A Porky Christmas: Murray Valley Pork Rolled Loin

With Christmas only a month and a bit away, we thought we would share one of our Christmas dinner plans with you.
We have a tradition in our household of celebrating Christmas with decadent comfort food, all washed down with plenty of wine.

This year, we have a “crackling” pork recipe that is sure to impress. 

Roasted Pork Loin with perfect crackling
Serves 6

3.06 kg Murray Valley Pork Rolled Loin, rind on
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
boiling water
  1. Pour boiling hot water all over the pork.
  2. Dry the pork with paper towels.
  3. Rub and massage liberal amounts of olive oil into the skin.
  4. Sprinkle salt all over the surface of the skin.
  5. Place the pork on a roasting trivet.
  6. Roast the pork at a temperature of 220 degrees celcius for the first hour.
  7. After an hour, reduce the temperature to 185 degrees celcius and continue cooking until the pork is ready (e.g. for a further 30 minutes).
  8. Transfer the meat to a warm plate. 
  9. Remove the strings from the pork.
  10. Serve!

The pork came out of the oven looking absolutely perfect. Fragrant, sweet and succulent, this roast pork was winter comfort food at its best. Golden brown, blistered and crunchy, the pork crackling had us fighting for the last piece.

Get your hands on some Murray Valley Pork -> Find your nearest stockist here!
Or if you would like to find other porky recipe ideas, check out our posts about Murray Valley Pork's Rindless Scotch here or Murray Valley Pork's Cranberry & Almond Loin Roast here.

Gastrology bloggers tried the Rolled Pork Loin courtesy of MVP.

Bossy Boots

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Bossy Boots.
Drawing on the talent of two top Melbourne chefs Bossy Boots delivers generous hospitality and home cooked gourmet food in a contemporary café setting.
Under the guidance of chefs Ben Forehan and Rachael Browne, Bossy Boots are in capable hands. The pair have worked at notable Melbourne kitchens such as Stokehouse, Circa and Dench Bakers and are classically trained having both studied Vienoisserie at E’cole Le Notre, in Paris.

Bossy Boots has a large local following and is known for its relaxed ambience with chic courtyard and large windows  - the result is an inviting bright space. 
The menu is about fresh, honest food, with a mix of brunch and lunch staples and a nod to Italian fare.
Coffee is from Supreme and served expertly from a La Marzocco espresso machine.
Chicken Stuffed Peppers

The stuffed peppers were a brilliant start to our lunch at Bossy Boots. The peppers were bursting with flavour. The dish was uncomplicated but well executed.
Corn fritters with crispy bacon, avocado salsa, sour cream and chives.

The corn fritters had a crunchy golden brown exterior and were succulently sweet making for a great start to the day.
Carrot and macadamia cake

The carrot cake was a sweet end to our visit. The cake was moreish, moist, perfectly balanced and beautifully textured as a result of the luscious macadamia nuts that had been scattered generously throughout the cake and the citrus element in the icing added interest.
Bossy Boots café also offers some delicious take home food options. We took home a delicious chicken pie which we absolutely loved. The pastry was crisp and flaky – a testament to being worked carefully by masters of pastries Ben and Rachael. Rich and hearty with generous morsels of beautifully slow cooked chicken, it was an excellent pie.
Bossy Boots is an iconic café with its own relaxed style, creating a hub that is unique to Brighton and presents a wonderful counterpoint to the inner city, lane way cafes springing up around Melbourne.

Location: 106 Bay Street,  Brighton 
Phone: 03 9596 6825 
Link: http://www.bossyboots.com.au/ 
Cuisine: Breakfast, Salad, Bakery

Bossy Boots on Urbanspoon

Upcoming events: Gastronomique | Piper Street Food Co | Melb Wine Awards | Spins & Spritz | Project Botanicals | Peter Gilmore’s App | Heartattack and Vine

