The Tales of the Cocktail, if you’re not familiar with the happenings of the booze world, is a weeklong festival celebrating all things liquor which takes over New Orleans each July.
We wouldn’t usually rub it in your face, friends, but at the heart of the week of parties and seminars is the Spirited Awards – the international Oscars of the bar world, only with more po’ boys and humidity – and this year, three Melbourne venues have made the shortlist.
Whisky-loving speakeasy Eau De Vie has been nominated in three categories, for Best International Cocktail Bar, Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar and World’s Best Drinks Selection. Brunswick Street’s Black Pearl is up for Best International Bar Team and the Attic at The Black Pearl (upstairs) is nominated for Best International High Volume Cocktail Bar while the Lui Bar at Vue De Monde is nominated for Best International Restaurant and Bar.
They may not make it through to the actual awards – the top ten are whittled down to a final four in the next couple of weeks, but given that from January to March of this year, hundreds of bars, bartenders, writers and experts from Tel Aviv to London and Dublin were evaluated by a panel of judges, it still says a lot about the alive-and-arse-kicking nature of Melbourne’s bar scene.… Read more
Shane Warne has gotten pretty enthusiastic about beer of late. If you go down to GABS tomorrow, you’ll even be able to see him clanging the bell to signify the opening of the Great Australasian Beer Spectapular. He’s also going to be pouring a few token samples of his own brand of beer at the beerfest, produced in conjunction with Moa Brewery in New Zealand. He’s that committed.
But in case you’re not ready to get that close to the man himself, for fear it would be like gazing directly into the sun, you can also just head into a BWS store and get one of his 99 Not Out pale ales for free. Tomorrow, all BWS stores will be giving away one beer with every purchase of other craft brews. Onya, Warnie.
Great news, outdoorsy food fans. Melbourne’s favourite truck jam is making a comeback. Come June, the grounds of Village Melbourne (the complex formerly known as the Belgian Beer Café Bluestone) will be turned over to a platoon of trucks every Sunday, with a few full weekend stints thrown in.
It’s pretty much the same situation as last year: you’ll be able to smash yourself together a multicultural meal of Po Boys, tacos, banh mi and pudding from the likes of Gumbo Kitchen, Lil Nom Noms, Chingon and The Brulee Cart (those are the June trucks) and grab your beers from the bistro inside. They’re also lining up some DJs to keep things spinning.
A lot of the same vendors are making a return, but this year there’s also Korean Fried Chicken, Pizza Wagon, Waffleworks and Greek Street Food to help fuel your panic.
Trailer Park session one kicks off on the first Sunday in June.… Read more
Melbourne, you’ve been sitting on the edge of whatever surface it is that you sit for months now, and we can finally bring you relief: the cool cats bringing you our first cat café have found a site. It’s all systems go.
In case you’re not up to speed, a cat café is a place in which cats for the petting and lattes for the drinking co-exist in harmony. The location of all your future joy-filled mornings is Queen Street, right near the Queen Vic markets. Which means jam doughnuts and love.
But we’re not just happy for our own sake. According to your new favourite person, café co-owner Anita Loughran, they will be finding all of their cats from Melbourne’s Lost Dogs home and GAWS – the Geelong Animal Welfare Society.
The café renovations will take a couple of months (and if you want to make a donation, they’re launching another indiegogo campaign, which you find through their site here) but they’re hoping to open by July, after giving the cats a couple of weeks to settle in.… Read more
When you think about it, choosing not to show up early to see a support band feels a bit counter-intuitive. Why wouldn’t you want to tack on an extra helping of live music to your night? Not to mention that missing out on the support means missing out on future bragging rights. Everyone loves to mention how they used to watch Dan Sultan play to piddling crowds at the Evelyn. Sultan might’ve played a support act recently, but that time, it was for Bruce Springsteen.
Skipping the support act also means that lesser-known bands aren’t getting the exposure they deserve. Melbourne’s live music scene is teeming with talent, but sometimes, the little guys and the live venues need a leg-up.
