Dessert Evenings by Pierre Roelofs

Dessert Evenings by Pierre Roelofs has well and truly settled in at Adriano Zumbo’s beautiful high tea salon, Fancy Nance. The beautiful space is a wonderful backdrop for the delectable treats that ensue during the Dessert Evenings - an ever-changing 4 course dessert degustation from Pierre alongside warm, friendly service. 
Pierre’s desserts are culinary works of art courtesy of an impressive resume including a three year apprenticeship in the Swiss Alps and stints at Michelin starred restaurants in England and Spain.
Raspberry cheesecake tube

Our evening commenced with the renowned dessert tubes.  Presented in a tube with layered flavours, this dessert was both interesting and fun. We loved the use of the various layers which created the familiar tastes of a cheesecake but enjoyed in a different manner.
Beach Kiosk Crush - orange, caramel, vanilla

Our favourite dessert of the evening, the Beach Kiosk Crush was well-balanced with the tartness of the orange cutting through the creaminess of the caramel. This dessert was a masterclass in textural balance and layered flavour.
Italo-Disco in San Francisco - lemon ricotta, passion fruit ice cream, toasted coconut crumble, golden syrup foam, puffed millet

Wonderfully melt in your mouth, the lemon ricotta went beautifully with the textural coconut crumble and tart passion fruit ice cream. 
Cold Summer's Day - tres leches, blueberry, brioche

A visually enticing dessert which combined three textures of milk, blueberry and buttery brioche, it was certainly a stunning conclusion to our evening.
Next Dessert Evening (Thursday, 29 October) is a Gluten Free menu and Gruff Rhys (Super Furry Animals) will be the dessert Namer.

What: Dessert Evenings by Pierre Roelofs
Where: Fancy Nance, 21 Daly Street, South Yarra
When: Every second Thursday
Price: $68 pp

Café Rosamond Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Share a Churros Week @ San Churros and support beyondblue [15 – 21 June 2015]

San Churro, Australia’s favourite Spanish chocolateria, has partnered with not-for-profit organisation beyondblue to raise awareness and funds to promote good mental health across Australia, with the café launching its ‘Share a Churros Week’ initiative.
‘Share a Churros Week’ urges Australians to connect, or re-connect over churros, with all 46 San Churros stores donating $1 to beyondblue for every churros dish purchased between Monday 15 – Sunday 21 June.
Also, San Churro has further pledged to double its donation for every in-store churros photo posted to Instagram using the tag #shareachurros, as well as displaying donation boxes at the counters of all stores to raise additional funds!
San Churro is the perfect place to share a sweet treat with friends. The menu is full of refreshing and fun desserts, ice cream sundaes and shakes that are perfect for sunny days and social celebrations. Although San Churro’s delectable churros are what keep us coming back time and time again, San Churro also does some delicious classics like ice cream sundaes and shakes.
Chocolate & Churros Tapas

Our favourite share plate is the "Chocolate & Churros Tapas" share plate which is full of delectable delights such as mini churros, chocolate, deep fried chocolate truffles, choc brownie, strawberries and other chocolate delights.
To find your local San Churro store and participate in Share a Churros Week, visit or for more information about beyondblue, visit

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Bibelot by Chez Dré opens tomorrow!

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Bibelot.
Located at the Coventry Street-entrance to Chez Dré, Bibelot is an opulent destination for all things sweet; an artisanal patisserie, gelateria, coffee bar, chocolate shop, high tea salon and a library of coffee table books for any dessert aficionado. Good news is, they open tomorrow!
Presented by the creative team behind Chez Dré, Bibelot houses a retail space of beautifully packaged and crafted gourmet gifts; from chocolate bars to enrobed fruit and nuts, decadent biscuits, locally sourced honey as well as specialty coffee and teas. 
We were wow-ed by Bibelot’s wide range of petits gâteaux, bonbons, macarons and delicate biscuits. Paying homage to classic French patisserie, each mouthful showcased a combination of high quality ingredients, delicate flavours, artisanship and attention to detail. 
Their gelato is also worth a mention... hint: try their pistachio flavour!
Staying true to Bibelot’s European roots, the space designed by Melbourne’s Breathe Architecture boasts an elaborate interior of custom mosaics with art deco influences. From the beautifully crafted recycled timber floors, to the large scale custom designed mosaic wall, every detail of the fit out is representative of the brand ethos – intricacy, opulence and carefully handcrafted creations. 
A luxury European-inspired dessert boutique, Bibelot is the perfect addition to the food scene and boutique streetscape of South Melbourne. 

Location: 287 Coventry St  South Melbourne
Cuisine: Dessert, Gelato

Bibelot on Urbanspoon

A chat with Bernard Chu and Yen Yee @ T By LuxBite

Gastrology bloggers visited T by LuxBite courtesy of MATRADE's Malaysian Kitchen Program.
More than just an ordinary retail cake store, LuxBite is a fun, interactive workshop where people can go to embrace and indulge in the sweeter things in life. LuxBite founders and flavour-makers Bernard Chu and Yen Yee employ their artistic ingenuity to craft a diverse range of desserts that push the boundaries with great success.
Over the years, each of our visits to LuxBite have been greated with macarons that are assembled with care and attention; the immense pride with which LuxBite produces its macarons is evident from not only the appearance of each macaron but also in texture and taste. Luxbite’s exhibit a clear passion, patience and most importantly, precision.  
Bernard and Yen have recently opened up a new concept in the CBD, T By Luxbite. We chat to them about how having a Malaysian background has influenced their work in the kitchen, what makes them tick and their new venture T By Luxbite.
How has your Malaysian background influenced you?

Our philosophy has always been to incorporate French techniques with South East Asian flavours.
Growing up in Malaysia (Asia’s cultural melting pot) has meant being exposed to many different interesting flavours. It is these flavours that evoke our childhood memories and the very flavours we seek to share with our customers. An example of this is our kaya toast macaron which features the classic Malaysian kaya (Malaysian coconut egg jam).
Do you use a lot of Malaysian/ Asian ingredients?

