of the ballerina’s concertina tutu from Divertimento which is also constructed from a traditional building material – air conditioning pipes (the tutu is currently on display at NGV as part of their Ballet and Fashion exhibition). Amy also looks like she’s spontaneously leaping for joy!
HOT: Lisa Tomasetti "Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage", James Makin Gallery, 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood

My second favourite picture is of Reiko Hombo arching into a leap in front of a neon American flag. I like that it’s contemporary and modern without speaking specifically of a particular time or place (it was taken in Times Square). And the form in that jete is so graceful yet powerfully explosive at the same time, with her hair flying tightly around her head.

HOT: Lisa Tomasetti "Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage", James Makin Gallery, 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood

Similarly I love the Amber Scott in ‘The Highline’. Again I like the fact that it’s an urban landscape at first glance and only with more attention does it become clear that it’s the skyline of Manhattan, with the Empire State Building peeking out on the left. I like how Amber seems to be ecstatically enraptured by the expanse of the city.

Fans of dance and photography shouldn’t miss this exhibition and limited edition prints of each of the works are available for sale in a large or small format from James Makin Gallery. To view more images click here.

 Lisa Tomasetti “Behind the Scenes: The Australian Ballet on the International Stage”, James Makin Gallery, 67 Cambridge St, Collingwood +61 3 9416 3966

7th – 30th March 2013

Tuesday – Sunday 11am – 5pm, Sunday – Monday by appointment

HOT: Hello Aubergine vegetarian lunch delivery


I am currently in love with the lunches made by Hello Aubergine, a vegetarian bicycle delivery service run by Pippa Macdonald that delivers once a week in the Fitzroy and Collingwood area.


Pippa designs the menu weekly, prepares the food and delivers the orders on her vintage bike, her wicker baskets laden with containers offering a vegetarian sandwich or a salad option for only $10.


I’ve tried a zesty coconut rice salad with lychee, cashews, mint and coriander and a sturdy sandwich containing walnut and white bean pate, apple, carrot & cabbage slaw, fresh spinach and tangy aioli.

photo (6)_540x361

Mostly I love Pippa’s culinary creativity in making her tasty meatless meals and the convenience of Hello Aubergine coming to my door. Plus the fact that Pippa runs her business by bike looking very cycle chic!



Hello Aubergine delivers $10 vegetarian lunches in Fitzroy and Collingwood on Thursdays. Lunch orders must be placed by 10am on Wednesdays. Call 0432 607 559 or email

Omnivores can also try Goldilocks Lunch Box delivery who deliver meat and vegetarian lunch options on Wednesdays.


HOT: The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby St, Collingwood

The Cool Hunter is a website/newsletter that does exactly that – hunts out the cool, unique and unusual in design, travel, art, food, fashion and events from all around the world and collects them all in one drool-worthy portal. So it makes sense that founder Bill Tikos has decided to bring the website to life with a pop up boutique concept called The Cool House, with Melbourne being its first stop.

The Cool House has transformed the warehouse space of Rokeby Studios into a temporary showroom of furniture, design and artwork from Australia and around the world. Here is a selection of the products that I liked but mostly couldn’t afford – it’s all very high end stuff…

Gorgeous leather pencil case by Dutch company Travelteq

The cutest miniature swivel chair – I didn’t catch the designer.

This amazing leather-framed round mirror resting casually by the bedside – again I didn’t note the designer, sorry.

I don’t have a pooch but these bags are adorable!

If you’re in the area and hungry for more design goodness then drop into Crop at Lightly Showroom for another design pop up retail event.

The Cool House, Rokeby Studios, 1/90-94 Rokeby Street, Collingwood
29 November – 2 December

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HOT: Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

Melbourne loves pop up design shops and this weekend there are three worth your attention – The Design Files Open House,  The Cool House and Crop at Lightly Showroom. Not to mention the popular twice-yearly Melbourne Design Market at Federation Square. Make that four!

