Waterslide Bar

An exciting new addition to the Southgate precinct, the Waterslide Bar is located in the precinct’s opening onto the spiral staircase overlooking the Princes Bridge and city skyline.

Waterslide’s Venue Manager Tim Wastell has an impressive resume. Australian Bar Manager of the Year 2009, Wastell has plied his craft at some of Melbourne’s best loved bars such as The Blue Diamond on Queen St and The Saint St Kilda. He comes to Waterslide after a year pursuing excellence at Rockpool Bar and Grill in Perth.
Less than a week old and the bar is already making splashes with its tribute to the colourful area once known as “near Princes Bridge”. Favoured as a circus location and outdoor playground since the 1870s, Princes Bridge was Melbourne’s entertainment hub until well into the 20th century. Just metres from Southgate’s spiral staircase, adventure seekers used to hop into a water chute taller than the skyscrapers of the time. They would then be propelled down a wooden waterslide, fully dressed to the nines!
Various elements from the history of the cocktail were an inspiration in the concept with added contemporary quirky characteristics like, swing seats, lounge nooks, dramatic bottle display, rocking chairs and rotating stools as subtle touch points for customers to draw to.

Tones of gold, dark timbers and deep reddish-purple hues set the scene for the interior, through the use of curtain waves, eccentric banquette seating and reflective metallic mirror finishes.
Wastell has joined forces with Black Pearl’s Fred Siggins to design a fun and accessible cocktail menu and drinks list that incorporates modern techniques, seasonal ingredients and unique flavour combinations, as well as the highest quality spirits and some cracking grower produced wines.

We commenced our evening with a couple of outstanding cocktails.
Grace Kelly

Our first cocktail of the evening was the Grace Kelly cocktail which was made from Hendrick’s Gin, fresh pressed pear juice, Earl Grey, honey, cinnamon syrup, dehydrated apple garnish. A delicious fruity cocktail with plenty of character, it was an enlivening start.
Sage Advice

Our favourite cocktail of the night, the Sage Advice was magnificent. Not one for the faint hearted, the cocktail was a heady combination of Talisker 10yo Scotch Whiskey, Johnny Walker Black Label, Benedictine, apricot & sage syrup and orange bitters.
While Waterslide Bar is dedicated first and foremost to the art of drinking, the bar also offers a laid back environment for catching up with friends and family with Mediterranean inspired food designed to share which goes down a treat with their drink offerings.
Hand harvested Cuca sardines in olive oil and crusted ciabatta bread

Don’t let the “being served from a can” aspect fool you. The sardines were a delight, boasting a wonderful depth of flavour.
Market choice fish carpaccio, Juliann fennel, dill, lemon and olive oil

The fish carpaccio was beautifully presented and tasted even better than it looked. It was a wonderful mélange of different textures, natural sweetness and acidity. The fresh cured slices were embellished with pockets of fennel and dill. The lemon and olive oil dressing added the final touch to an enlivening combination of ingredients.
Mediterranean style pickled and marinated octopus with grated goat feta

The octopus pieces were tender and matched well with the medley of herbs and luxurious feta.
Cuban sandwich Roasted pork, premium shaved ham, melted gruyere cheese, Dijon mustard and pickled cucumber

An extravagant toasted ham and cheese sandwich containing luscious roast pork, gruyere cheese, pickle, mustard and slices of ham which added a nice touch of saltiness to the creamy cheese fusion. The sandwich was the perfect supper treat.
Suntory Yamazaki 18 y.o. Osaka

Our evening at Waterslide concluded on a great high. Overwhelmed by the brilliant choices available, we asked for a Japanese Whiskey recommendation and were presented with the outstanding 18 y.o Suntory Yamazaki. It was a delicate yet profound expression of a Japanese single malt. Smooth, well-balanced with great complexity and a lovely balance of fruit, silky malt and a touch of smoke. Just one of the many examples of the high end offerings available at the Waterslide.
The Waterslide Bar is the answer to your dreams. Finally, a bar that takes its drink choices very seriously, but not itself. With offerings for all enthusiasts (whether you are a craft beer aficionado, cocktail geek, spirit epicurean or wine appreciator there are a range of choices to suit your needs), the bar caters for everyone from those that are out for a fun night with mates to those looking to be inspired.