Over 25 of Victoria’s finest chefs will unite under one roof for Gastronomique, Anglicare Victoria’s gala food and wine charity night which supports vulnerable children to create a unique evening of food and wine.
The chefs will be donating their time, produce and expertise to cook for over 500 people at the Peninsula, Central Pier, Docklands on November 12.
Chefs taking part include: Adam D’Sylva from Coda and Tonka, Scott Pickett from Estelle, Joe Grbac from Saint Crispin, Gabriele Olivieri from Bottega, Oliver Gould from Stokehouse, Perry Schagen from The Graham, Colin Wood from Cumulus Inc, Tony Twitchett from Taxi Kitchen, Olimpia Bortolotto and Daniel Kranjcic from Cecconi’s Flinders Lane, Barry Davis from Montalto, Mathew Macartney from Eleonore’s at Chateau Yering, Nicky Riemer from Union Dining, Ludo Baulacky from Oscar W’s, Daniel Wilson from Huxtable, Stuart Bell from Ten Minutes by Tractor, Geoff Lindsay from Dandelion, Sonia Anthony from Masons of Bendigo, Andy Harmer from The Point, Matt Germanchis and Emma Bottos from Pei Modern, Brad Simpson from The Smith, Matt Dempsey from Gladioli and Donovan Cooke from The Atlantic Restaurant. 
Gastonomique is a special event where Victorian chefs unite for Victorian children. It is an unmissable night for people who love food, wine and want to support the State’s most vulnerable children.

Gastonomique is Anglicare Victoria’s major annual fundraising event and one of Australia’s biggest charity nights. Previously known as Dinner with the Angels, the gala evening includes signature dishes, fine wine and entertainment. 
What: Gastronomique
Date: Wednesday 12 November 2014
Time: 6:30pm – 11.45pm
Venue: Peninsula, Central Pier, 161 Harbour Esplanade, Docklands, Melbourne
Costs: $300.00 AUD per person
Public enquiries: www.anglicarevic.org.au
Phone: (03) 9412 6157

Piper Street Food Co. has expanded
Kyneton’s award winning charcuterie Piper St Food Co recently announced it’s brand new expansion.

After nearly 4 years of creating an award winning range of pates, terrines, rillettes, pies and sausages for top restaurants, delis, food stores and caterers, Damian & Bryanna Sandercock are officially launching their 7 day a week café, sourdough bakery, picnic shop and cooking school.
Their award winning range of charcuterie will take pride of place alongside:
  • our purpose built cooking school – featuring a brand new AGA!
  • a range of traditional sourdough breads
  •  a 7 day a week café
  • new kitchens including a temperature controlled butcher’s kitchen and a baker’s kitchen
For more information visit www.piperstfoodco.com.

Melb Wine Awards - Uncorked Friday 24th Oct
Melbourne wine enthusiasts will have their chance to taste their way through the best wines in Australia at the RMWA Uncorked.

Uncorked is the only event where the public can taste medal-winning wines from the 2014 Royal Melbourne Wine Awards (RMWA) in one place, just one week after the winners are revealed.

Winning wines from regional Victorian wine shows will also be on offer.

The RMWA, conducted by the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria (RASV), promotes excellence in winemaking and recognises outstanding achievement in the pursuit of quality. The rigorous judging process is conducted by a panel of local and international judges, sommeliers, writers, buyers, retailers and media. With more than 3,000 entries, winning an award at the RMWA establishes a wine as one of the very best – making for an easy consumer guide in wine selection.

Entry includes unlimited tastings and a take home Riedel wine glass as well as the most recent edition of James Halliday’s Wine Companion magazine.

Participants will enjoy discovering the best wines in the country accompanied by live music and delicious street food, delivering a Friday night drinking and dining experience like no other.

Taste your way through Australia’s best wines by varietal, journeying through the spectrum, from Australia’s best Chardonnay and Riesling right through to Pinot Noir, Merlot, Shiraz and everything in between.

Well regarded sommelier, wine writer and RMWA Committee Member Matt Skinner says, “For the last 130 years the Royal Melbourne Wine Awards have showcased the diversity and excellence of Australian wines. Uncorked allows the public to taste what our judges have had the privilege of tasting and awarding and celebrate all of the winners in one fantastic public event.”

Regional wine shows taking part in this year’s Uncorked event include Geelong, Heathcote, Gippsland, Rutherglen and the Victorian Wine Shows.

What: RMWA Uncorked
When: Friday, October 24th 6pm-10pm
Where: Collins Place, 4/45 Collins Street Melbourne
Cost: $50
Buy tickets: www.dashtickets.com.au/event/g1pqz5cw4


Spins & Spritz Launch Party @ Royal Saxon

The warmer months are coming up fast and Saxon Sundays are back...
The guys at the Saxon will buy your first Spritz for the season if fedoras and sunshine aren't enough reason!

