HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

Humble Patisserie 4 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

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 3 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

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 2 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

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 1 HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

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 140 Auburn Road Hawthorn HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

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

minilink HOT: Humble Patisserie, 140 Auburn Road, Hawthorn

HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 2 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common is a café that’s all about environmental sustainability and a complete wholefoods lifestyle.

If that’s too many buzzwords in one food philosophy for you, check out the work that’s going on Hawthorn Common first. The cafe were recently recognised in The Age’s Good Food Under $30 2014 where they took out the gong for ‘sustainable café champ’.

As you climb the stairs the place opens out into an expansive indoor-outdoor space. When I arrive early Saturday morning there’s a yoga class earnestly asana-ing on one corner of the outdoor deck that’s dotted with planters. (Yoga and coffee on the deck is $20 Saturdays 7:30am).

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

On a sunny day the deck is where you should be but rather than stare at bums in the air I chose to take a seat inside the banquette-lined dining area, facing the coffee counter while owner Danny Colls (ex Silo by Joost) pumped out coffees.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 5 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

A row of laughing portraits face line the walls, a happy collection of family, friends, staff and suppliers that gives a clue as to the origin of the café’s ‘common’ moniker. Even Colls’ baby daughter gazes down from the wall, facing a large round communal table adorned by a large Coco Flip pendant lamp turned from Victorian ash.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 4 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Hawthorn Common needs to inhabit such an expansive space because they do a lot of things inhouse. They roast their own coffee, grow their own herbs, culture their yoghurt, ferment pickles and bottle preserves, mill the flour fresh every day for their house-baked bread and even hand roll the oats for your porridge fresh to order. Their café’s ethos is to form a closed loop – the menu says that all the produce is ”milled, rolled, fermented, baked, preserved, dried and roasted while organic waste composted and returned to grow again’.

The menu is small but evidently a lot of care has gone into the ingredients and the chef Stefano Rosi hails from Café Vue and Vue du Monde. To start (and to make up for not being at yoga class) I order a kale, apple, grapes, kiwi and almond milk smoothie ($7), a good way to absorb a hit of greenery to start the day.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 6 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Then onto a more substantial breakfast of house made baked beans with a spicy lamb sausage, two perfectly poached eggs and an oven roasted tomato ($20). It’s colourful and filling and the sausage provides a good hit of chilli.

Hawthorn Common 302 Burwood Road Hawthorn 3 HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

The brunch menu starts at 11:30am and includes small snacks, salads, tasting plates (a platter of carrots anyone?) before moving into meals proper, such as the ox pie with pickles which caught my eye.

Hawthorn Common is an impressive undertaking. They espouse the term ‘sustainability’ in a practical way, not just mouthing the words on their menu, and they’ve built a community-minded space for Hawthorn locals. The food is virtuous without being smug and most importantly, it’s delicious.

Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn 03 9819 2200

Mon to Thu 7am – 4pm
Fri 7 am – 11pm
Sat to Sun 7am – 4pm

minilink HOT: Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Axil Coffee Roasters 322 Burwood Rd Hawthorn 3 HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Why did the blogger (who doesn’t drink coffee) cross town to visit Axil Coffee Roasters in Hawthorn?

No, not to get to the other side. Because Axil Coffee Roasters do more than just roast coffee – they put on a magnificent spread from the kitchen, 7 days a week starting from the wee hours of the morning.

Axil Coffee Roasters 322 Burwood Rd Hawthorn 2 HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

The signage outside the venue is understated and you wouldn’t imagine that behind the awning there’s a vast warehouse space filled with a black walls, polished concrete, greenery and timber. Not to mention a coffee roastery and barista training school too – all behind glass so you can have a gawp on your way to the loos.

Axil Coffee Roasters 322 Burwood Rd Hawthorn 1 HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

This is one serious cafe.

Anyway, it goes without saying that the coffee must be excellent (the cafe won Best Coffee in The Age Good Cafe Guide 2013), so let’s switch to the food. It was pretty adventurous fare and made it difficult to choose.