Location: Shop MR3, Mid Level East, Southgate Avenue, Southbank
Link: http://www.waterslidebar.com.au/
Cuisine: Bar, Mediterranean, Cocktails, Wine, Spirits

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Waterslide Bar.

Daring and innovative cuisine @ Los Patos

Daring and innovative cuisine @ Los Patos

Regularly described as one of Granada's “destination” restaurants, Los Patos allows diners to embark on a culinary journey through the local flavours of Granada.

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Greek-Cretan banquet @ Zimari

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Zimari.
Zimari offers a diverse culinary trip for those wanting to explore Greek - Cretan cuisine in Melbourne. The menu takes you through an array of the island’s traditional cuisine using time honoured techniques and flavours.
Zimari opened its doors last November and is owned by Yiannis Malindretos and his partner Melanie Raman, and is already (not surprisingly!), a neighbourhood favourite.
Warm garlic pita bread with oregano and olive oil, served with smoked eggplant dip, tzatziki, caviar roe dip and beetroot dip.

Our feast began with warm pita bread served with an interesting caviar roe dip; smoked eggplant dip , beetroot dip and tzatziki. These dips of bold and vibrant flavour combinations were each well formulated and delicious. 
Cretan bruschetta with mizithra cheese and crushed tomato

The dakakia was a cracker. Made from crisp bread topped with chopped tomatoes, crumbled mizithra cheese and dried herbs and drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper, the dakakia was a perfectly light appetiser.
Ouzo prawns sautéed prawns in garlic, lemon, ouzo and avocado

The dish of Ouzo prawns were our favourite dish of the night. The prawns were very fresh and the garlic, lemon and ouzo provided punchy fragrant flavours while the avocado imparted a luxurious and rich touch.
From left: Spanakoptia – homemade pastry filled with spinach and mizithra cheese; Greek salad - lettuce, tomato, cucumber, pepper, onion, feta and olives
Spiced pulled pork, chickpeas coleslaw

The spiced pulled pork boasted a lovely and unique flavour. It was beautifully tender, courtesy of being slow cooked and was accompanied by a wonderfully fresh chickpeas coleslaw.
Beef cooked in red wine with pumpkin mash
Baked lamb - lamb marinated in orange juice and wine, served with oven potatoes

The outstanding baked lamb was expertly prepared. The lamb meat was incredibly tender and full of flavour. The perfectly baked oven potatoes were a more than willing canvas for the decadent flavours which we found both complex and interesting.
Sikalaki gliko (greek fig spoon sweet) and Portokalopita (orange and syrup cake with filo and yogurt)

Zimari’s rendition of the classic portokalopita was superb - crispy, syrupy, custardy and paired with sikalaki gliko enveloped in thick, creamy Greek yoghurt. It was a refreshingly zesty dessert that was made even better when paired with a couple of shots of Mastic Skinos.
Zimari pleases with simple foods, meticulously prepared with love. 

Location: 268 High Street, Windsor
Phone: 03 9529 7894
Link: Facebook 
Cuisine: Greek, Breakfast, Bar & Grill

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Church St Enoteca

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Church St Enoteca.
Located in Richmond, Church St Enoteca is a restaurant with a proud reputation forged over years of operation. Consistently enjoying success, Church St Enoteca is widely regarded as one of the finest Italian restaurants in Melbourne. It is an “institution” in every sense of the word and a true colossus of the Melbourne fine dining scene.
Recent addition, Executive Chef Thiago Miranda, leads a dedicated kitchen team whose mission is to provide high quality Modern Italian cuisine using the finest locally sourced produce.