Design studio Lightly have opened up their two-level warehouse and showroom to 25 other Australian designers showcasing jewellery, homewares, stationery, accessories and toys. They even have free wine tasting by Jamsheed Wines to get you in to the shopping mood.

Here are some of things that caught my eye…

This decorative sculpture, a Christmas nest, by Wona Bae. I’m not sure that it’s for sale but it would certainly make an eye-catching Christmas wreath for someone’s massive door. She has also made some miniature hand-tied Christmas trees in the same organic sculptural style which are for sale.

I loved these Jumble macrame rope plant holders by Jessie Tucker but as I was on my bike I couldn’t figure out how to get the poinsettia home.

This teepee from Gather. I want one for my back yard!

These sustainable cork and rubber placemats by Lightly come in a range of designs, sizes and colours and are named after the founder’s grandmother’s bridge playing friends (cute!). I bought a red one and green one for my festive table. Also note that during Crop you get to save 20% off all Lightly products.

To match my new table setting, some reindeer glass place by Fi Fy Fo Fum.

And finally, my gifts beautifully gift-wrapped. Thanks!

Crop at Lightly Showroom, 3 Glasshouse Rd, Collingwood

10:00am-7:00pm Friday 30 November
10:00am-6:00pm Saturday 1 December
10:00am-5:00pm Sunday 2 December

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HOT: Rockwell and Sons, 288 Smith St, Collingwood

Hello hump day, hello Fried Chicken Wednesday!

Every Wednesday night American inspired Rockwell and Sons offer a bargain meal that will challenge the Dirty Bird for finger lickin’ value. For $60 you get a whole Southern style fried chicken plus a whole lot of sides that could easily be meals in themselves – fluffy buttermilk biscuits (otherwise known as scones in our vernacular), a big bowl of comforting but rather salty mac ‘n’ cheese, creamy potato salad, coleslaw and minted snow peas and broad beans.

It’s a meal that must be shared and I’d recommend going with 4 people. I went with 3 people, two of them hungry food bloggers with large appetites, and we still didn’t finish everything. It’s because it’s all very carb heavy – bread AND pasta AND potatoes AND breaded crumbing can fill you up very quickly, not to mention 8-9 pieces of chicken. Imagine eating 3 or more plates of the below photo!

Is it the best fried chicken in town? Hard to say, as I’ve not eaten a lot of the dish. I did find the crisp crumbing a bit too dry and over-fried though admittedly that’s probably authentic. The meat inside still retained its juiciness but I think the whole offering could be improved with some gravy or barbecue sauce, which may push it past the boundaries of authentic soul food but would counter the dryness a little.

My favourite part of the meal were actually the amazingly light buttermilk biscuits, which would be right at home slathered with cream and jam. Apparently the biscuits lift so well thanks to good buttermilk and building layers through the dough. I wonder if I could just buy them to have for afternoon tea?

Rockwell and Sons also serve more Americana such as burgers, hot dogs and home fries, though I challenge you to eat anything else after the fried chicken.

You will need to pre-book your order by calling 8415 0700 as they only offer a limited number every Wednesday.

Rockwell and Sons, 288 Smith Street, Collingwood 61 3 8415 0700

Monday: 12pm-10pm
Tuesday: Closed
Wednesday: 6pm-10pm
Thursday: 12pm-10pm
Friday: 12pm-11pm
Saturday: 10am-11pm
Sunday: 10am-10pm

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Rockwell and Sons on Urbanspoon

HOT: Tomboy, 356 Smith St, Collingwood

As a person who loves eating food at any time of day, I make no real distinction between ‘breakfast food’ ‘lunch food’ and ‘dinner food’.

So I think it’s perfectly fine to eat fish tacos and a huge brownie for breakfast. And you should too if you visit Tomboy!

This handsome cafe displays one of my favourite interpretations of Melbourne’s ubiquitous ‘industrial chic’  look that I’ve encountered in recent memory.