Axil Coffee Roasters 322 Burwood Rd Hawthorn 5 HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Because I’m a huge smoked salmon fan I went with the housemade salmon pastrami ($20). It was a generous mound of thinly sliced and lightly spiced raw fish draped over a tangy yellow pickled zucchini and some crunchy celeriac croquettes. The wobbly poached egg on top oozed yolk so luckily for the spoonful of beetroot relish cutting through the richness. It was a beautifully presented tower of breakfast with lots of bright hues and vivid flavours.

Axil Coffee Roasters 322 Burwood Rd Hawthorn 4 HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Not content to try just one breakfast dish I ordered a breakfast dessert – red velvet pancakes. These are cupcakes disguised in pancake form! Three ethereally light deep crimson pancakes topped with a decadent mix of raspberries and a cream cheese ganache instead of the usual cream cheese frosting ($16.50). The cherry on top was the inky black sesame icecream which added a cool intensity to the mix. These spectacular pancakes are not to be missed if you have a sweet tooth!

I was delighted with the service at Axil Coffee Roasters too. They didn’t raise an eyebrow when I declined to order coffee and brought me newspapers and the food very promptly. As I was leaving the tables were starting to fill up with cyclists and young families doing the early morning shift.

With a reputation for good coffee and food of such excellent quality, no doubt Axil Coffee Roasters will continue to attract people needing that hit of caffeine and/or interesting, well-priced meals.

Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn (03) 9819 0091

Mon to Sun 7:00 am – 4:00 pm

minilink HOT: Axil Coffee Roasters, 322 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn 1 HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn
Everyone has their own favourite yum cha destinations. I’m usually a fan of Shark Fin House and Golden Dragon Palace – and now I think they’re both topped by my recent visit to Tao Tao House

Tao Tao House came recommended via my (Chinese) parents’ (Chinese) friends – the Chinese expat grapevine is a great source for food tips in Melbourne! I’d never heard of it but the chef Jason Au was the head dim sum chef at Flower Drum for nearly 20 years and prior to establishing his own place worked at Golden Dragon Palace.

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn 2 HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

The restaurant isn’t particularly big and isn’t like one of those Eastern Suburb behemoths that occupy a huge block with heaps of off-street parking. Therefore, it’s best to make a booking before you arrive – on weekdays yum cha is from 12-3pm and on busier weekends they have two sessions at 11am and 1pm.

The decor is standard-issue Chinese – gold leaf, large murals, stone lions and bamboo sheltering patrons from dull views and the noise of Glenferrie Road traffic. It is, however, quite refined for a yum cha restaurant, with plush grape-purple chairs and a sedate atmosphere as opposed to the usual frenetic pushiness you’ll find during the yum cha feeding frenzy. Having said that, the food comes quickly and steadily, pushed around on trolleys (you have to order from the menu on weekdays).

What I found most impressive about the dim sum at Tao Tao House was their consistently high quality. From deep-fried morsels to shortcrust pastry to crystal dumpling wrapping, it was all made well with excellent textures and a fine balance of flavours.

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn 8 HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Highlights included the dainty chicken pies with their lids of sweet crumbly shortcrust and the warm-out-of-the-oven egg custard tarts.

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn 4 HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

The prawn and corn dumplings and tortellini-shaped scallop dumplings were juicy morsels with pliant wrappers that were not gluey or sticky – a bellwether for a high quality yum cha restaurant.

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn 3 HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Tao Tao House 815 Glenferrie Rd Hawthorn 7 HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

Finally my favourite, the perfect spheres of fluffy white buns with an egg custard filling speckled with shredded coconut.

Such excellent quality yum cha may be expensive, especially if you order a lot of their seafood specialities. Our table of 2 adults and 2 toddlers ate just over $100 in dim sum! While we probably ordered a little more than usual in order to try a wide variety of dishes, don’t necessarily expect the Tao Tao House experience to come cheap (though it will be cheerful). Nevertheless, I will definitely be returning.

Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn (03) 9818 0968

Mon – Thu: 12:00 am – 10:00 pm
Fri: 12:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sat: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm

minilink HOT: Tao Tao House, 815 Glenferrie Rd, Hawthorn

HOT Chat: Braeden Lord of Aussie Farmers Direct

Bizarre as it sounds, one of my hobbies is grocery shopping. I’m not talking about trawling the fluorescent aisles of a mega-supermarket, but rather poking around farmers markets, ethnic grocery stores and fancy providores.

However, given my recent lack of mobility due to pregnancy and a newborn baby, I’ve fully embraced the concept of online grocery delivery. After asking the Twitterverse for recommendations, the most common response was Aussie Farmers Direct. The business has their headquarters in Melbourne but they deliver fresh products all around Australia, and so far my orders have varied from their fruit and veg boxes (I like the ‘mystery box’ element it adds to my cooking), excellent salmon fillets, milk and bread staples and Glick’s bagels.

Braeden Lord FruitnVeg 270x300 HOT Chat: Braeden Lord of Aussie Farmers DirectToday’s HOT Chat is with Braeden Lord, the big boss of Aussie Farmers Direct. Thanks Braeden!

Braeden, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to head up Aussie Farmers Direct?

Great fresh food has been my life, my career and my passion! I began my career sweeping the floors of a bakery as a young boy and worked my way up through the ranks.

My background in fresh food, franchising and national retailing meant that I had the experience needed to oversee the different aspects of the Aussie Farmers Direct business. This involves sourcing premium fresh food from around Australia which is then home delivered by milko franchisees in the major cities and regional areas across the country.

What makes Aussie Farmers Direct different from other grocery delivery companies in Australia?

Aussie Farmers Direct is 100% Australian. Our mantra is to support Australian farmers by delivering, to thousands of homes, a wide range of 100% Australian products including fresh fruit and vegetables, meat, milk and other fresh food essentials. Families love the ease and competitive value of the service.

Our product range is 100% Australian grown, made and owned and it’s fresh! For example much of our fruit and vegetables are delivered within 48 hours of being harvested.

By ordering with Aussie Farmers Direct you are supporting Australian farmers and your local milko, as well as reducing your carbon footprint as our products are all sourced within Australia. Plus less time shopping means more time with family.

MG 8172FinalL 1 300x201 HOT Chat: Braeden Lord of Aussie Farmers Direct

I notice that Aussie Farmers Direct has just established its own dairy. Where else do you source your produce from?

Most of our produce is sourced within the state that its delivered to and comes from major fruit and vegetable growing regions such as Victoria’s Yarra Valley and Goulburn Valley, the Murrumbidgee Irrigation Area in New South Wales, plus a lot of our tropical fruit comes from Far North Queensland. Our apple juice comes from Tasmania, our yoghurts are made in Melbourne, most of our pork comes from an RSPCA approved farm in the Otway ranges in south-western Victoria… no matter what region our products are sourced from, you can be guaranteed EVERYTHING comes from Australia.

Since you started as CEO, what has been the most challenging issue you’ve faced?

Guaranteeing 100% Australian supply in everything we do is an ongoing challenge. We are committed to providing only Australian grown, made and owned products and as our customer base grows across the country there’s a real challenge in providing wholly Australian food in the quantities we need.

What are your next plans for Aussie Farmers Direct?

Crate sml 1 300x271 HOT Chat: Braeden Lord of Aussie Farmers Direct

This year our two main focuses are launching our dairy in Camperdown, which produces fresh, delicious milk that is 100% Australian owned, together with launching Aussie Farmers Foundation which is a not for profit provider that works to help farmers in need and improve the future of Australia’s agriculture industry. Both of these projects will bring us closer to the farming community.

In terms of new products, we’ve just launched hot cross buns and spreadable butter in time for Easter. We also have a new range of sliced deli meats available and Australian-grown tea is on the agenda.