Brazilian-born Thiago came to Australia at age 17 and started working in a Melbourne kitchen where he found his calling. Thiago’s impressive resume includes stints at Eureka 89 under the guidance of Melissa Biczo and a 2 year role as head chef of Mr Mason.
The dining room is warm and inviting and is adorned with original vintage posters and wooden floorboards dating back to when it was a metal works factory. The moody colour scheme and lighting create an ambience of subdued elegance, accented by Art Deco lamps which create an ideal atmosphere for a memorable experience.
The appreciably higher waiter to patron ratio ensured that each table is diligently attended to and the waiters themselves are each highly personable and knowledgeable.
From left: Zucchini flower, herbed goats cheese, tomato fonduta; Ham hock croquetta, horseradish

We began our Church St Enoteca culinary journey with some stuzzichini.

Each item was cooked beautifully. The scallops were desirably fresh. The batter encasing the zucchini flower was ethereally light and very crisp with a stuffing which was rich and flavoursome while the croquette was bursting with flavour. 
 From left: School whiting, chilli & chervil mousse, prosciutto; Scallop in the half shell, fennel cream, garlic crumb

Of particular note was the whiting which had been miraculously completely deboned but remained otherwise intact. We enjoyed its crisp exterior and light yet flavoursome stuffing of chilli and chervil mousse. 
Rabbit loin, cos, pancetta, parsnip, walnut

A myriad of well-balanced flavours enveloped the rabbit meat which was well cooked, juicy and tender. It was a rich and complex dish that worked superbly.
Moreton bay bug tortelloni, crayfish brodo, dill
Aylesbury duck breast, duck leg pithivier, white onion, rainbow chard

The slices of duck breast were cooked to a rarely found perfection allowing the naturally rich flavour of the duck to shine through. The accompanying pithivier was absolutely delectable. It was a simple duck leg puff pastry pie of an older age but a component which was a highlight of the dish. The sweet and sticky jus provided the crowning element to this luxurious dish. 
Berkshire pork belly, smoked pork tenderloin, cauliflower, raisins

The centrepiece course of pork belly continued the trend of stunning dishes that preceded it. The pork was moist on the underside and topped with a perfect crust of crispy crackling that was accentuated by the accompanying jus. The meat was lean and tender - a far cry from the excessively fatty pork belly many restaurants are now serving. The smoked pork tenderloin was equally well cooked while the cauliflower and raisins provided a refreshing accompaniment to the pork. We could not fault this dish - it is a must try.
Goats yoghurt panna cotta, basil, strawberry sorbet

A lovely rendition of the goats yoghurt panna cotta. The panna cotta was silky smooth - just barely holding its shape, it was quivering on the plate.
‘CSE’ Tiramisu

Cheekily described as a ‘Tiramisu’, Church St Enoteca’s rendition of this classic dessert was a wonderful surprise. Combining the flavour profile of a classic tiramisu, it was thoroughly enjoyable and notable for its incorporation of high quality dark chocolate which made it incredibly luxurious.
Under the guidance of Executive Chef, Thiago Miranda, Church St Enoteca is an extremely capable restaurant that offers patrons a memorable dining experience. The dedication towards sourcing the best produce and serving quality food which focuses on flavour and presentation is evident. 

Location: 527 Church St  Richmond
Phone: 03 9428 7898
Cuisine: Italian, Mediterranean, Wine Bar

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Spanish Armada @ Robert Burns Hotel [11 & 12 March 2015]

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Freixenet.
As part of the 2015 Melbourne Food and Wine Festival, Gastrology recently attended Spanish Armada at Robert Burns Hotel where celebrity chef Miguel Maestre and Head Chef Marc Albalate treated Robert Burns’ kitchen implements as paint brushes and our plates as their canvas.
The unique six course dinner was matched with supreme Spanish wines from Freixenet Barcelona, and paid homage to some of Spain’s most famous painters, with each dish inspired by the palette and mood of a masterpiece.
Miguel Maestre taking guests through each of the courses

Head chef Marc Albalate was born in Barcelona, but grew up in Palma, the capital of Mallorca (the largest of the Balearic Islands) and has turned The Robert Burns Hotel into the home of truly traditional Spanish cuisine, albeit its very Scottish name. 
The menu is classically Spanish and features the best dishes from the many different regions of Spain.
Red cabbage “Gazpacho”. Beetroot foam, balsamic vinaigrette reduction
Inspired by: Perceval Graells. ‘Al Alba’ (At the Sunrise) 2006. 
Matched with: Freixenet Cordon Negro NV