We push the boundaries and want Melbournians to know there is more to Asian dessert flavours than black sesame and green tea! We were on the forefront with Yuzu years ago (which is now common place in Melbourne). Other flavours we have brought to the front include bamboo charcoal which again is becoming more common place. While of course, the flavours do not have to be of Asian origin or inspired by Asian ingredients to get our creative juices flowing, we certainly love incorporating these. Sometimes, it even goes beyond flavour it’s a cultural/ way of life thing like our scrumptious Emoji and Kuma tarts - Cute desserts, which are very Japanese/Asian inspired.
What is your process of creating a new dessert?

The concept comes first and then the look and then the flavour. Inspiration comes from everywhere. From our dessert chefs to our natural surrounds. The next step then is to make an idea which seems impossible, possible. This includes consulting each other and creating. For example, we had an apple tart with autumn leaves, inspired by the leaves we would see falling down during the autumn.

How often would a new dessert come on the scene at LuxBite or T By Luxbite?

It’s hard to say but probably around 5-6 weeks per recipe/product as it really is a process filled with trial and error. It also depends on the holiday seasons and celebrations. It is pertinent to be organised. For example, Mothers Day recipes are already under way and Chinese New Year dessert recipes had to be finalised back in Christmas. That’s how we stay on top of things so the new dessert creations are also influenced by the seasons and celebrations.

What is your favourite Malaysian ingredient?

We love using pandan, coconut, kaya as well as Kopiko and Ribena (not quite Malaysian but definitely something Malaysian kids and ourselves grew up with!).
Your sweet temptations include the extraordinarily famous “Lolly Bag Cake” as seen on Master Chef Australia, made from seven layers of succulent flavours, including banana lolly jaconde, freckles crunch, mandarin jaffa ganache, musk mallow, more banana lolly jaconde, spearmint leaf buttercream and is topped with a redskins glaze. It was one of the craziest desserts Australia has seen! What other crazy desserts have you been making?

We've had some really interesting creations over the years including recently, Chinese New Year inspired creations such as our Bakkwa (i.e. 肉干) macaron as well as Gai Chai Peng (i.e. 鸡仔餅 also known as Little Chicken biscuit) macaron.

Have any Malaysian influencers inspired you? Any non-Malaysian influencers?

In terms of Malaysian influencers, Cheong Liew comes to mind. One of South Australia's most well-known chefs, Cheong Liew leverages from his Malaysian background to utilise an amalgamation of Malay, Indian, Chinese and English cultures and cuisines in his cooking.

In terms of non-Malaysian influencers there are many. Various people from the industry as well as European legends such as Pierre Herme have influenced our methods. We also love to read and share our thoughts, ideas and recipes with others in the industy which in turn inspires us.
What is T By Luxbite?

T stands for tarts. It is Luxbite’s new confectionery concept: a store dedicated entirely to the wonder that is the tart.

How does T By Luxbite fit into the Luxbite concept in South Yarra?

Luxbite isn't just one thing. We are a concept, a collaborator and truth be told, a little bit crazy. Starting with our South Yarra café and patisserie, the LuxBite concept has expanded to include dessert festivals and product collaborations with brands like Wondersnack, Mörk Chocolate and N2 extreme gelato. T By LuxBite is the latest piece of the puzzle to join our family, a city-based traiteur where you can pick up tarts, macarons and other take home treats in a snap. So look out for future concepts by Luxbite.
Hottest tart flavour which is available in store at T By Luxbite at the moment?

We love our Kalamansi tart which is made from jackfruit, longan, chilli salt, kalamansi curd, meringue, kaffir lime and serbet. This was inspired by our travels to Thailand.

Any exciting events we should be keeping our eyes peeled for?

We’ve got Sugar Hit coming up in April. Details will be available soon but keep yourself posted on and We love collaborations as it is an opportunity to create something new and exciting with others as passionate as we are. And when we say “collaboration”, we mean it! You’re always going to be trying a never seen before new dessert from us at these collaboration events, including Sugar Hit.
T By LuxBite’s range of tarts and macarons is truly amazing. The macarons on offer range from the more classic flavours such as Salted Caramel and Hazelnut, to modern twists such as Heilala Vanilla Crème Brulee and Bamboo Oolong Tea but it doesn’t stop there. LuxBite push things to the next level with flavour sensations such as Ribena Lemonade and Kaya Toast.

We also spotted one of our favourite LuxBite creations in store, the Endless Love Macaron Cake which is inspired by Pierre Herme’s Ispahan. A dessert which features lychee ganache, rose cream, lychee, fresh raspberries, rose & lychee macarons it is a must-have. The combination of perfectly soft yet chewy rose and lychee shells, the decadent lychee ganache and rose cream filling is a marriage made in heaven;  truly superlative in every sense.
From left: Mango gelato tartBrulee gelato tart 

We couldn't resist devouring these 2 "Bye bye summer time tarts" before we left. A collaboration with N2, these tarts incorporate N2's luxurious nitrogen gelato. The Brulee gelato tart boasted a beautiful passionfruit caramel, whipped passionfruit curd, toasted coconut and N2 pandan gelato and topped with sugar crackling. We loved the perfect balance of acidity and sweetness in the tart. The Mango gelato tart on the other hand was a refreshing creation of whipped lemon curd, chewy coconut jelly, N2 mango gelato and was finished with coconut and sesame crumble. YUM!
It was an absolute pleasure to hear from these passionate creators. T By LuxBite is an exciting addition to Melbourne's CBD with speciality tarts and macarons that push the boundaries in the most miraculous manner. The flavour combinations are interesting, complex but most importantly they work.