Finally, where are your tips for HOT foodie places you like in Melbourne?

For a weekend breakfast you can’t beat Replete Providore (302 Barkers road, Hawthorn +61 3 9818 4448). It’s a friendly café run by a young couple which stands alone next to a 7/11. They have a great seasonal menu board of home-made breakfasts including my favourite home-made kidney and white ‘baked beans’. My kids love their range of muffins – the service and quality is great, the only hassle is that it’s hard to get in!

HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas Trees

It’s fitting that the last HOT Chat for the year is a Christmas-themed one. I found out about Eco Christmas Trees via Twitter and was immediately captured by the idea of  having a real live Christmas tree in my home, without the waste that goes into cutting down a tree and then disposing of it afterwards.

logo tagline green HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas Trees

Eco Christmas Trees is effectively a tree rental service whereby you are delivered a live potted tree for Christmas and then it is taken away to be replanted, ready for use again next year (and the year after that, and the year after that….).  I have ordered my 1.75m Cypress for delivery next week but in the meantime today’s HOT Chat is with Anna Brockhurst, the founder of Eco Christmas Trees. Thanks Anna!

Delivery Girl 225x300 HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas TreesAnna, tell me a bit more about your background and how you came to start Eco Christmas Trees?

I am a freelance business consultant that works with businesses to help them manage changes successfully.  Last year whilst waiting for a project to commence I found I had some extra time leading up to Christmas and I decided to start a business to rent live potted Christmas trees.

It has always been a pet peeve of mine to see dead brown trees on the nature strip after Christmas.  They make me feel sad and frustrated at the disposable world we now live in. So I stopped moaning and started Eco Christmas trees to offer people a different option for their Christmas tree solution.  This way you can have your tree for Christmas without having to throw it away once you have done with it.

What makes your Christmas trees ‘eco’?

The eco refers to the living nature of our trees.  They are replanted after Christmas so your tree will continue to live and exchange CO2 into oxygen. Did you know that in one year, an average tree inhales 12 kilograms of CO2 and exhales enough oxygen for a family of four for a year! (Source United Nations Environment Programme).

By renting an Eco Christmas Tree, you don’t end a tree’s ecological cycle by cutting down a living tree, or impact green house emissions by the production of plastic.

Where do you source your trees?

Our trees come from growers local to Melbourne and are always unique to that year growing patterns.  For example this year has been so cold the trees are not as full as last year yet they are more whimsical and have more interesting shapes than the previous year.

Depot 1 1024x768 HOT Chat: Anna Brockhurst from Eco Christmas Trees

What has been the most challenging thing you’ve faced in starting up your own business? What advice would you give to a small business owner?

After working in corporate environments for so long I found the personal nature of starting a small business quite challenging. An eco Christmas tree is not for everyone, and when you believe in something it’s hard to not think everyone will want one, or even that they might try one year and not take another in the next year.

You have to learn to trust what you are doing and not take things so personally.  Take the compliments and the enjoyment from the people who love it and ignore any criticism unless it’s constructive, this way you can use your energy in planning and moving forward rather than sweating the small stuff.

What are your next plans for Eco Christmas Trees?

I would love to take it to Sydney and Adelaide next year; plans are afoot which is exciting.

Finally, where are your favourite places to visit or things to do in Melbourne around Christmas time?

I have just spent most of this year in the UK working so I am craving decent coffee.  Oliv sells amazing olive oils and makes the best coffee (328 Auburn Road Hawthorn +61 3 9818 3122 ).

I am looking forward to a Christmas dinner with the girls at Ananda (197 Gertrude St, Fitzroy +61 3 9415 6101) and have been reminded of the funkiness of Melbourne with an always-delicious Thai dinner at Cookie (1/252 Swanston Street, Melbourne +61 3 9663 7660).