Read more about Royal Saxon here

Bombay Sapphire’s Project Botanicals
Project Botanicals is a celebration of Australia’s continued love affair with gin, presented by Bombay Sapphire.
Project Botanicals is a distinctly different pop-up bar, which launched on November 19, 2014. Inspired by the world of gin botanicals, Bombay Sapphire Brand Ambassador, Sean Forsyth and Chef Gary Mehigan have crafted a unique bar and dining experience for Melburnians, pairing botanically led cocktails to gastronomy.
The menu at Project Botanicals will feature 10 botanically inspired Bombay Sapphire cocktails with 10 matching tapas style dishes.
  • Open for three weeks only from 19 November through until 6 December
  • Sittings available from 6pm-1am Wednesday to Saturday evenings 
  • Held at the newly established warehouse location of 64 Sutton Street, North Melbourne
  • Tickets are $35 per person (plus booking fee) and include two cocktails and two  matched dishes.
Visit www.projectbotanicals.com.au for further details and to purchase tickets.

Peter Gilmore’s new App for iPad now available in the App Store

Peter Gilmore’s new App for iPad is now available in the App Store.

The app is a rich digital extension to his new book, Organum and explores the stories behind 8 handpicked dishes through Peter's network of producers and unique ingredients, from concept to finished plate. Told through stunning layers of interactive visuals and audio.

The project is a joint venture between digital agency Pollen, award-winning creative director Reuben Crossman, photographer Brett Stevens and Peter Gilmore of Quay Restaurant.

Learn more about the app here

Heartattack and Vine launches
Gastrology recently attended the launch of Heartattack and Vine, the new restaurant venture from the team behind Wide Open Road and A Minor Place (Hootan Heyderi and Jono Hill) and two of their long-term employees (Nathen Doyle and Emily Bitto) . 

Unlike their cafés, Heartattack and Vine will be an all day operation – from 7am to 11pm, seven days a week – and will offer a contemporary take on the Venetian cicchetti bar. Think a light breakfast with excellent espresso; a quick, hearty lunch of traditional Roman street food (porchetta straight out of the oven served on a warm ciabatta roll); and long, relaxed evenings over aperitifs, good wine and cicchetti, the Italian-style bar food traditionally served in Venice, made fresh from local ingredients daily. 

Heartattack and Vine on Urbanspoon

Scarvelli Café - Balwyn's best kept secret

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Scarvelli Cafe.
A new café based in the heart of Balwyn, Scarvelli Café prides itself on providing legendary coffee and quality food that excite the senses.
The café has a contemporary vibe - comfortable wooden furnishings are juxtaposed with vintage chic antique mirrors which add clever accents. 
The menu is seasonal, fresh and delicious and focuses on a strong paddock-to-plate ethos.
Our coffees were well made, with the slight sweetness of the frothed milk cutting through the residual brightness from the foundation espresso (courtesy of Industry Beans).  Each came with an intricate rosetta in the milk foam.
Smashed avocado – whipped feta, confit tomatoes, basil oil on sourdough with wood-fire smoked salmon

A respectable assembly of breakfast essentials, two perfectly toasted slices of sourdough were canvassed with a creamy mash of feta and avocado. The wood-fired smoked salmon added a luscious salinity to the dish while the drizzles of aromatic basil oil brought the whole dish together. It was a simple and delightful dish.
Leading the flock - confit lamb, braised red cabbage and goat’s curd on toasted sourdough

Sandwiched between thick slices of buttered and toasted sourdough, generous shreds of confit lamb featured alongside beautifully braised red cabbage. It was a delicious lunch option that was highlighted by the captivating flavours and aromas of the lamb.
The café also delights with an exquisite range of sweet treats.
With a relaxed, unpretentious and uncomplicated approach, Scarvelli Café is a neighbourhood gem which ticks all the boxes. It's just a pity we couldn't keep it a secret.