Location: 517 Flinders Lane  Melbourne
Phone: 03 9629 9662
Cuisine: Desserts

T By LuxBite on Urbanspoon

Dex2rose Nitrogen Gelato

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Dex2rose.
Dex2rose is a welcome addition to Melbourne’s frozen desserts scene.
Specialising in premium made to order gelato (using liquid nitrogen), the café sets itself apart from the existing plethora of take-away gelato/ice-cream vendors by offering (as well as encouraging) patrons to chill out at the venue with their delicious coffee and cold pressed juices and soon to be introduced pastries. 

Their menu changes every fortnight and features interesting flavours combinations not available anywhere else.
Whilst cold drip coffee has become a staple in the Melbourne coffee scene, Dex2rose have gone several steps further with an Australian first - nitro brew infused with apple and cinnamon. The end result is a complex, smooth, full-bodied brew with a bright juiciness, low acidity and caramel finish.
Honey Stash

The Honey Stash was our favourite flavour. Made from top quality Italian ingredients, this Pistachio and Honey gelato surprises with hidden honeyed nut clusters. Topped with a light fresh Raspberry cream, this gelato was to die for. 
Left: Lazy Dinner (Sage, Burnt butter & Caramel)
Right: It's a Match-AH (Matcha, crunchy peanut powder)
Pink Flamingo (Peach & Rose Moscato)

Another favourite was the Pink Flamingo. A vegan, dairy-free and gluten-free wonder, this peach and rose moscato sorbet was the perfect treat for a steaming hot Melbourne summer day. We loved the refreshing flavour of the sorbet which combined beautifully with the airy coconut cream which boasted just the right hint of rosewater.
Using a time-old technique of churning ice cream with liquid nitrogen, the result is cool, smooth ice cream in interesting flavours like Lazy Dinner (Sage, burnt butter & Caramel) and Rockkaido (Rock melon & Hokkaido Milk Tea powder).

Location: Access Through Racing Club Lane 377 Little Bourke St  Melbourne,
Phone: 03 9078 0784
Cuisine: Ice Cream/Gelato

Dex2rose Nitrogen Gelato on Urbanspoon

Pop Up Scroll

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Pop Up Scroll.
The latest creation from Julian Chew, former owner of the popular Lip Café in Ivanhoe, Pop Up Scroll, has just touched down in Smith Street and offers an old-fashioned reward that, remains one of life's greatest pleasures.
Each scroll is made using techniques learnt from Julian’s impressive fine dining pastry training but in a way that brings it to the every day. Lovingly made, the collection of scrolls is chemical and additive free and uses organic ingredients. 
Alongside freshly baked scrolls which are made on site each morning the store offers carefully prepared coffee courtesy of their shiny new La Marzocco.  
Our coffees were well made, with the slight sweetness of the frothed milk cutting through the residual brightness from the foundation espresso (from Coffee Supreme beans).  Each came with an intricate rosetta in the milk foam.
Cherry Gingerbread

Made with good quality ingredients, the product line includes Original cinnamon scroll with cream cheese icing, Coconut white chocolate, Peanut butter & banana, Chocolate & caramel and Cherry Gingerbread
Original cinnamon scroll with cream cheese icing, 

The original cinnamon scroll was one of our favourites. Julian weaves his magic and turns moist, light dough into fresh, aromatic cinnamon rolls topped with rich, cream cheese frosting and infused with cinnamon and brown sugar. The scrolls are a blissful indulgence. Perfectly sweet, they boast a beautiful cinnamon aroma and taste.
Peanut butter & banana

Another winning flavour is Pop Up Scroll’s Peanut butter & banana scrolls. The scrolls were fluffy and moist on the inside and were topped and filled with velvety, decadent peanut butter and banana. The slightly savoury buttery flavour cuts through the richness of the scroll, resulting in a dessert that is not only incredibly indulgent, but very well balanced.
Coconut white chocolate

The Coconut white chocolate scrolls are a modern interpretation of the humble Malaysian coconut bun. Light and fluffy, filled with coconut shreds that helps provide a sweet taste and unique texture, we loved this clever rendition. 
Chocolate & caramel

Lovers of Chocolate rejoice! This one's for you... The Chocolate & caramel scrolls are decadent and possess a melt-in-your-mouth quality that is just heavenly. 
Scrolls may have been almost forgotten but Pop Up Scroll insists that they are indeed, ready to make their revival and we could not agree more. Marrying the concept of simple, sentimental baking and great coffee with playful, colourful interiors and retro styling, Pop Up Scroll is a welcomed addition to Smith Street’s bustling foodie precinct. The store is only new but is already full of patrons eagerly waiting to indulge themselves and fall in love with the smell and flavour of the scrolls.
As the name suggests, Pop Up Scroll is only around for a short time (until May to be precise) but there are already big plans in the pipeline for the next project due to open straight after the pop up closes its doors.  

EAT A SCROLL will be located just around the corner from the current location and will be a more permanent scroll house for customers to enjoyably follow them to. 

Location: 86 Smith Street, Collingwood
Cuisine: Bakery, Desserts, Coffee

Pop Up Scroll on Urbanspoon

Pidapipó Gelateria opens permanent store, just in time for summer

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Pidapipó.
Lovers of gelato have much to celebrate this summer as Pidapopo has opened its new store on Lygon Street – and this time, the store is permanent.
The brainchild of owner and chef Lisa Valmorbida, Pidapipo has quickly built up a reputation for offering fresh, delicious gelato produced in the authentic Italian way.
After studying the art of Gelato at the Carpigiani Gelato University, Lisa returned to Australia to share her moreish creations with the people of Melbourne in a store named after a game she played with her nonno as a child.
Each gelato flavour is made from scratch every day from the highest quality Italian and local ingredients resulting in a fantastic final product. All of the flavours we sampled exhibited impressive purity of flavour. The subtlety and delicacy of flavours such as the Fior Di Latte and the Ricotta gelato were particularly impressive and set Pidapipo apart from its competitors. We were also impressed by the perfect level of sweetness across all flavours - a very welcome contrast from some of the over sweetened gelatos available elsewhere.
Pidapipo will be launching a seasonal range every 3 months to keep things fresh and, as we head into the festive season, we highly recommend indulging in a few scoops of the wonderfully decadent and complex Christmas pudding flavour. Another standout flavour was the pistachio gelato, made with pistachios from Bronte in Sicily.
Pidapipo is steadily building a cult following from lovers of authentic, artisan gelato – and for good reason. As the weather heats up, there is no better time to pop down to Lygon street to check out all of the delicious flavours on offer and welcome Pidapopo permanantly to Melbourne.

