degustation

Estelle Bar & Kitchen 2

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When my FIL visited over Christmas, one of the few things he requested to do was a degustation.

I mean – we could’ve taken him to see the Melbourne sights: the beautiful Yarra River as it glints brownly in the sun, the finger biting excitement of a hook turn in the city, the half finished Docklands wheel overlooking Costco and the cargo ports ** – but having a nice meal sounded much more fun to me.

(**I say all this in jest! I do love Melbourne, really.)

So we booked in dinner at the Estelle. You may remember that Alastair and I had lunch there in mid-2012.

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Moon Under Water

Moon Under Water is the latest offering by Andrew McConnell, who seems to be gradually taking over Melbourne with his restaurant empire: Cumulus Inc, Cutler & Co, Golden Fields, and The Builders Arms.

Part of The Builders Arms, Moon Under Water is the more formal dining room, and I’m not sure if this is part of the formality but the room is white. It’s white white white. The floor is white, the walls are white, the ceiling is white, the linen is white. You wouldn’t think that white could make such a loud statement but it does. (I’m not sure what that statement is, except for: white!)

Foodwise, it’s a set menu – $75 for four courses (and a couple of additional nibbles) that changes weekly.

I am a big fan of Cumulus Inc and Cutler & Co, so was pretty keen to check it out, dragging along Alastair, Maztech, Dazzle, Bro and Bro’s gf (aka the usual suspects group 1).

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Estelle Bar & Kitchen

Many months ago, Alastair and I had lunch at the Estelle with Taz, Haz and Gazman, Kat and Josh plus Ashley. We’re talking middle of winter months ago.

I don’t know why it has taken me so long to write about it.

It wasn’t because we didn’t have a good time – we had fun.

It wasn’t that the food was bad – it was good.

It wasn’t that the service was lacking – the wait staff were friendly and perfectly lovely.

So why has it taken me so long? No idea bear!

But you know what they say about good things taking time. :)

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Middle Park Hotel: Curly Flat wine dinner

Disclosure: Alastair and I attended in exchange for the photos from MPH’s last wine dinner.

Also, this is a scheduled post. Replies to comments/emails will be even slower than usual. :)

In mid-August, Middle Park Hotel held another wine dinner, pairing up with Curly Flat. Curly Flat winery is located in the Macedon Ranges, producing mostly Pinot Noir, some Chardonnay and a little Pinot Gris.

Just like the previous wine dinner, Alastair and I took seats at the bar. I’d had a very busy day at work and my mind was completely and utterly fried – so wine was VERY welcome. To start we were poured a glass of 2011 Curly Flat White Pinot. This was an interesting wine: I found it dry but with a bit of sweetness and fruitness.

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The Commoner: Whiskey Business

What’s better than having a girls’ night out with my Dastardly friend? A girls’ night out with WHISKEY.

Truthfully, I’m not really a whiskey drinker, but as with any booze – I’m a willing learner. Hah.

Every couple of months this year, The Commoner release movie inspired menus. They had Poultrygeist in February, Claws in April, and June’s menu was Whiskey Business – 5 courses matched with whiskey.

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Livingroom: Wirra Wirra wine dinner

Disclosure: I dined courtesy of Livingroom.

Last week, Livingroom hosted a wine dinner with Wirra Wirra wines.

Wine dinners are great fun. Drinking wine is always fun but I don’t just like them because I get to drink lots of wine (though that is a compelling reason). It’s mostly because I get to try wine that I might not normally drink and get out of my comfort zone.

Livingroom has been open for a few years now and they were awarded their first Chef’s hat last year in the latest Age Good Food Guide. It’s located in a building that used to be three different shops, and inside the split level room the decor is pretty understated except for a few chandeliers – the walls contain a few artworks, the wooden tables are undressed, and large windows look out to the street. It’s owned by a father and daughter team, Alan Markham and Carolyn Liem, and their head chef is Darren Daley.

I was looking forward to my visit for an evening of food matched with Wirra Wirra wines.

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Middle Park Hotel: Jasper Hill wine dinner

Disclosure: Alastair and I dined courtesy of Middle Park Hotel.

It’s cold. I know, I know, compared to other places in the world it’s not *that* cold, and yes, this is the part where you get to tell me I’m soft. But it’s cold to me, and this weather makes me want to hibernate with a heater and copious amounts of red wine.

Fortunately, I received plenty of the latter into my system last week during an epic dinner at Middle Park Hotel. MPH is located in a beautiful Victorian building on the corner of Canterbury Road and Armstrong Street that was originally built in 1889. Inside the building is a front bar, a dining room, and upstairs accommodation rooms.

Upon arrival we headed through to the dining room – a large wood panelled room decorated with various sporting memorabilia. Alastair was very impressed to see a cricket bat signed by Don Bradman hanging up. Apparently I should’ve been impressed as well… I tried to fake some enthusiasm but I don’t think he was fooled.

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Loam, Drysdale

Loam - inside

At the risk of sounding like a 90 year old – the modern world constantly impresses and delights me. Even though I grew up with so many technologies that we now take for granted, when I think about them they still amaze me. For example: GPS. We all know what GPS is, since it’s now an everyday thing, but have you ever thought about what’s involved in making it work? It’s a space-based global navigation satellite system – hello, SATELLITES in fricking SPACE. That tell you exactly where you are. If that’s not amazing, I don’t know what is.

However, even with all the wonders of technology, it’s not exactly foolproof. Case in point: last year we used the GPS to direct us to Loam in Portarlington. It sent us down a dirt road and then said, “You have arrived at our destination.”

Except… we were still in the middle of nowhere. We were definitely not at Loam.

Did we have the right address? Were we even in the right suburb? Where on earth were we?! (Well, the GPS told us, but could we trust the GPS?) We kept driving down the road, and then lo and behold: LOAM. We had arrived! (Mostly thanks to the GPS.)

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Cafe Vue: cocktail night

Isn’t it funny how some experiences feel like they happened yesterday, and how some feel like decades have passed? Looking back at my blog, I can’t believe that we last went to Café Vue for the cocktail night over two years ago. It doesn’t feel like it was that long ago! How did we let so much time go by?

Bro, Alastair and I went for a return visit recently with Maria and Daz. When Maria made the booking, she was only able to secure us a table outside (if you’ve been there, they’re the tables in the covered alley leading up to the Bistro) but considering how tiny Café Vue is, I thought that was fine.

When we arrived, it turned out that there were three tables available inside the café. There were four tables sitting in the alley. Hmmm. Four can’t fit into three, so one table had to stay outside. Yes, we were the good table and decided that we would stay outside, which earnt us a glass of bubbles each as thanks. Yay free booze! Fortunately, we received the bubbles before Maria mentioned the waiter’s arse… to his face… otherwise I’m not sure we would’ve had anything! It wasn’t quite as sleazy as it sounds – we were just having a laugh – certainly, the rest of us were laughing rather a lot at Maria! And on balance, talking about his arse was not that bad – a customer sitting inside threw a tanty and called the staff c–ts, so we were angels by comparison. (Thank goodness for Tantrum Man making us seem normal!)

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