Location: 143 Whitehorse Road, Balwyn
Phone: 03 9816 8887
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Modern Australian

Scarvelli Cafe on Urbanspoon

‘MATCHED’ @ The Boulevard

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of The Boulevard and Cake Wines.
Cake Wines recently launched ‘MATCHED’, a celebration of kitchens that don’t live in the limelight.
The campaign runs through-out July-Aug-Sept and is about celebrating “kitchens that don’t live in the limelight”, hearing stories from the chefs that run them, and giving some much needed love, and exposure, to the restaurants, cafes, tapas/wine bars and gastro pubs that sometimes get drowned out by the celebrity driven food world.
Cake Wines is a newish, contemporary winery from the Adelaide Hills made up of a couple of young wine makers and young wine lovers. Working with over 50 venues nationally, Cake has approached chefs / venues / owners to match their favourite dishes to any one of Cakes’ existing wines. Cake will dedicate their social media network to sharing some of these inspiring food and wine stories across the 3 months.
As part of the ‘MATCHED’ campaign, Gastrology were privileged to visit The Boulevard. A unique venue which offers beautiful views of Melbourne’s skyline and the local Studley Park precinct, the Boulevard is located a mere 10 minutes from the CBD. 
The menu features modern Australian cuisine which showcases the finest ingredients carefully selected from local and imported suppliers.
Whipped goat cheese with onion compote, house made dukkah and toasted olive sourdough

This was a scrumptious start. We enjoyed the prominent tartness of the goats cheese which was complemented by the sweet onion compote. 
House made gnocchi with mustard butter, fried sage and shaved grana padano

The beautifully pan fried gnocchi was wonderfully light and captivating with its fragrant sage aroma and lingering rich grana padano flavour.
Crispy skin barramundi with king prawn, sautéed spinach and prawn bisque

The quality of the barramundi was exemplary. The skin of the fish was perfectly seared to be very crisp while the flesh was delicate and moist. It was a dish that allowed the natural subtle sweetness of the fish to be enjoyed. The prawn bisque boasted a decadent depth of flavour and was the perfect accompaniment to the fish, king prawn and melt in your mouth spinach.
Slow braised beef cheeks in a red wine sauce, white bean puree, caramelised onions and crispy pancetta

The slow braised beef cheek was excellent – a memorable dish combining flawless texture with equally superlative flavours.
The matching wine, the Cake Wines Pinot Noir 2012 was the perfect match to the slow braised beef cheek. A supple and approachable wine, the summer fruit flavours and subtle spice notes complemented the earthy braising sauce and the sweetness of the onions. 
Banana and sticky date pudding with butterscotch, organic vanilla bean ice-cream, walnut praline

Consistent with the preceding courses, the banana and sticky date pudding was well made and decadently coated in copious amounts of rich butterscotch sauce. It was a lovely rendition of a classic dessert.
With a lovely relaxed ambience, cheerful wait staff and award winning Modern Australian cuisine, The Boulevard is an ideal venue to laze away the afternoon.  

Location: 121 Studley Park Road, Kew
Phone: 03 9852 8144
Cuisine: Modern Australian, Coffee, Breakfast/Brunch

The Boulevard on Urbanspoon

Winter Dinner - Murray Valley Pork Half Netted Shoulder

Gastrology bloggers tried the half netted shoulder courtesy of Murray Valley Pork.
Winter is the perfect time for decadent comfort food. With winter well and truly here, we thought we would share one of our favourite winter warming dinner recipes with you.

Roasted Half Netted Shoulder
Serves 6

2.04 kg Murray Valley Pork Half Netted Shoulder
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons sea salt
boiling water

  1. Pour boiling hot water all over the pork.
  2. Dry the pork with paper towels.
  3. Rub and massage liberal amounts of olive oil into the skin.
  4. Sprinkle salt all over the surface of the skin.
  5. Place the pork on a roasting trivet.
  6. Roast the pork at a temperature of 220 degrees celcius for the first hour.
  7. After an hour, reduce the temperature to 185 degrees celcius and continue cooking until the pork is ready (e.g. for a further 30 minutes).
  8. Transfer the meat to a warm plate. 
  9. Remove the strings from the pork.
  10. Serve!

The pork came out of the oven looking absolutely perfect. Fragrant, sweet and succulent, this roast pork was winter comfort food at its best. Golden brown, blistered and crunchy, the pork crackling had us fighting for the last piece.

Get your hands on some Murray Valley Pork -> Find your nearest stockist here!