Location: 299 Lygon Street,  Carlton
Phone: 03 9347 4596
Cuisine: Dessert, Italian, Ice Cream/Gelato

Pidapipó on Urbanspoon

New Summer menu launched at San Churro

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of San Churro.
Springtime is synonymous with warmer weather, rising spirits and the start of social season. To celebrate, Spanish chocolate cafe San Churro has released a new menu full of refreshing and fun desserts, ice cream sundaes and shakes that are perfect for sunny days and social celebrations.
Although San Churro’s delectable churros are what keep us coming back time and time again, San Churro also does some delicious classics like ice cream sundaes and shakes.
Using trending ingredients and a healthy dose of fun and nostalgia, they have put a creative spin on these traditional summer staples to create an innovative and delicious range of refreshing drinks and light, summery treats that are perfect for sharing. 

Ice cream sundaes are a beloved summer indulgence and have received a fun and premium makeover at San Churro. 
We had a lot of trouble picking a favourite but thought the new Raspberries & Cream Sundae was a particular delight. Inspired by the iconic Australian Iced Vovo biscuit, the sundae is a refreshing combination of white chocolate ice cream, shortbread crumble, raspberry jam coulis, coconut and fluffy pavlova meringue.
We also loved the new dulce de leche ice cream - texturally perfect ice creams with a beautiful flavour. 

San Churro also offers a range of icy cold and refreshing real fruit smoothies, mocktails (including a new Pina Colada Mocktail) and a new range of premium Iced Teas available in lemon with fresh mint and peach with raspberries to quench your thirst on a hot day.
Mango smoothie

To add something fresh into the mix, we shared a delicious mango smoothie. Made from real mango blended with apple mango juice and ice, it was a refreshing and delicious treat.
With more than 100 items on offer, there’s something delicious to suit all palates and preferences this summer.

Find out more about San Churro here.

Chocolateria San Churro on Urbanspoon

A La Folie Patisserie

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of A La Folie Patisserie.
A French expression used when one is madly in love, “A la folie” perfectly describes the passion that owner Mercédé Coubard has for her patisserie, and the desserts she creates.
We were delighted by the macarons and petits choux from A la folie’s exquisite range of French delights.
Each of the macarons we tasted were superb. Made from an authentic recipe, the almond based macarons boasted a crispy outer shell, soft, smooth inner and delicious cream filling. 
The Dulcey was our favourite macaron. The combination of delicious Varlhona dulcey (blonde chocolate) which featured its signature smoothness and creaminess contrasted wonderfully with the tangy bergamot jelly. It was an impeccable combination of flavours.
The vanilla and salted caramel macaron was a classic flavour done well while the rose delight pleased with moreish Middle Eastern flavour combinations of rose water and orange blossom, raspberry jelly and was finished with baklava nuts.
We loved the intense and unique flavours of the Salted caramel pâtissière and Mango & passionfruit crémeux petit choux that we sampled. A modern twist on the French classic, “choux à la crème”, A la folie's petits choux were delicately light choux pastry filled with naturally flavoured crème pâtissière, and topped with a colourful fondant. 

Described by Mercédé as the perfect balance of pastry and cream in each mouthful, these colourful, full flavoured desserts conveyed the same joy that Mercédé has for her patisserie. The sweet and soft fondant top combined with the airy and light pastry with just a hint of texture-adding crust was followed by a burst of flavour from the decadent, silky smooth cream centre. It was beautiful.
A la folie offers a wide range of delicious macarons and petits choux that are made from fresh and natural ingredients. Mercédé brings her unwavering  passion and love for the small pleasures in life, imbuing her delectable creations with an air of fun and joy. 

Location: 589 Chapel Street, South Yarra
Phone: 03 9827 3337
Cuisine: Coffee, French, Desserts

A La Folie Patisserie on Urbanspoon

Regional Italian dinner @ Gelobar

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Gelobar.
One of Melbourne’s favourite gelataria, Gelobar proudly serves authentic Italian dishes at an affordable price.
The décor is warm and welcoming, it feels like stepping into the Scullino family's home for dinner. The menu boasts an array of traditional dishes that pay homage to rustic Italian cooking.
After 20 years, Gelobar still remains focused on three things - food, family and love. Apart from introducing Melbourne to the famous recipes of gelati, Gelobar now offers compelling authentic Italian fare (both sweet and savoury) to enjoy over coffee or a few glasses of wine amidst a vibrant and energetic atmosphere. 
We visited on a Thursday night, Gelobar’s regional Italian feast night and were treated to a delicious selection of rustic Italian food with plenty of soul.  
Our table was quickly adorned with an array of delightful starters. Among these, the battered calamari was our favourite.
The delicious ribbons of calamari were perfectly seasoned and featured ethereally light and crispy batter. 
Left: Capretto e patate - baby goat with potatoes in tomato sauce with black olives
Right: Green olives and potato spaghetti
Stocco e patate - cod fish with potatoes in tomato sauce with capers
and green olives

The mains were unpretentious, full of flavour and generous. The goat and cod fish mains were both traditional Southern Italian dishes that were available for the Thursday night Regional Italian dinner only and do not form part of Gelobar's regular menu.
The dolci menu is one not to be missed, bursting with a gorgeous selection of desserts featuring artisan style gelati and traditional Italian pastry including ricotta cheesecakes and cannoli.
Our evening at Gelobar concluded on a sweet note with a dessert plate of “spaghetti” gelato, ricotta cheesecake and a shot of Frangelico. The gelato, as expected was delicious. Texturally perfect with beautiful flavour combinations, the passion for artistic expression using quality ingredients can be tasted in their gelato. Each flavour was made with dedication and artisanship. The ricotta cheesecake was a charming Italian cake. The filling was beautifully smooth courtesy of being made using excellent ricotta and we loved the fact that it was not too sweet. The Frangelico was an indulgently sweet and heady way to cap off our night. 
We left with a selection of Gelobar’s delicious cakes to have at home.
At the end of the day, the food is but one reason to visit Gelobar. The Scullino family legacy is that they have created a warm, inviting, home away from home where you can enjoy rustic Italian food with friends. 

