Disclosure: I attended and dined courtesy of Cecconi and AMPR.
I suppose we’re officially in winter now, aren’t we? Well, let’s pretend that we’re still in autumn (I’d like to pretend that we’re not in winter anyway) as the other month I was invited to Cecconi’s for an autumn menu tasting.
Cecconi’s has been in the city for quite a long time now: apparently almost a decade, so it’s terrible that this was my first visit to the Flinders Lane location. I actually remember the Cecconi’s that was at Crown, quite a long time ago now – Alastair and I ate there with Annette and Terry not long after we moved to Melbourne.
They must be doing something right to have been around the Melbourne dining scene for so long and I was excited to finally pay them a visit.
Disclosure: I attended courtesy of Taxi and Little Big Marketing.
As part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival Roast series, Taxi are holding a “Ducks in a Row” luncheon each Sunday in June. In case you haven’t figured out from the name, the theme is ducky duck duck, with a 5 course set menu for $85 per person.
Taxi uses free range ducks from a new producer, Great Ocean Ducks, in the Mornington Peninsula. We were told that the ducks are fed strawberries in the summer, and apples in the winter (mostly because that’s what is readily available rather than for flavour purposes). But – cute, right?
So Attica must be one of Melbourne’s most famous and awarded restaurants. And I finally made it there thanks to Kat, who booked us into dinner for their Tuesday night Chef’s Table.
Run by Chef Ben Shewry, Attica has consistently been recognised as one of Melbourne’s – and Australia’s – top restaurants. Located on a quiet street in Ripponlea (at least, on a Tuesday night), the restaurant inside is quite understated: white linen tablecloths, black walls, and bright spotlights over each table.
My friend Maztech and I have birthdays a few days apart. For our birthday in 2011, we booked in an early birthday lunch at Loam. We loved it so much that for our 2012 birthdays in December we visited again, dragging along Alastair and Dazzle.
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.
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).
Now that I’ve been down to the revamped area several times, I really think that South Wharf has been done well, particularly compared to other dining precincts (I’m looking at you Docklands and Southbank). I like that there’s a range of different price points and all the restaurants have a different feel, which makes me want to visit them all. So last Friday night Alastair and I headed down to Meat Market for a date night. (I say that jokingly… it was just dinner.)
Meat Market is mid-range in price, and was inspired by the Australian BBQ. Not too surprisingly, with a name like Meat Market, the menu has a focus on meat, meat, and more meat, with a few seafood items thrown in. And in keeping with the whole BBQ thing, there’s a large open kitchen in the middle of the restaurant where you can watch the chefs grill and cook your preferred protein.
The evening didn’t start well. First I literally just missed the tram – I was five meters to the tram stop when I saw the tram slowly roll away. Wah wah guitar.
I then became lost at Crown. I thought I knew where Mr Hive was located, but I was wrong – I had no clue. Which lead me to walk up and down the street several times trying to figure out how to get to the first floor of Crown Metropol until it finally clicked that I needed to go “inside” the main part of Crown. Into the disorienting Crown maze I went. And first thing I did? Went in the wrong direction and took the wrong escalator. BAH. Things weren’t going my way.
Well now it’s April, and the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival seems like a distant memory. And thank *goodness* for that, because the few weeks of MFWF really stretched my eating pants. Metaphorically of course – those who know me personally know that I don’t wear trousers (because I’m mostly in dresses, in case you think I’m doing some weird Donald Duck thing and going bottomless). But back to MFWF – today I want to share the last express lunch I went to during the festival: Matteo’s.
That Saturday I became a third wheel and joined Hazzie and Gazman for lunch as Alastair was away that weekend. We were all early for lunch because we had been advised when booking that we only had the table for 1 hr 15 mins. This must’ve put the fear in us – we were all so early that I had enough time to join Haz and Gazman in their car for a quick instagram session before going into the restaurant (we are all addicts and we are not ashamed).
Disclosure: We dined with Thanh, who is friends with the staff at Steer. The Chef put together a tasting menu for us. So – special treatment alert. However, we did pay for our meal.
This post is for all the beef lovers out there.
Steer opened just over a year ago, starting off as a steakhouse with a Brazilian influence. Since then, it has evolved into a New York steakhouse, obviously still with a focus on beef. Just after Christmas, Alastair and I had dinner there with Thanh, Michele, April and her hubby. With all our stomachs stretched from Chrissy, we were ready to eat ourselves some meat!