Or if you would like to find other porky recipe ideas, check out our posts about Murray Valley Pork's Rindless Scotch here; Murray Valley Pork's Cranberry & Almond Loin Roast here; or Murray Valley Pork Rolled Loin here.

Month of The Prince @ Acland St Cantina - Taco Tuesdays | Cantina Crab Shack Thursdays and MORE... [April 2014]

Location: 2 Acland Street, St Kilda
Phone: (03) 9536 1175
Link: www.aclandstcantina.com.au
Cuisine: Mexican
Overall Impression: 9/10 

Clear your schedule, prepare the palate, polish your crown and get set for a festival of the senses as the Prince of Wales celebrates Month of The Prince in April 2014. Not only does April see the arrival of Prince William and Kate Middleton to Australia, but it also sees a hive of activity invade the iconic Prince of Wales complex in St Kilda, with a spate of feature events, exclusive guest-chef dinners, street festivals, live performances, lunch specials and accommodation packages available throughout the month.
Our all-time favourite Mexican haunt, Acland St Cantina celebrates "Month of The Prince" this April with lots of exciting foodie specials.

Cantina Crab Shack - Every Thursday in April
Every Thursday, Acland St Cantina’s Crab Shack will feature an evolving menu of deep-sea delights from everyone's favourite crustacean.  Clamp your claws around spanner crab tostadas, soft shell crab tacos and stuffed zucchini flowers. 

What: Cantina Crab Shack
When: Every Thursday in April
How much: $25 for 3 Baja California-inspired crab bites;  $50 for 3 bites + Veracruzbraised whole blue swimmer crab
Taco Tuesdays - Every Tuesday (duh!) in April
Every Tuesday, Acland St Cantina will be offering up some Mexican delights, all wrapped up in a soft tortilla.

What: Taco Tuesdays
When: Every Tuesday in April
Cost: $20 for 5 tacos; $10 margarita specials 

Read our review of Acland St Cantina here.

Other highlights include...

Savages and Hicks, Circa The Prince, Monday 7th April
Sydney’s chef of the moment, Brent Savage from Bentley Restaurant + Bar, join’s Circa’s Ashly Hicks to showcase a night of outstanding seasonal produce and flavor-forward fare with a five course menu. Wines will be matched by Bentley sommelier Nick Hildebrandt and Circa’s Sally Humble.
Tickets: Priced at $195 including 5 courses + matched wine.

Circa Through The Ages, Tuesday 15th April
A degustation dinner that will bring together some of Circa’s most memorable heads chefs, who will each prepare a dish from their time in tenure. Guest chefs include Matt Wilkinson, Philippa Sibley, David Moyle, Jake Nicolson, Ashly Hicks and Stephen Burke. Wine matched by past and present Circa sommeliers including Sally Humble, Chris Crawford, Matt Brooke and Sarah Ward.
Tickets: Priced at $165 including 5 courses + matched wine.

Street Feud, The Deck, Sunday 27th April
A street food stand-off between Melbourne’s sticky finger specialists on The Deck at Circa, including Hanoi Hannah, Saigon Sally, Charlie Dumpling, Acland St Cantina, Newmarket Hotel and more. Street Feud invites the public to scoff and score Melbourne’s favourite side-walk serves.
Tickets: Priced at $39 including a dish from each participating vendor

Lunch Like a Prince, Circa, April
Circa invites you to lunch like a prince on a poor man’s budget with a $25 two course menu + wine, available every Monday to Friday in April.

Live Music, Prince Bandroom and Prince Public Bar
Keep your ear buds on a high post Grand Prix, as April cranks up the decibels with huge local and international acts rocking the Prince Bandroom, including The Fratellis (April 4), Kodaline (April 5), Michael Franti & Spearhead (April 16), Devendra Banhart (April 17) and Yacht Club DJÕs (April 18). Get down and grungy at the Prince Public Bar with free live gigs by Drunk Mums, The Mighty Boys, Mimi V and Denver Maxx on April 4, plus a formidable line up including Gossamer Pride, Harvey Cartel, The Tarantinos, Papa G & The Starcats and Arthur Penn & The Funk Ten on April 26.

Live Like A Prince, The Prince Hotel
Live like royalty at The Prince Palace (Hotel) for stays in April, with a regal accommodation package that includes twin share accommodation, dinner for two at Circa, royal cocktails for two at Circa Bar and breakfast for two at Acland St Cantina.
Package Price: $450 per couple.