Location: 74 Lygon Street, Brunswick East
Phone: 03 9388 1419
Cuisine: Desserts/Ice Cream, Breakfast/Brunch, Italian

Gelobar on Urbanspoon

St Kilda's Food-focused Amazing Race

Gastrology took part in St Kilda's Amazing race courtesy of Miss Jackson, St Kilda Rickshaws, Monarch Cakes, Babu Ji, Ichi Ni, Il Fornaio, St Kilda Bowls Club, Milk The Cow and Bar di Stasio.
Gastrology recently took part in St Kilda Tourism Association’s inaugural St Kilda Culinary Amazing Race Around The Globe which was organised by the lovely Jessica Williams from Tyrrell Publicity & Promotions.
Located 6 km from the city centre, St Kilda is Melbourne’s seaside playground and is much-loved by residents and visitors alike.  St Kilda is renowned for its expansive view of Port Phillip Bay, safe sandy beach, palm-lined Esplanade, huge range of beach activities, blue skies, gorgeous sunsets, lovely parks and gardens, great restaurants, bars and cafés, fabulous old buildings and stunning architecture, plus its colourful past and present.
The aim of the inaugural St Kilda Amazing Race was to showcase St Kilda as a major dining destination in Melbourne – profiling many different eateries and dining options on both Acland and Fitzroy Street. 

9.30 am – Miss Jackson
Location: 2/19 Grey Street, St Kilda
Phone: 03 9534 8415
Cuisine: Coffee, Modern Australian, Breakfast/Brunch

The first stop in the St Kilda Amazing Race journey was Miss Jackson. We loved the cafe's laidback vibe, laneway location, attentive staff and delicious fare. 
We especially loved the quality coffee on offer and the homemade crumpets. Soft, fluffy and moist, these crumpets were an absolute treat and were served with a decadent Raspberry Butter. 
We were also spoilt with fresh croissants from Woodfrog Bakery (located on Fitzroy Street). The croissants were baked to perfection. giving the outer layer a nice crisp bite and finding the perfect balance between sweet and savoury.
The Woodfrog Bakery on Urbanspoon
We were then introduced to our drivers for the morning who were waiting patiently out front, ready to escort us around the bay. 
Miss Jackson on Urbanspoon

Tour of St Kilda via Rickshaw
Phone: 0421 196 737

The St Kilda Rickshaws is a new initiative in St Kilda – an exciting, safe and environmentally friendly, alternative mode of transport around St Kilda. 

Fifteen minute jaunts on one of the three wheeled cruisers costs $15.00 for two people – or, for $90.00, book a one hour voyage for a deep insight into the various pieces of St Kilda that makes it one of the most interesting areas in Victoria. 
With Nate leading the way, we were safely delivered to Monarch Cakes after a quick jaunt down The Esplanade.

10.30 am - Monarch Cakes
Location: 103 Acland Street,  St Kilda
Phone: 03 9534 2972
Cuisine: Bakery, Coffee, Desserts/Ice Cream

Monarch Cakes have been doing what they do for over 75 years and the proof is, quite literally, in the pudding. Staying true to their Polish roots, many recipes have originated from their shop in Poland. Every cake is made fresh using raw ingredients in their most natural form.
We took home Monarch’s famous Chocolate Kooglhoupf. The cake is marbled with white cake and chocolate fudge and is beautifully soft and moist. It was certainly a special treat. 

Monarch Cakes continues to be a St Kilda gem. It is the perfect place for cake and coffee or, if you prefer, to takeaway for a guilty pleasure at home.  
Monarch Cakes on Urbanspoon

11 am - Babu Ji
Location: 4-6 Grey Street, St Kilda
Cuisine: Indian, Vegetarian

We were greeted at Babu Ji by owner Jesse and their Head Chef – alongside Hindu Disco music and quirky images of 1970s porno-moustached “Babus”.
We sat around the grand Chef’s table and enjoyed a variety of Indian meals. Each dish was an experience – a long way from the regular butter chicken experience Melbournians are so used to.
Papdi Chaat

The first course of Papdi Chaat, also known as India's "nachos and salsa", comprised of a generous shared plate of chickpea crisps, coriander salsa, potato and chickpeas, tamarind drizzles and yoghurt. It was absolutely delicious. With a slight kick and beautiful marrying of textures and flavours, we could not help going back for more.
Yoghurt Kebab

The Yoghurt Kebab was outstanding. A plump fritter-like sphere sitting atop a bright pink, unctuous sauce, we loved the balance between sweet and savoury that the dish struck.
Tandoor King Prawns

Straight from the tandoor, the King Prawns were beautifully charred and tasted incredibly fresh.
Gol Gappa

A popular Indian street snack, the Gol Gappa was addictively delectable - tangy, spicy, sweet and surprising.
Fish Curry with Flathead with Premium Aged Basmati Sella Rice

The Fish Curry arrived at the table for our “Guess the Ingredient Challenge”. While we failed miserably in guessing the ingredients, we had no trouble putting this dish away.
Babu Ji on Urbanspoon

12 pm - Ichi Ni
Location: 12 The Esplanade, St Kilda
Phone: 03 9534 1212
Cuisine: Japanese, sushi

