29 October

After a radical facelift, Eastland is open for business


It was busier than the Boxing Day sales this morning as 100 new stores opened for business as part of stage one of Eastland’s redevelopment.

On the retail front, big national and international names are set to make shopping in the ’burbs a thing of joy, with the likes of Uniqlo (which opened to the sound of Japanese percussionists, literally drumming up business) and Scanlan Theodore, Alpha60, David Jones, Gorman, Scotch & Soda, H&M Marimeko and Victoria’s Secret opening for trade.

On the food front, notable inclusions come in the guise of celebrity chef outings – George Calombaris has set up his fourth Jimmy Grants and Frank Camorra hots things up with Paco’s Tacos.

In total, the project will rack up an estimated $665m and stage two of the redevelopment is in the pipeline (due for completion in 2016).

Until the novelty dies down a tad, expect queueing and car park circling, but it’s worth it – shopping and food for the eastern suburbs is never going to look the same

EastlandRead more

26 October

Melbourne’s getting a brand new jazz club: sister to New York legend Birdland


Continuing the Birdland tradition, Melbourne will soon play host to its sister club, Blue Basement – a gutsy 200 seater that will run in line with the Birdland model of two dinner shows per evening and share international and local jazz talent with its dead-cool older sibling.

While the closing of Bennett’s Lane left a bloody great hole in Melbourne’s jazz scene, Blue Basement promises to make up for its absence and then some. “Bennet’s Lane was a small club where people came on admission basis to stand or sit and have a little drink if they wanted to,” says Albert Dadon, Melbourne jazz scene stalwart and Blue Basement’s proud owner. “Blue Basement is not the same, though – it follows the Birdland model where people come and have dinner and have a restaurant experience, and at the same time enjoy sublime music. That doesn’t exist in Melbourne.”

Read our full interview with Dadon and jazz impressario and Birdland’s owner, Gianni Valenti, here.… Read more

23 October

The Yarra gets a new buoyant hang-out spot: Arbory Afloat


Starting Tuesday October 27, the Arbory Bar and Eatery will open Arbory Afloat, a floating bar that will bob along next to the main venue next to Flinders Walk on the Yarra River. The oasis-like bar will be decked out in an appropriately nautical fashion, with a completely differently food and beverage menus to its landlocked sibling.

Punters will get to sample Chef Nick Bennet’s seafood-heavy menu, which includes a raw bar (think caviar and oysters with some French bubbly) and charcoal grill menu featuring Japanese inspired numbers like miso marinated eggplant and tuna with bonito mayonnaise. Look out towards  the iconic Melbourne skyline and sip on the summery cocktail list which includes updated takes on summer classics like the blood orange Americano, the Nautical Rose (Lillet Rose with a dash of lemonade).

Tori Allen Events and interior design firm We Are Huntly collaborated on the pop-up project, which will run through the Melbourne Cup Day and feature tunes from Melbourne nightlife fixtures Chico G and Paul Jager (of Hugs and Kisses fame).Read more

19 October

Get booking: Dinner By Heston opens tomorrow


Didn’t make it into Fat Duck when it opened at Crown Casino earlier this year? Heston Blumenthal’s team are back in town starting Tuesday October 20 with Dinner by Heston, and if you didn’t score on the Fat Duck ballot during its six-month residency, chances are you would have been among the first punters to be offered a seat at the new restaurant.

The more casual Dinner by Heston is not as extravagant as the Fat Duck, so you won’t have to sell a kidney for a meal there. While the original Hyde Park venue played on the concept of reviving historic British fare that has fallen out of favour, the permanent Australian outpost of Dinner by Heston will feature Australian touches like kangaroo meat and a lamington-inspired cake.

Dinner by Heston will open daily for dinner and lunch on Fridays and Saturdays, while the bar featuring cocktails by London bartender Tony Conigliaro.Read more

13 October

Little Creatures Dining Hall in Fitzroy announces closure


This Fitzroy beer hall is rarely seen without the buzz of diners and punters swilling pints of its craft brews, but Little Creatures Dining Hall has announced its closure in early 2016.

Little Creatures parent company Lion, which has in its stable other craft beer brands including James Squire and Furphy, has made the decision following a review of Little Creatures’ national marketing and hospitality strategy. The decision to not renew the lease at the Fitzroy dining hall comes as the brand is putting more focus on the Geelong Brewery Village.

For the West Australian brewery, the Fitzroy dining hall introduced the brands’ now prolific craft beer range to Victoria, as well as offering many their first craft brewery experience. Earlier this year it was announced that the White Rabbit Brewery in Healesville would be moving to Geelong to join the Little Creatures’ Geelong Brewery Village. Construction for the new White Rabbit location is slated for completion this summer, where the new site will boast a new cellar door, barrel hall and an outdoor space that will host events including a market on the second Sunday of every month and an outdoor cinema.Read more