Check out more information on Month of the Prince here. 

A Porky Christmas: Murray Valley Pork Rindless Scotch

After the success of cooking up Murray Valley Pork’s Cranberry & Almond Loin Roast, we decided to be a little more adventurous. 
This time, we used Murray Valley Pork’s Rindless Scotch (also known as collar butt) which is rindless and boneless. 
We had just received some good news and we were in the mood to celebrate!
To start, we made a few home-made dips and a loaf of rosemary bread.
The pièce de résistance was our slow cooked Murray Valley Pork Rindless Scotch which we served on a bed of quinoa and spinach. We tweaked a Gordon Ramsay Pork Belly recipe (which you can find here) and the results were absolutely stunning!

Here is the recipe for it:

Slow-cooked Pork with fennel recipe
Serves 6


Black pepper
3 baby fennel bulbs, trimmed and roughly sliced
4 fresh bay leaves
3 garlic cloves, peeled and bashed
1 tsp cardamom pods, bashed
4 star anise
1 tbsp fennel seeds
Olive oil
500ml white wine
1l chicken stock (depending on the size of your pan/slowcooker)
1 tbsp wholegrain mustard
  1. Put the fennel, bay leaves, garlic, cardamom, star anise and half the fennel seeds into a hot roasting tray on the hob with a little oil and heat for about 2 minutes until aromatic. Push to the side of the tray, then add the pork and cook for at least 5 minutes until turning golden brown. Turn the pork over, season the skin again with pepper and sprinkle with the remaining fennel seeds
  2. Pour in the wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up the bits from the bottom. Bring to the boil, then pour in enough stock to cover the pork and allow to boil again.
  3. Transfer the contents of the tray into a slowcooker  and cook on “low” for 7 hours.
  4. Transfer the meat to a warm plate and set aside to rest. 
  5. Reduce some of the liquid contents from the slowcooker to make a sauce and add the mustard. Mix in with a whisk, then taste and adjust the flavours as necessary. Strain and pour the sauce into a jug. 
  6. Serve the rested pork with the sauce alongside.
The pork was sensational. We loved the fact that is was so lean, fresh and healthy. 

Fragrant, sweet and succulent, this pork was absolutely delicious. The meat was incredibly tender and just melted in our mouths. The accompanying sauce had a lovely depth of flavour. It was perfect for celebrating a special occasion. 

Get your hands on some Murray Valley Pork -> Find your nearest stockist here!
Gastrology bloggers tried the Rindless Scotch courtesy of MVP.

Cafe Review: Magic on Ferrars

Location: 286 Ferrars St South Melbourne
Phone: 0414 991 556   
Link: Facebook
Cuisine: Organic, Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee
Overall Impression: 8/10
A new cafe darling of South Melbourne, Magic on Ferrars is all about exceptional service, coffee and food.

After starting the café 9 months ago, Ashley Kniveton and his wife, Verlyn have devoted all their energy into developing Magic. Bringing dedication and a wealth of professional experience from working in other cafes around Melbourne, the pair have created a delightful, welcoming café with unpretentious dishes and friendly staff.
The menu is reasonably priced, fresh and is underpinned by the ethos that cafes should use seasonal produce sourced from Victoria. The food served by the kitchen ranges from well-loved breakfast favourites to hearty lunch items.
The coffee beans are sourced from award-winning St Ali coffee roasters - a fact not lost on customers who relish in the quality caffeine hit.
The cappuccino contained a perfect layer of silken froth, complete with a flawless rosetta, and tasted terrific.
Your Beautiful Muesli
Organic Muesli with Shulz Yogurt, Fresh Fruit and Poached Apricots

The muesli was a fresh, moist and delicious option. The poached apricots were a beautiful addition.
The Smasher
Meredith Goats Feta Smashed with Fresh Avocado and Free Range Eggs with a dash of Lemon Oil

The two perfectly poached eggs were accompanied by a creamy mash of feta and avocado. It was a simple and delightful dish.
Mother Fritter
Corn and zucchini with a touch of chilli a side of Atlantic Salmon, an egg and some garden salad