Before we knew it, we were back in the Rickshaws and on our way to a second lunch at Ichi Ni. 
Located on The Esplanade overlooking the bay, Ichi Ni's alfresco dining area is the place to go for Japanese food in summer. It was exciting to hear that Ichi Ni has a future operation in the works, Ichi Ku, in Fitzroy which is due to open in the next two months. 
We loved the beautifully fresh rice and ingredients that Ichi Ni uses to make their sushi and were excited to learn how to "roll" for our next challenge - sushi rolling.
Sushi rolling proved more difficult than expected – but it gave us the opportunity to discover just how delicious really fresh sushi can be. 
Ichi Ni Izakaya on Urbanspoon

1 pm - Il Fornaio
Location: 2 Acland Street, St Kilda
Phone: 03 9534 2922
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Coffee, Breakfast/Brunch, Desserts/Ice Cream

After 2 lunches, we welcomed a caffeine hit at Il Fornaio.
Barista Matt told us all about the Official Coffee Competitions – where it is all about flavour, symmetrical patterns and colours and perfectly stretched milk.
It was back to breakfast time when Il Fornaio Head Chef Simon Turner arrived at our round table with the Coffee and Orange Juice Bircher and a pile of bacon.
Coffee & orange juice bircher

The Coffee and Orange Juice Bircher Muesli was stunning. Flavoured with sweet blood orange juice, heady St Ali coffee, creamy yogurt, hazelnut, coffee crumb,  date confit and blood orange crackers, this was an amalgamation of breakfast favourites that wow-ed the senses.
Simon Turner has an impressive background with upmarket restaurants like the Royal Mail Hotel, Attica and Aria – and is now a spokesperson for Kindred Organics Quinoa and a consultant for PROOF – Pasture Raised On Open Field – eggs, promoting cutting edge pastoral techniques with much stricter parameters then free-range.
His bacon was also to die for – the pigs are purchased as piglets in Castlemaine, fed to Simon's grain profiles, ethically butchered, cured and cut in house.

Il Fornaio was included in 2013’s Melbourne's Best Cafe` Bakery, Melbourne's Best Cheese Shops, and Melbourne's Best Pies and received 1 cup in The Age Good Food Guide 2014.
Simon is also about to launch a new set of products available to consumers from his business “The St Kilda Preservation Society” – in which a selection of condiments – that are already used in select St Kilda businesses – will be marketed to the public with St Kilda based labels like Luna Park, The Esplanade etc. 
Il Fornaio on Urbanspoon

1.45pm - St Kilda Sports Club
Location: 66 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Phone: 03 9534 5229

After all that food it was time to work some of it off with a game of Lawn Bowls at St Kilda Sports Club – which will celebrate its 150th year in 2015. 
A bowling lane can be hired for $200.00 for two hours – and drinks are available from the bar at bar prices – darts and pool can also be played inside the clubhouse. 
We also got to have a special sneak peak of the original locker room of St Kilda Sports Club – which is still in its original form from when it was built in 1876. 
With the dropping out of the old Fitzroy green (in 1927) and the old Prahran (in the early seventies) St Kilda has become the second oldest existing club in Victoria, and in Australia.

3 pm - Milk The Cow
Location: 157 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Phone: 03 9537 2225
Cuisine: Cheese, Coffee, Desserts/Ice Cream, Wine Bar

After some time barefoot on the green – we crossed Fitzroy Street to Milk The Cow for some wine and cheese. 
Laura and Andrew, the cheese and wine connoisseurs of the venue, introduced our cheese and wine flight pairings.
We savoured and devoured our wine and cheese tasting flight which included a red wine soaked cheese, a creamy blue, a Dutch delicacy and a six month old Manchego (which was everyone’s favourite).
Milk the Cow on Urbanspoon

4 pm - Bar di Stasio
Location: 31 Fitzroy Street, St Kilda
Phone: 03 9525 3999
Cuisine: Italian, Cocktails

And lastly – it was time to finish the day with some Italian inspired cocktails and Negroni at Bar di Stasio – the relatively new addition to St Kilda cullinary institution, Cafe di Stasio.
Featuring an elegant stone bench top and knowledgeable and cheerful waitstaff, the space is perfect for casual drinks in a sophisticated environment. 

Restaurant Manager Mallory looked after our group with some refreshing bitter alcohol, eggplant chips, fried potato skins and chicken pate toasts. 
We loved the classy and elegant setting. 
Bar di Stasio on Urbanspoon
The Amazing Race ended with six incredibly satiated and happy foodies, chatting in Di Stasio Bar. We all left with a new appreciation for the food venues of St Kilda and cannot wait to come back for more!

Harry's ice cream party | International ice cream month

Gastrology bloggers' ice cream party was sponsored by Harry's Ice Cream.
Not like we needed any excuse to have ice cream... but this month is  International Ice Cream Month!
To celebrate this delicious month, Gastrology teamed up with award-winning Australian ice cream maker, Harry’s Ice Cream for an ice cream party to celebrate this special frozen dessert.
With a house full of toppings our guests set out to pair up Harry's delicious ice cream flavours with some sugary goodness.
Harry's Raspberry Cheesecake ice cream (and our personal favourite) was a particular hit and in our view, best enjoyed as is!
We even had cocktails made from Harry's Pavlova ice cream!

Celebrate International ice cream month with Harry's ice cream!
Get your hands on some Harry's Ice Cream which are available at Woolworths and selected IGA stores throughout Australia.
Drawing inspiration from classic Australian desserts, Harry's Ice Cream offers a range of distinctive and iconic flavours including Pavlova; Sticky Date Pudding; and Raspberry Cheesecake.

Read more about Harry's ice cream here.

Southgate Moveable Feast: Artusi | Amarok | Bluetrain [Sunday 15 June – Monday 4 August]

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Artusi, Amarok & Blue Train.
Southgate's recent facelift of premium restaurants is garnering some well-deserved attention. The Moveable Feasts is a brilliant opportunity to taste and see what this bustling foodie hub has to offer.