HOT: Coffee Hit, 81 Church Street, Hawthorn

One of the pieces of feedback I received from the MEL: HOT OR NOT Reader Survey 2010 was that you wanted to see more reviews from other people. I’m decisive, but I’m not necessary the Gospel According To Joyce.

That’s why you’ll be seeing more guest posts soon, from previous guest-posters to newbies. Today we welcome Melbourne blogger Ceri (otherwise known as Healthy Party Girl), who checked out great coffee in Kew. Thanks Ceri!

image001 HOT: Coffee Hit, 81 Church Street, Hawthorn

For those that complain about the lack of decent cafes in Kew, your prayers have been answered by Coffee Hit.

A fresh, new café and soon-to-be roasting house, Coffee Hit boasts young baristas with over twenty years of experience between them, the best Veneziano coffee, homemade food, and a fresh outlook on the café scene. I discovered this one just recently and will be making my way down as often as possible from now on. They’re so new that they don’t even have a website or business cards, and the most obvious address is taken by the just-sold store in Westfield Doncaster.

image005 HOT: Coffee Hit, 81 Church Street, Hawthorn

The young, funky team have already acquired regular customers and on Sunday afternoons they come in for a late breakfast and a chat, sharing the space with new faces that have discovered the recently opened corner shop. Owner Troy likes to have his fingers in as many pies as possible and is looking forward to starting the in-house bean roasting as soon as possible while juggling a young family and still being all hands on bar.

I shared an early afternoon snack with a friend while chatting to Troy as he demolished the eye-catching breakfast salad: poached eggs, bacon, feta, capsicum, rocket, avocado and croutons. In fact, all the food looks amazing. The counter displays home made muffins, paninis, tarts and slices – everything is made in-house apart from the bread & croissants which are brought in from a quality bakery in Port Melbourne.

image003 HOT: Coffee Hit, 81 Church Street, Hawthorn

Other drool-worthy menu items include the Hit Man Breakfast (complete with home made hash browns) and the Breakfast Bruschetta (smashed avocado, tomato, fetta and white balsamic) but the one thing you must try is the coffee. Troy and Sean effortlessly smash out perfect lattes, cappuccinos and macchiatos with gorgeous latte art and a cheeky grin. It’s obvious these boys have a passion for coffee and that’s before the cup even reaches your lips. Take a seat out the back or soak up the sun and the view with the paper at the big table in the front section.

It’s the details that really make Coffee Hit a lovely place to visit, from the Aesop products in the bathroom, the fridge full of organic bottled beverages, the menu clipboards hanging from hardware pegboard and the fresh daisies in little bottles all around the place, all giving Coffee Hit that fresh, laid-back and modern feel.

If you can’t get to Kew, you might be lucky enough to pass by one of their associated mobile coffee carts at Elwood Park for the occasional race day Sunday or on Burwood Highway (outside Beaurepairs) on weekday mornings. But for me, I’m hanging out for a latte from one of Troy’s own roasts. Lovely!

minilink HOT: Coffee Hit, 81 Church Street, Hawthorn

HOT Chat: Karishma Kasabia of Miss Kish

Regular readers may know that I stumbled upon Miss Kish’s blog a couple of months ago and developed a huge blog crush. Then when I met the lovely Karishma of Miss Kish in real life, I developed a bit of a crush on her too. We’re now working on an exciting new project together! Read on for my latest HOT Chat.

OneTreeHill HOT Chat: Karishma Kasabia of Miss Kish

Karishma, tell me a bit more about your background in design and how you started Miss Kish?

I was actually always intimidated by art – especially when I moved to New Zealand in 2000. It was only because a friend saw my doodles and told me that I should try graphic design that I decided to take my distraction in physics and chemistry classes to another level!

Since then, it’s been a Bachelor in Art & Design at Auckland University of Technology, a semester on exchange at University of Creative Arts in the UK and a Masters in Art & Design at Monash University in Melbourne.