The corn fritters had a crunchy golden brown exterior and were succulently sweet - the nuggets of deep fried batter brought pleasure to our taste buds. The smoked salmon was fresh and the egg was expertly poached.
Magic’s big breakfast
Served with egg’s your choice, toast, roasted tomatoes, mushrooms, bacon, chorizo and avocado

Two perfectly fried eggs were succulently seasoned with rashers of smokey bacon and chorizo. These were accompanied by juicy roasted tomatoes and mushrooms. In all, this dish was a respectable assembly of breakfast essentials.
Magic on Ferrars also offers delectable cakes and baked goods delivered daily by pastry chef Matt Forbes.
Salted Caramel doughnuts
Cherry curd doughnuts

These golden puffs were stunning. Ethereal in texture, the doughnuts were cinnamon-sugar coated and jam-packed with delicious fillings. The salted caramel filling was beautifully creamy and decadent. The cherry filling on the other hand was fragrant, fruity and had the perfect tartness. We had difficulty picking a favourite!
Ashley and Verlyn have certainly brought some magic to South Melbourne. Exceptional service, great food coupled with some of Melbourne's best coffee in a relaxing environment, Magic is a quintessentially Melbourne coffee hot spot.

Magic on Ferrars on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Magic.

Third Wave Cafe opens a second cafe in Prahran

Third Wave Cafe has just opened the doors to its new Prahran location. Bigger sister to the existing Third Wave Cafe in Port Melbourne, it pioneers a culture focused on good coffee and food from around the world including Russian dishes and various options with an American BBQ twist.
The cafe has a neighbourhood vibe - alive with a bustling breakfast, brunch and lunch trade. We loved the casual and contemporary decor. Bright walls are complemented by comfortable dark wooden furnishings and potted plants provide a clever accent, as do the light bulbs that hang from the ceiling. 
As expected from a cafe that is serious about coffee, the coffee is seriously good. Our coffees were rich and full-bodied with a smooth cocoa taste and nutty undertone. 
Adopting a chilled Prahran culture, the new Third Wave is ready and waiting on a new influx of clients as the news about it spreads. With waitstaff that are warm and friendly and service that is desirably prompt, it is the perfect scene for a lazy afternoon with good friends and good coffee. 

Third Wave on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Third Wave.

Taxi Dining Room's November Sundays Series

Boasting some of the best views, food, wine and service that Melbourne has to offer, Taxi Dining Room has established itself as a prime destination for sophisticated dining.
Taxi Dining Room recently launched its "Month of Sundays" series of lunches. The Month of Sundays events move away from the more traditional fine dining experience that Taxi is renowned for, instead utilising a monthly hero ingredient to plate up a communal, fun and affordable family lunch. 
The hero ingredient for November is Chatham Island blue cod. Gastrology bloggers were privileged to enjoy an exclusive (and delicious) pre-sitting of the November Sunday lunch menu last week. Here is a sneak peek to whet your appetites… 
Tuna Sashimi with wasabi yuzu dressing 

The wasabi yuzu dressing was refreshing and mild, preserving the integrity of the beautifully fresh, delicate slices of tuna. 
Rare beef salad with roasted peanuts and red chilli dressing 

This dish was a triumph, both in terms of texture and flavour. The tender slices of beef were dressed beautifully with an expertly judge blend of lime juice, palm sugar, fish sauce and soy. The crunchy peanuts and spring onions provided texture whilst the basil and coriander leaves provided freshness. 
Szechwan pork with silken tofu and black bean leeks 

An expertly seasoned, comforting and delicious dish courtesy of the chilli broad bean paste, fermented black beans and rice wine. 
Steamed Chatham Island blue cod with ginger and spring onion 

Beautifully fresh, vividly white pieces of Chatham Island blue cod were paired with lap cheong (Chinese sausage), ginger and spring onion – a traditional Asian blend of ingredients that just works. 
White chocolate and almond parfait 

This dessert was a wonderful example of restrained elegance - the parfait was subtly flavoured and exquisitely textured. It was an indulgent end to a wonderful meal. 
Taxi has become a landmark in Melbourne's progressive dining scene as a result of its premium service, delicious food, excellent wine list and wonderful views. Taxi’s new "Month of Sundays" menu offers the smart, contemporary dining experience we have come to expect from Taxi, but with a fun, approachable and communal flair that makes it a great lazy Sunday lunch option with friends and family.