Showcasing  three delectable courses each from a different Southgate restaurant, Southgate Moveable Feasts epitomises the changing dining trends of today as Melburnians look for new and different casual dining experiences.

We were led through a unique dining experience as we wandered from restaurant to restaurant, sampling unique world-class cuisines from Italian to native North American.

First Stop: Artusi
Location: UR1 Upper level, 3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Phone: 03 8199 1033
Cuisine: Italian

The brainchild of Luis Pampliega and Tamara Volkoff, owners of the much-loved Southgate Italian eatery Tutto Bene ARTUSI is a welcome addition to Southgate's dining precinct.
We loved ARTUSI’s architectural design. Splashes of copper, bluestone façade and marble accents create a comfortable space and a modern up-market vibe.  
The ethos of ARTUSI is ‘The Art of Eating and Drinking Well’ and this ethos is clear from the restaurant’s focus on producing artisan handmade pastas and a mouth-watering selection of delicacies matched with a wide selection of boutique wines.
Lingua di bu – slow cooked ox tongue, quail egg, salsa verde, lemon EVOO

Our afternoon commenced with unctuous pieces of slow cooked ox tongue accompanied by perfectly oozy quail egg, fresh salsa verde and lemon EVOO. a The centrepiece ox tongue possessed a beautiful depth of flavour, with the acidity in the salsa verde helping to alleviate the richness of the decadent tongue.
Mezzelune ai broccoli e parmigiano – broccoli filled potato parcels, bagna cauda butter, parmigiano reggiano

The Mezzelune ai broccoli e parmigiano was a superb dish that was highlighted by the light and fluffy potato parcels which captivated with its delightful broccoli filling and its lingering rich parmigiano flavour.
What was clear from what we tasted was ARTUSI’s head chef Leandro Panza Sicilian heritage and knowledge and passion for Italian cooking.
Artusi on Urbanspoon

Second Stop: Amarok
Location: Southgate Complex Mid Level, MR6, 3 Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Phone: 03 9663 1877
Cuisine: North American, Canadian

Yet another new addition to Southgate’s ever evolving dining precinct, Amarok Bar & Restaurant features a menu inspired by traditional North American and Canadian flavours whilst using the finest ingredients.
The dining room has a cosy wood-fired cabin feel.
Sierra Nevada Stout, Pine Needle & Acorn Roasted Chicken Breast with a Turnip/Blue Cheese Potato Bake, Veg & Marsala Jus

The chicken was tender and superbly cooked. Coated in an in an addictively sweet marsala and stout jus which was nicely offset by the decadently savoury potato bake. 
Pouch Baked Salmon in Corn Mead with Lemon, Fresh Herb & Grape Quinoa Salad

The salmon was again, cooked to perfection and accompanied by a very fresh and fragrant salad which provided a refreshing element to counterbalance the relatively rich and oily fish.
Amarok Bar & Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Third Stop: Bluetrain
Location: Southgate Landing, Southbank
Phone: 03 9696 0111
Cuisine: Modern Australian

An expansive café and bar with floor to high ceiling windows overlooking the Yarra River, Bluetrain is a brilliant Melbourne meeting spot.
It’s 2013 major facelift sees the restaurant spotting a new look which combines eclectic and quirky materials, bespoke designs and a light feature using yellow bicycle wheels to adorn the walls and graffiti art pillars. 
Baileys Cheesecake

The cheesecake was deliciously rich and had just the right hint of baileys. 
Warm Apple pie

Our Southgate Moveable Feast ended on a delicious winter warmer, the humble apple pie. Crumbly pastry and thinly sliced and spiced apple - Blue Train’s apple pie was very well made and perfect for afternoon tea with a dollop of cream and a cup of coffee.
Bluetrain on Urbanspoon

Get on to it! 
With a host guiding the journey to each establishment, discoveries will be made along the way uncovering the stories behind Melbourne’s eclectic world of riverside eateries.
What: A three course journey throughout Southgate’s restaurant precinct, sampling unique presentations of world-class cuisines. 
When: Sunday 15 June - Monday 4 August. 12pm Sundays & 7pm Mondays 
Where: Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, on the south bank of the Yarra River, Melbourne 
Cost:  Choose from two three course dining options for $60pp or $85pp. Entrée and main courses each include a glass of wine and dessert is served with tea or coffee. 
NB: Parking is available in Southgate’s Car Park off City Road / Southgate Avenue, $10 flat rate on weekends and after 4pm on Mondays. 
Bookings: Online bookings only, at 
Enquiries: Southgate Restaurant and Shopping Precinct, 03 9686 1000

Upcoming Event: The Progressive Greek | The best of Greek wines to be uncorked during the month of July

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Douglas Lamb Wines, Longrain, Pei Modern and Gazi.
Food and wine lovers will have the opportunity to taste the finest drops from Greece during the month of July, matched with fine dining, to uncover the truth behind one of the world’s oldest wine-making countries.

Premier Greek wine importer, Douglas Lamb Wines, is hosting The Progressive Greek – specially designed wine and food matching evenings, across Sydney and Melbourne throughout July.

Third generation wine importer and business owner, David Lamb, delivers an opportunity for diners to taste wines from the northern Amyndeon region and the renowned Kir Yianni winery paired with delicious dishes from some of Australia’s finest restaurants including, Longrain, Pei Modern and Gazi in Melbourne and Alpha and Danjee in Sydney.

Gastrology was invited to join a progressive dinner hosted by Douglas Lamb Wines for a sneak peek into what will be in store for the month-long event, 'Amyndeon Oenos’ (Amyndeon, being a wine region in northern Greece and Oenos, the Greek word for wine). At each venue a different glass of Greek wine was matched to a dish, highlighting the versatility of Greek wines across different cuisines.