I love their huge, high communal table that used to be a carpenter’s workbench, complete with original vices turned convenient bag hooks. The juxtaposition of hard and soft with the addition of a tall flower arrangement in the centre of the table.

I love the menu written on the huge dangling reel of butcher’s paper. The amazing lamps held aloft by thick metal links and heavy hooks. The vintage milk bar sign beckoning you towards the coffee and treats in the cabinet and the old school speakers set into the brickwork.

Finally, I love their interpretation of a butcher’s apron which all the trendy, good-looking and friendly staff wear. Apparently the aprons were made by one of the owner’s mums but really I think they should sell them :–)

Now to the food. The cafe offers an all-day breakfast/brunch/lunch menu so it contains the expected toast, muesli, eggs and then segues into the tart of the day, open sandwiches and those fish tacos.

As I’ve said, I’ve never shied away from bold flavours first thing in the morning so I’m immediately drawn to the digestive kickstart of an avocado and jalapeno puree and chipotle aioli. The tacos come out on two soft tortillas piled with fishy nuggets, the aforementioned sauces and a generous handful of red cabbage and coriander. Ignore the proffered cutlery and get into these with your hands!

I enjoyed the fresh, fiery combination of flavours though I would have preferred more chilli in my taco. That’s a matter of personal preference though so perhaps they could offer some hot sauce (I think I spied some on the shelf) or extra dressing for those whose taste buds like more heat.

If you come to Tomboy make sure you don’t miss out of the gluten-free brownies ($4). The cafe has been set up by the folks behind  Box Brownies and every day they bake fresh combinations (they sell out too). The huge slabs are rich without being heavy, very chocolatey without being cloying and very, very addictive. While I have been known to scoff down a whole brownie after a gym session (!) I think these baked wonders are better shared between two. Enjoy them with a coffee made with Seven Seeds blends on a Synesso machine.

Tomboy‘s attention to detail in the decor and dining has me listing them as one of my latest neighbourhood favourites. How can you resist a window display like this??

Tomboy, 356 Smith St, Collingwood +61 3 9486 0162

Tues to Sat 7:30am–4pm
Sat 8am–4pm
Sun 9am – 4pm

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Tomboy on Urbanspoon

HOT: Goldilocks Lunch box delivery

Who would have thought that eating lunch at your desk could actually be a pleasurable experience?

Thanks to Goldilocks Lunch Box every Wednesday (between 10am – 12pm) a beautifully packaged and freshly made lunch is delivered straight to your door, courtesy of Goldilocks aka Chrissy.

There’s something so thrilling about having your lunch come gift-wrapped. You never know what delights are stored inside the string-tied recycled box but you can be assured that every lunch box comes with something big, something small and something sweet. It’s ‘just right’ as old Goldie would say. Every week the menu changes and there’s a meaty version and a vegetarian version. Chrissy can also cater for any dietary requirements or dislikes. I just told her ‘no artichokes please!’.

On my first order I received a soft Babka casalinga sandwich spread with a local salami, chorizo and
chevre mixture with organic salad greens, a homemade spinach, ricotta and feta tartlet, two huge chocolate dipped strawberries and a honey joy! That little childhood crackle of sweetness was enough to bring a smile to the rest of my workday.

Boxes are $15 each or 4 weeks for $55 (go on, it’s worth it and delivery breaks are no problem). I was going to wait for all 4 weeks of lunch boxes to arrive before I posted it but I think the concept is so cute and well done that they deserve a HOT now. I’m already looking forward to Wednesday!

Goldilocks Lunch Box currently deliver on Wednesdays to Fitzroy, Collingwood and Carlton and you have to order by Monday 6pm for that week’s delivery. It’s such a great concept that I’m sure it’ll be expanding to other areas soon, so LIKE their Facebook page to keep up to date with developments.

Goldilocks Lunch Box or phone 0438 663 077