Cost: $65 per person
When: 12 noon until 4.30 pm, every Sunday in November
Bookings: Call 9654 8808 or book online

Taxi Dining Room on Urbanspoon

Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of Taxi Dining Room.

Cafe Review: NBHD Neanderthal

Location: 153 Commercial Road, South Yarra
Phone: 03 9826 4880
Link: facebook
Cuisine: Breakfast/Brunch, Coffee, Modern Australian
Overall Impression: 8/10

Having opened a mere 9 months ago, NBHD Neanderthal is fast becoming one of South Yarra’s favourite coffee haunts. The café is a collaboration between two brothers, Nicholas and Dax Byrne and reflects their belief that good food + good friends = good times. Having experienced a wonderful Sunday brunch at NBHD Neanderthal, we think they've got the equation spot on.
Occupying an unassuming shop-front on Commercial Road, and inspired by the music, cultures and people who surround them, the two brothers have opened a refreshingly different cafe in the mould of an eclectically styled clubhouse. Inside you will find an atmosphere that genuinely expresses Nicholas and Dax's personalities, and speaks of their creativity and journey from humble beginnings.
Whilst cold drip coffee has become a staple in the Melbourne coffee scene, NBHD Neanderthal have gone several steps further with an Australian first - cold brew coffee on nitro. The nitrogen charged cold brew "on tap" is poured from a beer tap and served tall over ice. The end result is a complex, smooth, full-bodied brew with a bright juiciness, low acidity and a long chocolate caramel finish - the perfect drink as the weather heats up.
Given the passion Nicholas and Dax have for coffee, it is unsurprising that their "regular" coffees are also of the highest standard. Apart from the excellent coffee, NBHD Neanderthal also serves up a delicious menu.
Salmon on Rye
2 poached eggs served on fresh spinach, ricotta, salmon and beetroot infused hollandaise 

The smoked salmon was fresh, the ricotta was creamy and the egg was perfectly poached. The creamy runny egg yolk complemented the salty smoked salmon and the whole dish was brought together by the beetroot infused hollandaise.
Slow braised lamb shanks served with mashed potato beef jus and topped with persian fetta and pistachio crumble and baby micro herbs 

The lamb shanks were the highlight of our afternoon, combining flawless texture with superlative flavours. Superbly slow braised, the tender meat of the lamb shanks fell delicately off the bone. The subtle pistachio crumble and the mild Persian fetta melded stunningly with the dreamy mash and jus. 
Hotcakes with maple syrup & candy bacon 

This dish wantonly disregards the current trend toward healthy eating and, as a result, is decadently delicious. The light hot cakes are drizzled with maple syrup and adorned with thickly cut slices of candied pork belly - a dish best reserved for a special occasion.
The excellent coffee (including the Nitro cold brew coffee on tap), the delicious menu and the authentically cool atmosphere of NBHD Neanderthal means we cannot wait to come back. After chatting with Nicholas and Dax, it is clear they are self confessed coffee geeks. But when it comes to coffee, being a geek is cool.

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Gastrology bloggers dined courtesy of NBHD Neanderthal.

Celebrate Spring with lazy Sundays @ Royal Saxon

Location: 545 Church Street, Richmond
Phone: 03 9429 5277
Link: http://www.royalsaxon.com/
Cuisine: Italian, Pub/Bar Food, Coffee
Overall Impression: 8/10 
After the success of Spins, Spits and Swallows in July and August, the restaurant is continuing these Lazy Sunday sessions over spring!

Every Sunday from 12 pm to 8 pm this Spring, the Royal Saxon serves up succulent spring lamb panini from the courtyard spit and a special 2 course, Sunday Spring Lamb Roast set menu on top of their delicious a la carte menu. 
Buzzing for lunch on a Sunday, the Royal Saxon is a great place to finish the weekend off, especially given the Sunday specials include $5 Heineken, $5 Coldstream Cider, $12 Laurent Perrier and $20 Pink Lemonade cocktail carafes. 
Royal Saxon's hearty modern Italian menu and sharp, friendly service makes it a perfect Sunday lunch destination. Head down to the Royal Saxon for a spring celebration with Spins, Spits and Swallows over a cheeky cocktail and some delicious Spring Lamb Roast.

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