First stop: Longrain

Selected items were chosen from Longrain’s extensive menu to showcase the ability of the 2013 Kir Yianni ‘Petra’, Macedonia, Greece to match bold, spicy Asian flavours.
Longrain has distinguished itself by South East Asian cuisine that marries polished Western training with fiery Eastern flavours in an informal and relaxed setting. 
Sashimi of Kingfish, caramelised cashew nut nahm jim, trout roe, micro herbs
Filled eggnet, pork, prawns, peanuts, caramelised coconut, cucumber relish
Larp of prawn with lime and chilli

The Sashimi of Kingfish showcased the delicate texture of the Kingfish. The classically Longrain Filled eggnet was, as always, enjoyable and highlighted by the superbly cooked prawns and the gentle tartness of the cucumber relish.  Similarly, the Larp of prawn with lime and chilli was expertly prepared and had juicy, succulent morsels of prawns interwoven with a multitude of intense flavours. 
The feature wine (2013 Kir Yianni ‘Petra’, Macedonia, Greece) matched the dishes perfectly. A wine with citrus notes and a beautiful freshness, it possessed a crispness that managed to cut through and complement bold South East Asian flavours. 
It was a wonderful first stop with rich, flavoursome food in loud, bustling surrounds.
Longrain Melbourne on Urbanspoon

Second stop: Pei Modern

This time, the dishes were chosen from Pei Modern’s menu to match the 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Paranga’ Macedonia P.G.I. Greece.
Pei Modern is three hatted chef, Mark Best’s first Melbourne venture.
Duck egg, Jerusalem Artichoke & Truffle Sauce
Beans ‘a la Grecque’, Wood Grilled Killara Rise Lamb

The lamb was cooked to perfection while the dish of Duck egg, Jerusalem Artichoke & Truffle Sauce was lovely. The Truffle Sauce and the velvety egg yolk combined to produce an intensely rich and beautiful dish. 
The feature wine (2012 Kir Yianni ‘Paranga’ Macedonia P.G.I. Greece) was a great match. A blend of 50% Merlot, 25% Xinomavro and 25% Syrah, the wine was refreshing. With a merlot background and spicy Syrah notes, the acidity of the wine made it a lovely match for both the rich lamb meat and the velvety duck egg.
Pei Modern on Urbanspoon

Third stop: Gazi
Our delicious dinner concluded on a high note at Gazi. An entirely different side of Greek cuisine, Gazi offers earthy, Athenian ‘Street’ food partnered with exciting and experimental cocktails and spirits.
‘Acropolis Now’ Strawberry mousse, coffee & mastic

‘Acropolis Now’ was a strawberry centric dessert which provided a different mix of pleasant flavours. We loved the velvety smooth consistency of the “cake” which served with Greek coffee soil with refreshing hints of pine forest flavour from mastic.
The 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Akakies’ Brut Rose was our favourite match of the night. It was a playful number with complimentary strawberry aromas and bright acidity which cut through the sweetness of the dessert in a delicious fashion. 
Gazi on Urbanspoon

Progressive Greek - A self-guided tour complete with detailed tasting notes 
Each restaurant will be pouring a different a Kir Yianni wine from Amyndeon for the month of July. Each wine will be matched to a small dish. 
Participating restaurants: 
Longrain Melbourne  Wine: 2013 Kir Yianni ‘Petra’
Recommended dish: Prawn salad with mint, chilli, lime and roasted rice.   
Pei Modern Wine: 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Paranga’
Recommended dish: Duck Egg, Jerusalem Artichoke & Truffle (entrée) or the Beans a la Grec, Killara Rise Lamb (main).  
Wine: 2012 Kir Yianni ‘Akakies Brut Rose’
Recommended dish: “Acropolis Now” strawberry mousse with coffee and mastic.

Rustic Italian @ Capovolto

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Capovolto.
Capovolto encapsulates the Italian style of dining, urging patrons to "Mangia! Mangia!" in an intimate gathering while cherishing a meal which honours classical Italian flavours and quality ingredients.
With a head chef from Brescia in Italy's North, Capovolto’s diverse menu of regional Italian cuisine changes regularly. This allows the chefs to use the finest ingredients – taking into account availability and seasonal variations as well as tempt regulars with something new and interesting.
Deep fried Sicilian rice balls
Left: Funghi ripieni - Baked mushroom filled with pancetta & Italian cheeses
Right: Polpettine - Italian meatballs in tomato sugo, parmesan

Traditional comfort-food classics, both the arancini balls and the polpettine were beautiful. Each morsel was sufficiently seasoned and flavoursome.
Agnolotti riplena d’Anatra 
House made duck agnolotti, duck reduction
Beetroot dumplings, spinach & Italian cheeses

As expected of any good Italian restaurant, Capovolto is particularly good at producing quality pasta dishes. The canederli pasta that we had was no exception. One from the chef’s northern Italian background, the dumplings had a stunning depth of flavour and delectably chewy texture from the beetroot. The flavours were complex and rich. Our waiter presented it to us as “a wonderful dish” and we could not have agreed more
Involtino di pesce spada
Swordfish filled with smoked mozzarella
Timballo di Parmagiana di Melanzane
Oven baked eggplant parmagiana, burrata cheese

The Timballo di Parmagiana di Melanzane was yet another highlight. Each layer of superbly cooked eggplant was adorned with delicious cheese. The tomato veloute provided fresh flavours while the burrata cheese brought all the elements on the plate together in a cohesive fashion.
Vanilla panna cotta, mixed  berry compote

This was a texturally perfect rendition of the vanilla panna cotta. The panna cotta was silky smooth - just barely holding its shape, it was quivering on the plate. 
Warm chocolate torte & crème anglaise

Our evening ended on a decadent note with a well-cooked warm chocolate torte. Oozing with chocolate, this dessert would have excited any chocolate lover.
An Italian restaurant with Italian hospitality Capovolto delivers warm and friendly service and an authentic Italian dining experience which celebrates the smells, taste and comfort of a country-style Italian home.

Capovolto on Urbanspoon