The evening started with a lovely aperitif.  We loved the gazpacho’s wonderful freshness and vibrancy in flavour.  The matching Cordon Negro Brut echoed the gazpacho’s vibrancy with its crisp and clean characteristic. 
Mango “Salmorejo”, roasted peppers, cherry tomato jam, balsamic glaze, sprouts, leafy greens
Inspired by: Joan Miro, ‘El Jardin’ (The Garden) 1925
Matched with: Freixenet Cordon Negro NV
Marriage of seafood “Salpicon” and Ceviche - prawn carpaccio, emperor ceviche, pickled mussel, red onion, leche de tigre
Inspired by: Joaquin Sorolla, ‘Paseo a Orillas de Mar’ (The walk on the border of the sea) 1909
Matched with: Freixenet Cordon Negro Vintage 2011

The ceviche was our favourite dish of the night. Displaying technique, elegance and skilful restraint, the ceviche items were beautifully presented and accompanied by a beautifully made leche de tigre, a citrus-based marinade that cured the seafood. It was a wonderful mélange of salinity, sweetness and acidity. 
Confit rockling, creamy goats cheese rice, black olive, ink cracker.
Inspired by: Pablo Picasso, ‘Guernica’ 1937
Matched with: Agnusdei Albarino 2013

This dish was visually, the clearest match to its corresponding work of art - A canvas of  black, white and grey. The rockling was cooked to perfection and the ink cracker was a nice addition. The matching Agnusdei Albarino’s unctuous, toffee notes acted as a great partner to the dish.
Grilled lamb ribs, baked beetroot, honey & rosemary braised baby onions, cherry tomato, potato
Inspired by: Luis Melendez ‘Bodegon’ 1770
Matched with: Solar Viejo Crianza 2011 & LalaLand Tempranillo

Our final savoury course, the lamb was roasted to perfection and hence was juicy and succulent. We particularly enjoyed matching this course with the Solar Viejo Crianza which boasted the fine aromas, liquorice flavours and red fruit flavours with an elegant oak finish.
Crema Catalana, chocolate coated honeycomb, chocolate cookie crumble, whipped white chocolate cream
Inspired by Salvador Dali ‘La persistencia de la Memoria’ (The persistence of the memory), 1931
Matched with: Segura Viudas Semi Seco NV

A theatrical dessert concluded our evening at The Robert Burns on a decadent chocolate note. The Semi Seco was a wonderful match with the medium acidity cutting through the richness of the dessert while the fruity and citrus notes matched the honeycomb and white chocolate cream perfectly. 
The Robert Burns brings the authentic tastes and cultures of Spain to Melbourne’s iconic Smith Street. A family and kid-friendly, restaurant, it is an ideal place for all occasions from relaxing in the courtyard, with drinks and tapas to a decadent dinner in the wine room.

Location: 376 Smith Street, Collingwood
Phone: 03 9417 2233
Link: http://www.robertburnshotel.com.au/
Cuisine: Spanish, Tapas, Mediterranean

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Punch Lane 20 years on

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Punch Lane.
20 years on and Punch Lane appears to be in more than perfect working condition. A minor facelift and updated food offering means this cherished laneway restaurant has never looked better.

With exposed natural wood grains, lamps that were salvaged from an Indian naval vessel, leather banquets and heavy use of accented wood tones, the dining room exudes a familial warmth and openness that is unique in Melbourne.  
Adding to the comfortable surrounds is warm hospitality combined with high quality, unpretentious food and wine, setting the perfect environment of style and fun for after-work drinks or pre-dinner gatherings.