I started my design company Miss Kish in 2008. It was just after the recession had hit – and I had found myself miserable in a brand new job. I was terrified of quitting – and I knew how hard it would be to find a new job within Melbourne’s tightly knit design community.

I don’t know why – but my husband V kept saying “Just quit and everything will work out – you can do it on your own.”

And so one day I had a full time job, secure income – absolute minimal satisfaction. The next day I had no job, was terrified because I couldn’t see ahead – but for some reason, I was deliriously happy.

I also had an epic mentor – Ross – from Floate Design Partners – who would get my annoying progress updates and always managed to respond supportively.

What’s a typical work day for you?

I’m going to use yesterday!

7am – check emails, toast with marmite & avocado with chai

9am – get to the office, flip through books on identity design which leads me to work on the branding for a company which retails snowboarding products.

10:30am – check accounts and reply through emails.

11am – around this time I start to get a bit overactive on Twitter, so today I’ve caught up with Rach from the Nutritious Catering Company to discuss her website and current promotional collateral.

NCC HOT Chat: Karishma Kasabia of Miss Kish12pm – I get hungry at 11:45. Often I’ll have a homemade lunch, but when things are crazy at work, I keep some Pitango soup – the Leek & Spinach is my favourite.

During my lunch break – I catch up on blogs; Sea of Shoes, Brand New, Eye Blog, Garance Doré and of course MEL: HOT OR NOT.

1pm – back to the grind. I worked on wedding invitations for a sweet couple who wanted something simple and gorgeous.

2pm – collating files and organising chunks of text for an extensive website for a multinational company which sells fertilizers to the Australian market.

4:30pm – popped out to Readings for a break. I love to browse through their books, feel tempted, then walk through to the back and have an iced coffee with V.

7pm– catch up with Jess for dinner at a cool place we found online. Which of course, I then proceed to blog about!

10:30pm – pack in a bit of Sherlock Holmes Volume 1 before collapse.

What are some of the most interesting or challenging projects that you’ve worked on?

I’m a vegetarian and I was asked by Top Cut Meats to work on them with their promotional collateral. Looking at what they initially started with (lots and lots of meat imagery – straight from the butcher) and where their collateral is now at, you can see an extensive difference. It was a fun series of briefs where I would have to ask stupid questions like “why is it called sausage kransky?” and try and convince my client to try mock meat. Epic.TopCut HOT Chat: Karishma Kasabia of Miss Kish

Kristina Holdorf from Urban Fresh is working on Forest Stewardship Council certified wrapping paper. Last year she requested me to start working on a series of wraps which customers can also purchase as art pieces. Being more a fine art brief involving graphic design technicalities – I was super excited. It was a very, very open brief and after much research and discussion – I showed Kristina the first series and she loved it.

UrbanFresh HOT Chat: Karishma Kasabia of Miss Kish

What are your next plans for Miss Kish?

Urgent Plans:
Hire a junior! [NOW DONE! YAY]

Long Term Plans:

Make Miss Kish carbon neutral and offer this option for client’s print work

Have a small studio with high ceilings and designed interiors and 5-6 lovely people who hang out for drinks after work on Friday because they want to.

What advice would you give to someone starting their own business?

Follow your gut – not everyone else’s.

Always have a theme song. Mine is ‘Shine’ – I know it’s very cheesy, but it works.

Hold on tightly to those who don’t doubt you.

Aych HOT Chat: Karishma Kasabia of Miss KishWhere do you turn for design advice and inspiration?

Design advice – friends (V, Piper, Greer, Sash), + mentors. My hugest mentors are V and my Dad. Both are business men – something I never wanted to be, and they both give me the realistic perspective that a designer needs every now. Other great mentors have been Floate Design Partners, Ros Lawson Design and Intense Design.

I’m a huge fan of art galleries, RSS feeds, whatever I see on the streets. I also love finding new music (the one place MySpace still holds merit) and so often when I find that new song and hook it on repeat, I find the design comes smooth and fast.

Finally, what are your tips for what’s HOT in Melbourne?

