1. Find of the Week: The Kettle Black is one of the hottest brunch openings in Melbourne right now. Nestled on Albert Road, in leafy South Melbourne, the popular cafe pulls in brunch punters like moths to light. It’s a beautifully converted venue, with a modern stylish look and feel. Expect to queue at busy times, but rest assured, the outdoor coffee cart (weather permitting) will be happy to help you with your morning caffeine hit while you wait. From the team behind Top Paddock, it’s no surprise that the cafe pushes the boundaries when it comes to its menu. With items like Robbins Island wagyu skirt steak, and Flinders Island wallaby, it’s a bit fussier than your average weekend brunch spot. The outdoor terrace will inevitably be a hot spot this summer.
2. Kong BBQ is so loud, fast and furious you may trick your mind into thinking you’re in the middle of a busy restaurant in Tokyo somewhere. Quirky features with futuristic projections and talking bathrooms just add to the charm of the place. The menu draws on age-old barbeque and smoking techniques. Soft shell crab buns are soft, pillowy and literally stuffed with crispy, succulent crab; while wagyu beef and kimchi dumplings, bathed in an emulsion of soy vinegar, are an equal crowd pleaser. Looks like the crowds will be continuing here for a while…
3. State of Grace, an eclectic restaurant located on the New York end of Collins Street. The restaurant is a collector’s dream – bursting at the seams with antique collectables like chaise lounges, books and lamps. Don’t miss the secret entrance to the basement bar. Here you will find Fall From Grace. You won’t be disappointed with the impressive drinks list.
4. Mr Mason for its seasonal inspired French menu. Slightly off the usual foodie track, Mr Mason is not one for foodies to ignore, with beautiful dishes like Berkshire Pork belly and Aylesbury duck breast on the menu. Mr Mason’s menu changes regularly, but a few favourite French classics always remain. For something a little less formal, Mr Mason also hosts great value member nights like wine and cheese evenings. Definitely one to consider for post-work drinks and dinner.
5. For anyone who follows me on Instagram, you would know that Axil Coffee Roasters in Hawthorn is one of my all-time favourite spots for coffee and brunch. Luckily for city dwellers, Axil has opened up a smaller sister branch in the CBD. The outpost has a small takeaway counter on street level and a small cafe upstairs which is easy to miss! It may not have all the trimmings of the Hawthorn establishment, but it serves a good brew.
6. Local Trivia Night at the Geebung Polo Club in Hawthorn on Monday evenings. Get your mates together for a few beers and enjoy the $14 special menu with pub classics like fish and chips and salt and pepper squid. Even if you’re not a trivia buff, you will be guaranteed a good laugh.
7. The Village Drive In, in Coburg, has just got more interesting with the arrival of a food truck festival. Held at various times throughout the year, the Coburg Drive In Food Truck Festival is a perfect start to a casual date at the movies. Pick up a freshly torched creme brulee from the Brulee Cart and some fresh meats from the Argentinian grill at Senor to tuck into before putting your seats back and watching a movie in the comfort of your car. Tickets are $17,50 for one $40 for a car load.
8. The Builder’s Arms, a landmark public house on Gertrude Street, which has both a bistro and a private dining room, as well as a leafy courtyard -perfect for the summer months. The more formal dining room, Moon Under Water, named after a George Orwell essay, features a four course chef’s menu, inspired by seasonal cuisine. Fellow foodies will feel well at home here.
9. Hidden off the normal drag of Chapel Street in South Yarra, the Sweetwater Inn on Bray Street, is definitely worth the short detour. With its rusty cast iron trimmings, taxidermy and its tin cans doubled as cocktail glasses, you will feel like you have escaped to the country somewhere. The menu is all about it’s BBQ items like smoky chicken wings, pulled pork, and bbq split king prawns. I am salivating just thinking about it.
10. My recipe of the week is Ottolenghi’s Marinated rack of lamb with coriander and honey.
What have been your’e favourite finds this week? Would love to hear your comments below!