Enter Cake Wines: the bourgeoning Aussie wine boutique owned by young wine lovers and culture champions Mike Smith and Glen Cassidy. In less than three years, the Sydney-based, Adelaide Hills-grown label has gained a solid reputation around the country – not only for making quality wine, but also for holding true on their commitment to promoting creative ventures.… Read more
The decision is in! Frank Van Haandel and co have plucked the winning design for the all new Stokehouse, due to be completed by the time summer rolls back in.
It was Robert Simeoni architects who took out the competition and their design is a peach. For starters, you enter though a tunnel in a sand dune. From the looks of it, its’ a bit of an LA-style floating pod giving you raunchy, raunchy full frontal views of the beach, the bay and beyond. From up here, we’re told you’ll be able to behold a mixed bag of the Stokehouse and Stokehouse café offerings. We’ve also been told there’s an idea afloat to have a window where takeaways will be available during summer. Breakfast through to late night boozing will be on the cards.
Meanwhile, the temporary pop-up is still there, but your last chance to get in is Mother’s Day. After that, you can take yourself over to the CBD, where the transformation of Comme into Stokehouse: city edition, is well under way.… Read more
The ultimate food fight that is the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurant awards went down in London last night, and Ben Shewry has yet again made humble, humble Ripponlea the best place to get dinner in Australasia. Attica has moved a few spots, going from 21 to 32, but in a field of, oh, a billion restaurants, that matters approximately bugger all.
In other good news for adventurous diners who can’t/won’t take their mouths offshore, London’s Dinner by Heston Blumenthal has jumped up to the number five spot, and that’s the restaurant we’re getting a carbon copy of once the Fat Duck residency at Crown Casino is done next year.
The great/terrible thing about the awards is that in most cases, the recognition of the brilliance of these restaurants is directly proportional to the impossibility of ever getting a booking there. So even if you do happen to be heading to Copenhagen in the next five years, your chances of eating at Rene Redzepi’s jewel Noma just became excitingly slimmer than ever, with the forage-friendly restaurant yet again taking out the number one place.… Read more
What you want: Johnny Di Francesco’s Margherita pizza
So likely you’ve heard by now that Johnny Di Francesco – owner of 400 Gradi on Lygon Street – has taken out the top spot in the traditional pizza category at the World Pizza Championships in Parma, Italy. That makes his piece of pizza pie the hottest piece of dough in town, and yep, there is already a queue of dough-mad punters filling the Brunswick East restaurant as we speak.
But it’s OK because…
You might be punching on to get into Lygon Street, but last year, Di Francesco opened up in Docklands, just under the NAB building. 90 Secondi can be a little cool on atmosphere at night when the business district empties out, but they do those pizze to the same specs, and you won’t have to wait to get in.
It’s a pretty good match-up: the show that people can’t stop talking about and the gelato people can’t stop lining up for. Yes, to celebrate season four Gelato Messina have launched a range of five gelato flavours based on characters from HBO’s Game of Thrones series and the novels by George RR Martin.
There’s the Khaleesi – “Yoghurt mango gelato with dragon fruit purée. Sweet mother of all dragons, a real ‘melt in your mouth’ flavour.”
Hmm, I can see the resemblance.
Then there’s the Tyrion – “Raspberry custard gelato smashed with raspberry SHORTbread. The only thing short about this flavour is the bread . . . and the character it was inspired by.”
A cheap shot at the Imp’s height there, guys. Be careful: a Lannister always pays his debts. And if the raspberry custard turns to ashes in your mouth, you’ll know the debt has been paid.… Read more
Alright, so you’re already aware of the brand new, world-class shopping destination that is Emporium – due to drop next week. What you might not know is that at its glittering heart is the fanciest food court in the land.
Spread over six floors, word is that the gold chain-strewn dining space can hold 1,100 eaters at a go. To feed them, the Emporium team have landed the likes of Jimmy Grants, Bar Napoli, Chinta Ria and South Melbourne Dim Sims.
Souvlaki yourself stupid, shopping fans.