Creative Women’s Circle – fantastic talks with real people.

Readings – usually I’m a huge fan of interiors – but Readings on Glenferrie Rd (701 Glenferrie Road) now feels like home to me – and they have these lovely fig muffin thingees that V & I fight over.

DOC (295 Drummond St, Carlton). They do these amazing rolls called Rotolo (Joyce….. I hope I’ve got it right) – with bocconcini and tomato and basil. Once we were really cheeky and ask them to do a takeaway and they happily obliged.

I also subscribe to the White Hat Newsletter – which I think is the hottest thing as far as markets and events go. They are super thorough and have a way of describing the events, so I can tell if it’s a Kish event or not!

Kid Sam – a Melbourne band I like muchly.

You can contact Karishma at Miss Kish, 22A Liddiard St. Hawthorn + 61 4 2274 2304

For more HOT Chats with interesting Melburnians, click here.

HOT: A Single Man, Rivoli Cinemas, 200 Camberwell Road, East Hawthorn

single man ver2 xlg 202x300 HOT: A Single Man, Rivoli Cinemas, 200 Camberwell Road, East HawthornColin Firth won a BAFTA a few days ago with his role as George Falconer in A Single Man. If you watch this film you’ll see why.

The first foray of Tom Ford, uber-fashion designer, into film is an intense and elegiac work about the nature of love, loneliness, repression and the small poignant moments in life. In A Single Man Firth plays an English professor living in Los Angeles who is trying to cope with the death of Jim, his partner of sixteen years. Jim’s family were not going to tell George of the death and did not permit him to attend the funeral, and George’s inability to publicly mourn his terrible broken heart leads him to decide to kill himself.

Based on Christopher Isherwood’s novel of the same name, the story starts from as the morning alarm goes off in his immaculate designer home, which provides no joy or comfort. We then watch as George gets his affairs in order before his planned suicide that evening. He says goodbye to his flighty friend Charley (played to perfection by Julianne Moore with a rich and indolent English accent), withdraws his insurance papers from his safety deposit box, makes an effort to compliment his secretary and housekeeper and lays out instructions as to what he will wear in his coffin.

These activities are all shadowed by a bleached-out shade of grey and his brief encounters with various people over the course of the day, including his intense student Kenny Potter (Nicholas Hoult of Skins fame), the pretty child next door and a Spanish gigolo are the only events that bring colour, literally, to his life.

Tom Ford’s background as a fashion designer particularly suited this film I thought because it is all about the nuances of details. Besides the distinctive use or lack of colour to mark sadness and light, Ford seemed particularly fond of extreme close-ups – of eyes, mouths, hands, cigarette ends. I guess all the little details that become distinct and noteworthy when you know you’re about to die.

[Spoiler alert] Not having read the book I didn’t know how the film would conclude but for some reason I didn’t expect the ending – I guess I was hoping that new love might relieve George from his grief and loneliness. As it was I came out of the cinema hugging RM tightly and being grateful that I was not alone.

HOT: Penang Coffee House, 549 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

P10206761 700x1024 HOT: Penang Coffee House, 549 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Penang Coffee House is the kind of reliable takeaway that everyone wants in their neighbourhood. No frills plastic furniture, hosed-down tiled flooring, a good place to take kids, BYO and large servings of Malay/Thai/Indian/Straits food.

RM and I shared a plate of run-of-the-mill samosas (5.80), a tasty but rather soy-soaked hokkien mee ($11.20) and a spicy char kway teo (good but still not matching our benchmark of the dish at Kiasu in London) ($11.20). It’s not a place that you’re going to take a first date (that stark flourescent light isn’t very flattering), but the surroundings are low-key and comfortable, and it’s good eating and good value. Just a tip – they only take cash, so be prepared.

For other great Malaysian fare, try Old Town Kopitiam Mamak and Malaysian Oriental Wok.

minilink HOT: Penang Coffee House, 549 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn