HOT: Fuguzza, Shop 5A, 31 Equitable Place, Melbourne

As Jetsetting Joyce one of my claims to fame is that I have visited Rome five times. I love the city and have a few favourite (eating) haunts, one of which is Lo Zozzone. Down a secluded alleyway, it’s a local panini and pizza bar staffed by a bunch of Filipono Italians. You get a ticket, pay 3 euros and get to pick 3 ingredients for your giant panini. They slice all of their proscuitto, mortadella and other cold cuts on the spot and the mozzarella is delicious.

So when I heard about Fugazza I was hoping that it would be my Lo Zozzone in Melbourne. Fugazza also serves Italian style sandwiches in a bustling lane off Little Collins Street and I had read good reports about the quality of their foccacias.

Fugazza is a passion project for Simon Michelangeli, a Melburnian with Italian roots who couldn’t find the kind of bread and espresso he enjoyed in Tuscany when he returned home. Simon was very friendly on my visit, helping me choose between the sausage and pork sandwich (the answer = half of each!) while still working the tills and clearing tables in his tiny establishment. Nice to see an owner who’s passionate about his business and not too lofty to do some grunt work.

The Fugazza menu is easy to navigate – there are four focaccia fillings plus one special and you can opt to pair it with some of Nonno Michelangeli’s Tuscan vegetable and bean soup or salad. Drinks come in the form of their own roasted blend of Italian coffee and Italian soft-drinks.

The key to the food is the bread, which is a light sourdough which has been baked especially for Fugazza  in Melbourne using Simon’s recipe, which took 6 months of experimentation and development. It comes baked with a thin crunchy exterior under the featherlight dough, the polar opposite to foccacias squashed into a brick by a sandwich press.

Out of the fillings I tried I highly recommend the melting slow cooked porchetta with roasted pumpkin, as I found the pork sausage, stracchino cheese, caramelised onion and parsely combo a little bland. The broccoli and basil salad was a wholesome side with lots of crunchy greenery.

To finish off your lunch, particularly in cool weather, I recommend the thick Barbagliata hot chocolate from Italian company Moretto. It’s the kind of drink you have to eat with a spoon and the thick sweet concoction will warm you from inside out.

On Saturdays Fugazza can now be found at Melbourne Flea, a new weekly market in Docklands. Look out for their restored 1970s Millard truck serving the same excellent sandwiches, soups and salads.

For other excellent sandwiches in the CBD, try N. Lee Bakery, Little Mule and Waffle On.

Fugazza, Shop 5A, 31 Equitable Place, Melbourne +61 402 125 286
Mon to Fri 7am–3pm

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HOT: Rumi’s 40 Days of Lent with Joseph Abboud, The Essential Ingredient, Prahran Market, Elizabeth St, South Yarra

Happy Easter!

If you were observing Lent you are probably celebrating the end of the 40 days with some feasting today. While I’m not religious I am interested in the rituals and traditions of Lent, so I recently attended a demonstration class at The Essential Ingredient with Joseph Abboud, the chef/owner of contemporary Middle Eastern restaurant, Rumi, entitled ‘Rumi’s 40 days of Lent’.

Rumi has been on my to-eat list for a while but my weak excuse for not getting there so far is that it only opens evenings, when my outings are somewhat restricted by a young baby. But after attending Joseph’s class I have renewed vigour for getting myself out to try his take on Turkish, Lebanese and Persian cuisine.

Before attending the class I also had a preconceived notion that demonstration classes were a bit of a waste of time when there were so many chefs I could watch on TV. Now I know the difference is like watching a music concert on a screen and attending the gig. The experience is much more satisfactory in real life and what I didn’t realise is that you actually get to taste the food being demonstrated as well! I thought you just sat around watching an upside-down mirror and taking notes.

Anyway, this demonstration class was themed as a Lentan feast. Over the course of 2.5 hours Joseph and his assistant demonstrated five traditional Lebanese dishes typical of the more restrained meals eaten during Lent – lots of vegetables, mostly vegan fare. If this is fasting, then I’m all for it!

Eggplant M’nazleh. Cubes of deep-fried eggplant folded though a slow-cooked tomato, onion, chilli, cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg sauce. As a variation Joseph also sliced the eggplants and deep-fried them until very dark, which I preferred.

Deep fried cauliflower florets (meant to look very dark brown) with caramelised onions, currants and pine nuts. This dish has been on the menu at Rumi since day one and is a delicious way to serve a very underrated vegetable.

Baked fish with homemade tahini and toasted almonds, pine nuts and walnuts. Joseph buys his nuts and other Mediterranean ingredients from Miramar Nut Shop (313 Lygon St, Brunswick +61 3 9387-6805), Basfoods (419 Victoria St Brunswick +61 3 9381 1444) while his olive oil is locally made by Pitruzello Estate (25 Deverall Rd Sunbury +61 3 5428 3055).

Green beans braised with onion and garlic. The kind of dish that his mum would leave on the stove before going to church and it’d be ready when she returned. I’ve never eaten braised beans before and was surprised to find that grey, soggy looking beans can be very appetising!

Ma’mool – date filled biscuits to celebrate Easter and the end of Lent. Date paste is not a traditional filling and Joseph’s approach to cooking is not to change the traditional recipe unless it tastes better or improves the original.

And finally, the decorated eggs that you saw at the top of this post. These look like wood-turned eggs and the trick is to knot the egg inside a stocking with a parsley leaf then put the egg into a pot of onion skins (red or brown) to dye the outer shell. The flavour inside isn’t affected and the parsley leaf creates a delicate stencil pattern.

If all the chat and tasting about food isn’t enough to get you to a cooking class, as an attendee of a class you get a 6% discount off your purchases at The Essential Ingredient. While drooling over the shelves of delectable goodies I ended up raiding their discount shelves of biscuits, spice mixes, panettone and cycling home with a Himalayan salt brick :–)

The Essential Ingredient runs a cooking class schedule throughout the year of local and international chefs that would make your mouth water. Check out the schedule here and book early.

Rumi’s 40 Days of Lent with Joseph Abboud, The Essential Ingredient, Prahran Market, Elizabeth St, South Yarra +61 3 9827 9047

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HOT: Afternoon tea, Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio, 647 Chapel St, South Yarra

For a pre-Easter treat Gourmet Chick and I cycled down to South Yarra dressed in ladylike garb to partake in an afternoon tea at Burch and Purchese. Though really we should have worn  our Mad Hats as the afternoon was definitely a trip to Wonderland.

In the pink and brown confection of a store you will find chocolates and desserts unlike anything that you’ve seen before – each one a work of art combining unexpected ingredients with a dusting of magic (cue popping candy), all presented in the most delectable displays. One of everything please!

For special occasions Burch and Purchese offer the most exclusive afternoon tea event in town. One table of four people max, one session on Saturdays and Sundays only. The afternoon tea is held in a separate area between the kitchen and the dessert cabinet and is bounded by an awe-inspiring ‘inspiration wall’ – floor-to-ceiling laboratory jars of neatly labelled ingredients. Science meets sweetness indeed.

The event styling is Willy Wonka-esque down to the finest detail, such as the cutlery mat, a pillow of sugar syrup filled with dessert ingredients from cinnamon sticks to Turkish delight.

The $95 experience includes a behind the scenes tour of the Sweet Studio, an afternoon tea menu with tea and mineral water with morsels based around the traditional high tea fancies of sandwiches, scones and pastries – but what you get on the day is up to the chef’s whim. Be prepared to be surprised and delighted.

To start, a choice to T2 teas served in hot pink china cups and saucers. I highly recommend the French Earl Grey and the Chai (though skip the honey and milk, you’ll be ingesting enough dairy and sugar).

I won’t bore you with lists of ingredients and just let the photos speak for themselves. First up, an artful ‘gin and tonic’ refresher with marshmallows, grapefruit, dehydrated fruit and honeycomb.

Although Burch and Purchese are famous for their desserts they still offer some savoury food as part of the afternoon tea. The perfect little chicken sandwich, a deconstructed egg and watercress sandwich and a tomato, basil and olive ‘salad’. The sugared basil leaf and little orbs of olive infused gel were particularly remarkable.

Watch magic happen before your eyes! For ‘scones and jam’ Mr Magician aka Darren Purchese made tiramisu icecream using liquid nitrogen and coupled it with a coffee ‘scone’ crumble and coffee syrup.

A bit of a break while we wait for the final desserts. Time for a backstage tour!

The purpose built chocolate spraying  room. These are where your magical Easter eggs are finished. Very Jackson Pollock.

And now the finale! A two-tiered glass shelf with the B&P version of an opera slice with white chocolate, coffee and a very strong aniseed flavour, a black forest eclair and a tube of their best-selling (and my favourite) chocolate and mandarin cake.

Then the bottom tier – their best-selling coconut, ginger, passionfruit and mint cake.

Banana caramel and chocolate – classic combination done with a twist.

Strawberry, raspberry and coconut, which may be coming off the menu in the future so get in quick!

Apparently no one has every finished the whole afternoon tea set and even two food bloggers were defeated by the number of dishes. I was feeling quite dizzy towards the end! But I’m proud to say apparently I have gotten the furthest of anyone they’ve had in yet :–)

However, not content to go home with a box of leftovers, I also bought some of their unmissable gold bars of salted caramel dipped in dark chocolate and gold dust and the quinoa and orange malted sprinkle. RM scoffed the former when I wasn’t looking (argh!) and the latter went onto my breakfast the next morning – vanilla poached quinces and yoghurt. Makes it look so fancy!

Before you get too excited, the afternoon tea is no longer available (they are completing bookings that have already been made in May) as they are concentrating on launching an evening dessert bar opening sometime in mid/late April. So there is still something to get excited about!

For other amazing dessert in Melbourne, try LuxBite and Pierre Roelofs at Cafe Rosamond.

Afternoon tea, Burch and Purchese Sweet Studio, 647 Chapel St, South Yarra +61 3 9827 7060

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HOT: Pei Modern, 45 Collins St, Melbourne

Pei Modern is a two-faced affair.

The old post office has been gutted and transformed into a Mark Best (Marque), Peter Bartholomew and David Mackintosh (MoVida) project.  On stage right is the fine-dining area which is very relaxed in its outlook – no starched tablecloths, no gilded chandeliers. On the other side is a café/bar offering the excellent food and service you’d expect from a fine dining experience.

The restaurant’s homage to famous architect I.M. Pei is not that he designed the transformation but he in fact worked on the Collins Place building in which  Pei Modern now stands.

We decided to eschew the $30+ main courses for our workday lunch and headed towards curved wooden arches of the cafe area. The café splits the menu into a few bites, three or four medium sized, a similar number of larger, main course-style dishes and cheese/desserts. It’s mix-and-match dining – you can choose a few small dishes, or one main meal or share a bunch of different dishes.

At the cafe we were welcomed warmly by a waiter who explained the philosophy of the menu, answered questions about various dishes and gave his recommendations from the blackboard options. I was most impressed with the time he spent with us while we dithered this way and that with our choices.

When the real lunch hour rush started and the tables started filling up I noticed that his standard of service didn’t waiver. I overheard him patiently explaining the menu again and again with enthusiasm. His commitment to providing consistently high quality service was noted by everyone at my table and on that sole basis I’d recommend Pei Modern.

Not that the food isn’t also consistently excellent.

From the small dishes we had the brandade croquettes ($8 for 4), pillowy bites of salted cod, potato and herbs lightly deep-fried with a light crunchy shell. As you’d expect from a MoVida relation,  Pei Modern made excellent croquettes – the mixture was loosely packed and not dense with just mashed potato. Our other choice from the bite-sized dishes was the cuca sardines with tomato jam ($6). To be plain, sardines on toast done really well, with a hunk of fresh flaky fish on a smear of concentrated summer tomatoes, offset by a hemisphere of tart green tomato.

For mains our waiter highly recommended the lamp chop with pumpkin ($24) so we tried the large slab of meat on the bone, cooked to pink, accompanied with several large rustic slices of roast pumpkin. Not very photogenic but simple and honest fare.

We also had Bullhorn peppers with mozzarella and majoram ($13), a riff on the classic Caprese salad with soft cheese, very sweet roasted peppers and a pretty sprinkling of herbs. The prettiest salad I’ve ever seen!

The highlight was the rabbit risotto with radicchio ($21), a large bowl of plump, perfectly cooked rice mixed with braised shreds of rabbit meat, topped with crunchy purple leaves and finished with the distinct sweetness of maple syrup (mixed with balsamic vinegar). That hint of sweetness in every few bites was just enough to counter the acquired taste of the sharp bite of radicchio.

The menu changes daily, even several times daily, depending on what fresh produce the chefs have on hand. I noticed that ingredients from Thursday night’s menu such as the roast rabbit, radicchio and peppers appeared in the Friday lunch menu sp what I ate may not necessarily be there tomorrow! Which is all the more reason to keep returning.

For dessert make your selection from some of the sweet nibbles on domed display at the bar. A finger of caramel, chocolate and shortbread with a salty golden dust ($3) and a crumbly pear frangipane tart ($7) and you’ll be set for sweets.

Their website is still a bit skimpy with menu details but as a guide for the fine-dining menu you’re looking at $14-18 for entrees (I hear the almond gazpacho with blue swimmer crab is unmissable), $28-$35 mains except for the dry aged porterhouse and $15 desserts.

For a review on Pei Modern’s fine-dining dinner options, check out The Chronicles of Ms I-Hua.

Pei Modern, 45 Collins St, Melbourne +61 3 9654 8545
Mon – Sun: 7:30 am – 1:00 am

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HOT: The SuperCool, Great Dane Loading Dock, Corner of Napier St & Johnston Sts, Fitzroy

How is it possible for The SuperCool to be so…well, cool?

The mobile emporium has just landed in the loading dock of the fantastic Great Dane furniture store (a great use of unused space if I’ve ever heard one). The curated collection of homewares, stationery, furnishings, accessories and general design-goodness has basically brought to life all of my favourite things in one spot. More vintage objects than I have room for in my house!

Vintage suitcases! Tick.

I have an addiction to vintage typewriters.

Lots of different sized and shaped wooden crates, containers, shelves and racks, including my favourite one for stationery/milk bottles.

Cute kids toys, including a cardboard kitchen and cards and puzzles.

I want to add to my collection of blackboard signs.

And finally, a wooden 70s something-or-rather for $40. Maybe a small umbrella stand? Magazine rack? Fancy stubby holder? It’s unclear what it actually is but I’m using it as a wine rack for now. What do you think?

Get in quick as every item is limited edition or one-offs and The SuperCool will only be at the Great Dane Loading Dock until Sunday 20 May.

The SuperCool, Great Dane Loading Dock, Corner of Napier St & Johnston Sts, Fitzroy

Thu,Fri, Sat 10am-4pm

Sun 11am-4pm

Closed Easter and 19-22 April

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HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

P1090297 317x540 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

Lux Foundry is one of the friendliest establishments I’ve been to recently and I can’t rave about it enough.

P1090256 384x540 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

The cafe is housed in a heritage listed building, an old stove foundry, and the decor has retained some of the rugged industrial elements while updating the look with enamel pendant lamps and classic Thonet chairs.

P1090260 540x352 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

Inside the building gasp-inducing cathedral ceilings give lots of light to the brushed concrete and exposed brick factory floor while the huge outdoor area in front means no fighting for seats and lots of space for kids to roam when the weather is warm.

P1090301 540x360 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

Besides your usual hip cafe crowd you’d expect in Brunswick the place draws cyclists, pram-pushing parents and dog owners all in need of a drink and some food. I found the staff to be welcoming and accommodating for all – the kind of place where you feel like they’d know your name if you were a regular.

A and I converged onto the cafe with kids and bikes in tow and on a weekday lunch hour it was like a pram convention. After a bit of faffing by us and patience from the waitress we finally ordered lunch – an Asian shredded chicken salad, cabbage, snow peas, peanuts with chilli, lime and sesame oil dressing ($16.50) and an egg and bacon La Madre panini with tomato relish ($10.50).

My salad was a fresh and crunchy affair, full of exuberant health with a kick of chilli to liven things up. A’s breakfast panini was fairly stock standard though good quality ingredients equals a sandwich that’s better than average.

P1090266 540x359 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

For dessert I trawled the glass cakes cabinet indecisively before one of the staff came to help me. His advice was to go for the berry coconut slice ($4) as it was his favourite – and my advice is to do the same! Indulge in a layers of sugar with your Genovese coffee ($3.50) or the creamy and fragrant LUX Chai Latte ($3.70).

P1090282 540x360 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

P1090265 442x540 HOT: Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick

The folks at Lux Foundry are so nice that they even let another business take up shop in their courtyard on Fridays! The Gumbo Kitchen food truck parks there every Friday night, serving gumbo, po’ boys and other Louisiana inspired food. Yet another reason to visit.

Lux Foundry, 21 Hope St, Brunswick +61 3 9387 8075

Mon-Fri 7.30 am -4.00 pm 
Sat-Sun 8.00 am – 5.00pm

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HOT: Red, Melbourne Theatre Company, Sumner Theatre, 140 Southbank Blvd, Southbank

I am not a fan of Mark Rothko.

However, there is a Rothko print hanging in my loungeroom because RM is a fan of Rothko. Which is also how we came to be in the audience for Red, Melbourne Theatre Company‘s production of the Tony award winning play by John Logan with Colin Friels starring as Rothko.

The construct is simple – the set is fixed as Rothko’s Manhattan studio in the 1950s and the play is a two-hander between Mark Rothko and his hapless young assistant. The dialogue (as there’s not much in the way of action) takes place against the work-in-progress backdrops of one of the most famous modern art commissions, murals for the Seagram’s Four Season’s restaurant.

Rothko is famous and rich and concerned with becoming an irrelevant old-timer in the face of Pop Art knocking Abstract Expressionism off the art pedestal. The characters discuss, yell and fight about art vs commercialism, how art should speak to viewers, Rothko’s disdain for the buyers of his art vs him ambition and the horrors of natural light. Rothko fans will be familiar with these views from his book The  Artist’s Reality.

Colin Friels and André de Vanny do an excellent job with the ideas-rich text. There’s no real plot, other than the progress of these of the Seagram landscapes, so it requires concentration from the actors and the audience to make sense of the flitting from one concept to another. That’s not to say that there is no structure – it’s a very tightly written piece which fits a lot of provocative thoughts into 90 minutes (no interval).

We all know how this story ends. Rothko decides to reject the Seagram’s commission and to protect the paintings. And I’ve seen some of these paintings in their monumental glory, lit as Rothko intended them – in a dark, somber environment, not hung in a noisy, moneyed restaurant. It’s the only piece of Rothko’s art that I actually like – and watching Red is an enjoyable way to somewhat understand the mind of this famous artist.

For more photos from the production check out MTC’s Flickr stream.

RedMelbourne Theatre Company, Sumner Theatre, 140 Southbank Blvd, Southbank
Season Dates 26 March to 5 May 2012


NOT: A Caterpillar’s Dream, Shop 4, 26 Princess St, Kew

A Caterpillar’s Dream is a glass-fronted cafe that looks out onto a supermarket carpark while the interior design is pretty non-descript standard-issue cafe style. The menu states that their dream is ‘[to] transform successfully like most caterpillars do, [so] we will see more butterflies soaring in the sky, and the whole world will become better…’ Huh?

Diving into the items on the menu it was clear that they lacked focus other than serving a whole lot of dishes under the overarching branch of ‘vegetarian’. It was the United Nations of dining out – the roll call included Japanese, Italian, Indian, Thai, Chinese, Vietnamese, Malaysian and French.

A little overwhelmed, Kish and I decided to stock to one page – the All Day Dining options. From there we selected the Veggie Thai Spicy Duck ($8.90), Veggie Peking Duck Wrap ($10.90), Homemade shallow fried dumplings ($7.90).

Out of those three options the dumplings were the best. A row of small neat dumplings arrived filled with carrot, cabbage, minced soya and ginger with a sticky teriyaki sauce. They were filling without being heavy and were nicely pan-fried on the base for crunch.

The spicy duck was also quite good, with a crispy batter covering slices of mock meat. The sauce was definitely not spicy though and I can’t say that there was anything particularly Thai about any of the flavours. I just happen to like mock duck.

The Peking Duck Wrap was not what I was expecting – little pancakes with mock duck inside, like how normal Peking Duck is served. It is actually more like a mock duck souvlaki and I can’t say that there was anything particularly Chinese, Pekingnese or duck-like about the whole dish.

Still a little hungry, we decided to go with a Veggie Chicken Satay Wrap ($7.95), which I think was a pre-made takeaway offerings in the glass cabinet. As you can see, it was a huge fistful of salad ingredients with nary a bit of fake chicken in sight. Not so great.

Desserts are housemade and I highly recommend the lemon meringue tart – a crumbly biscuit casing with smooth lemon curd and a marshmallow topping.

While A Caterpillar’s Dream is not an amazing dining out experience it does provide a lot of choice for vegetarians, a rarity, and out of the all the dishes we tried from the vast menu we did well 50/50 of the time, with the dessert the highlight.

However, based on our visit, it’s not somewhere I would return again, especially given the array of other dining out options around Kew Junction.

For other vegetarian-only restaurants, try Las Vegan and Englightened Cuisine.

A Caterpillar’s Dream, Shop 4 26 Princess St, Kew +61 3 9939 6133

Tuesday ~ Thursday: 8:30am~4:00pm

Friday ~ Saturday: 8:30am ~ 4:00pm / 5:30pm~9:00pm

Sunday : 9:00am~4:00pm

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HOT: Grub Food Van, 87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy

As far as food trends go, food trucks are almost passe in Melbourne these days.

So yes, while Grub Food Van has a kitchen inside a van, it’s a food truck which stays put and thus has some advantages over its competitors.

Specifically, staying in one spot means that it’s been able to put down roots. Literally. Walk past the carpeted dirt patch and there’s a whole kitchen garden sprouting in what is effectively a big back shed slash greenhouse.

And it’s awesome! Tomatoes, squash, herbs, lettuces, flowers, bizarre garden ornaments, ping-pong, fountains and a resident pooch – it’s like your favourite neighbour’s backyard which you can go and visit at any time (and where you’ll be served food and drinks) but you don’t have to do any of the maintenance. The undercover area means that you can hide away from the elements as the weather starts getting cooler.

The van itself is a beauty too, a bullet-shiny steel Airstream from the 60s.

The food is easy and straightforward as obviously the kitchen is restricted in size and stove power. Breakfast is toast, muesli, eggs while lunch is sandwiches. Cakes and pastries come from various sources including Noisette and Babka and coffee is from 5 Senses. When the sun goes down they service beer, wine, cider and cocktails.

I chose one of the open sandwich options written on the front of the fridge ($10) – smoked trout, dill creme fraiche, rocket and rye. It was a substantial breakfast with just-picked super-fresh peppery rocket for a green kickstart to the day.

RM chose the rillettes with toast ($10) and some ice tea ($4). He quite enjoyed it but I had a taste and didn’t fancy the wet, bland shredded meat compared to my dish. But I’m not a fan of cold potted meats in general so it’s just my prejudice. More bread would have been appreciated too.

C and J had the same thing – a tear-hard-with-your-teeth baguette filled with shaved, ham and avocado. Not particularly unique but tasty nonetheless.

On our visit on a Saturday morning the food and coffee orders arrived slowly despite us being one of three tables. We weren’t too bothered but the staff are a bit lackadaisical, so if you’re in a hurry it’s perhaps not for you. The food is simple and good for taste buds just waking up in the morning but the best part of the whole operation is the setting.

Grub Food Van, 87-89 Moor St, Fitzroy +61 3 9419 8991
Tue-Sun 7am-10pm, though subject to change depending on the weather

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HOT: Leo’s Fine Food and Wine, 26 Princess St, Kew

Kat from Spatula Spoon and Saturday has been hassling me for months about visiting Leo’s Fine Foods. She described it as ‘Simon Johnson at supermarket prices’ where you could stock up on gourmet products in a place that was still affordable enough to do your weekly shop.

Leo’s is effectively two supermarkets housed in one shiny building. They stock the kind of brands you’d expect to see at the major supermarkets – Arnotts biscuits, Weetbix, Omo washing powder etc and then there’s a large section of imported products brought in mainly from the Mediterranean. That means a dried pasta and olive oil range rivaled only by Mediterranean Wholesalers, for example. It’s actually quite overwhelming unless you know exactly what brand you’re looking for.

Leo’s not only imports products for retail but is also wholesale importer, which means that it can buy at mass volume and pass on the lower prices to the consumer. That means you can shop there for your gourmet products while still buying staples like milk, bread and (French) cheese.

If, like me, you’re a bit relaxed about ‘Used by’ and ‘Best by’ dates and aim to be frugal with your grocery budget, then I highly recommend raiding the discount fridge section! It’s not very posh to be digging through a jumble of random orange-stickered items but the results of the foraging are definitely posh. I bought almost due date and perfectly fine King Island Vanilla Bean yoghurt for $2 as well as useful freezer standbys like Yarra Valley Dairy lasagna (serves 3-4) for $22, fresh gnocchi (serves 2) for $5 and Maria’s Pasta vegetarian lasagna for $5.

If anyone else has tips as to what to buy from Leo’s and the as to the best times of day to go for discounted meat and freezer/fridge items please let me know! Now that I know the kind of bargains available I will be making a regular trip whenever I visit Kew.

Leo’s Fine Food and Wine, 26 Princess St, Kew

7 days 7am – 10pm

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