The menu features Mediterranean cuisine, which Chef Daniel Schelbert has reimagined. 
Kingfish, burnt orange, avocado, pistachio

Our evening commenced with a delightful cold entrée dish of Kingfish. A positive highlight, the thick slices of very fresh kingfish were served with burnt orange, avocado, and pistachio. The dish was notable for the quality of the kingfish and the interplay between the tartness of the burnt orange and the richness of the avocado. It was incredibly flavoursome and well executed.
Slow cooked salmon, caramelised yoghurt, bois boudran & sorrel

The second entrée of slow cooked salmon was again, delicious. Boasting a lovely deep pink colour, the fish carried a rich depth of flavour.  The accompanying elements of caramelised yoghurt, bois boudran and sorrel were classic accompaniments which completed the dish.
Continuing the trend for the evening, the mains were delicious.
John Dory

We ordered an item from the “specials” list – the John Dory, and were very pleased that we did. Having been cooked to perfection, the John Dory had an enjoyably firm yet soft texture and was bursting with flavour. 
Roast Aylesbury duck breast, witlof, soubise, pickled cumquats

Our final savoury course of the evening, the roast duck, consisted of slices of duck breast which were cooked to a rarely found perfection. We enjoyed the subtleness of the soubise which allowed the rich flavour of the duck to shine through. The accompanying witlof added texture while the slightly tart cumquats provided balance to this luxurious dish.
Orange polenta cake, rhubarb, lemon ice cream
Banana parfait, candied walnut, maple ice cream

Our dinner concluded with a well-conceived dessert that exhibited flawless flavour combinations and textural diversity. The mild maple ice cream offset the accompanying rich bittersweet banana parfait while the candied walnut added a desirable touch of sweetness. Texturally, the crunchiness of the toffee, silkiness of the ice cream and gumminess of the caramelised banana slices ensured that each bite was as titillating as the last.
20 years on and Punch Lane’s place in the upper echelon of Melbourne’s culinary institutions appears secure for the foreseeable future.

Location: 43 Little Bourke Street, Melbourne
Phone: 03 9639 4944
Link: http://www.punchlane.com.au/
Cuisine: Mediterranean, Wine Bar, Modern Australian

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Jason Rodwell heads the kitchen @ Albert St Food & Wine

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Albert St Food & Wine.
Housed within an old bank, Albert St Food & Wine epitomises Melbourne’s unique dining culture - world class food served in a casual environment without pretence.
Since moving into the position of Executive Chef at Albert St Food & Wine in January 2014, Jason Rodwell has been preserving Albert Street’s position at the forefront of Melbourne’s dining landscape with a refreshed menu and a range of special dining events. 
The dishes at Albert St Food & Wine are undoubtedly the creations of an accomplished chef who not only understands and appreciates fresh, high quality produce but is able to craft from it perfectly harmonised flavour combinations. 
Having been a part of the team at Albert St Food & Wine since its inauguration in 2011, Jason Rodwell's resume is impressive - including stints at Michelin-starred restaurants Nahm and Royal Hospital Road in London as well as Auberge du Bon Laboureur in France’s Loire Valley. 
Left: Organic chicken, smashed cucumber, charred cost, sesame
Right: Wild mushroom ‘en papillotte’, crème fraiche, autumn crisps
Crispy scale blue cod, cauliflower, mussels, cavelo nero

The blue cod was cooked to perfection, retaining its characteristic delicate but firm texture, the sweet flesh was a delight. As promised, the skin was impressively crisp.
Grilled lamb breast, eggplant, smoked yoghurt, sheep sorrel

The perfectly seasoned, tender lamb with moreish. Eaten with the smoked yoghurt and sheep sorrel, this dish was complex and wonderfully crafted, immediately transporting us to the Middle East. 
Over the course of the evening, new Bar Manager Joey Tai, (previously of Brunswick Mess Hall and Golden Monkey and winner of a range of cocktail awards) wowed us with delectable cocktails (including a constant stream of espresso martinis).
Caramelised apples & quinces, quatre épices ice cream

A winter-warming dessert, the caramelised apples and quinces were perfectly poached with a delicate hint of cinnamon. 
Chocolate tart, mandarin ice cream, pop-corn

Decadently rich, the chocolate tart was a lovely end to a wonderful evening. The soft, rich chocolate filling was framed by thin sweet biscuit pastry. Topped with gold leaf, the mandarin ice cream provided freshness and was a clever counterbalance to the indulgent tart.
Albert St Food & Wine has consistently delivered captivating food to diners over the past few years. Under the expert guidance of Jason Rodwell, it appears the restaurant is in safe hands.

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