Scarf Dinner @ Green Park

The Scarf Community is an innovative social enterprise, helping young people achieve their hospitality dream.  The catch 22 of ‘needing experience to get a job, but needing a job to get experience’, is certainly a frustrating one. Particularly for young migrants, refugees and asylum seekers facing significant employment barriers. The brilliance of Scarf is that it provides professional mentors and industry specific experience, to those that need it most.

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Top 5 New Brunch Openings of 2015

The Melbourne brunch game is strong. Too strong. There’s only one of me and a stampede of cafes to try.  Barely a quarter of the year has passed and a number of exceptional cafes have settled nicely into their leafy homes and suburban alleyways. From Hong Kong waffles with green tea ice cream, to Chinese doughnuts stuffed with cheese. The brunch scene has never been so exciting.  Gone are the days of boring ol’ scrambled eggs and eggs benedict. No doubt, all these cafes will cement themselves as Melbourne favourites. Here are the top 5 new brunch openings of 2015.

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Oree Korean Duck Restaurant

Korean BBQ is a meat-lovers dream. Thickly sliced pork belly, quality cuts of wagyu, roasted oyster mushrooms – it’s a tradition synonymous with Korean culture and who can blame them? These havens of chargrilled meats and smoky aromas scatter the Melbourne CBD. Although some are better than others when it comes to meat quality, they are more or less comparable.

Oree’s speciality is all about duck. When I say it’s all about duck, I am not even slightly exaggerating. The menu is duck crazy. Duck dumplings. Duck congree. Duck salad. No doubt, the star of the show is the Korean Duck BBQ – sourced locally in Victoria and chargrilled with potato slices and oyster mushrooms.

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Melbourne CBD Tapas – Part 2

The revival of tapas style dining over the last few years has cemented Melbourne’s obsession with small plate dining. Sharing is caring after all, and diners have finally realised the fun and variety that Europeans and Asians have known for years. The trend is still going strong in 2015. Everyone knows the big guns, so join me for an exploration of Melbourne’s lesser known tapas restaurants. Personal favourites were Sezar and Nieuw Amsterdam. Part 1 is here.

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Hobba – Autumn Menu Launch

Melbourne’s mid-autumn sunshine has been uncommonly kind (knock on wood). Inevitably, as we set aside our much loved Havianas and glasses of Pimms, the team at Hobba have been hard at work tweaking their autumn menu.

Head chef, Rhys Hunter has a decade of cooking experience working across Aussie icons: Giuseppe Arnaldo and Sons, St Ali and the Iceburgs Group in Sydney. With a few international stints, Rhy’s global perspective has influenced the Hobba menu, with touches of international inspiration. There’s plenty of warmth with slow-cooked pork, chilli con corne, root vegetables and all the other classic brunch dishes. As the dreary weather and yellowing foliage starts to creep in, Melbournians can take comfort at Hobba.

Hungrycookie was fortunate to sample the Autumn menu pre-launch. Highlights were the Pan Seared Snapper and the Wild Mushrooms.

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Korean Western Fusion in Melbourne

Gangnam style and plastic surgery aside, there’s more to Korea than all things bubble-pop. Sliders, clean-eating, dumplings – Melbournians adore food trends to the point of over-indulgence. Do you remember the tsunami of macarons in 2012? Korean Fusion is no exception with restaurants popping left, right and centre.  Combining elements of traditional Korean with Western ingredients; has elevated the status of Korean dining from boring ol’ bibimbap to the likes of Korean tacos, Kim Chi fries and all things mouth-watering. The trend emanated from the food carts of NYC, spreading globally as diners realised the glory of Western/Korean Fusion. Mexican and Korean? BEST match ever.

Here are the best Korean Fusion restaurants in Melbourne:

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Mörk Chocolate

Willy Wonka has moved to North Melbourne with the opening of Mörk Chocolate. Alas, there are no Oompa Loompas, but there is plenty of dark chocolate. With a name speaking to its devotion (Mörk is Swedish for ‘dark’), this diminutive North Melbourne cafe are true chocolate artisans. Differentiated from the larger chocolate franchises, Mörk’s hot chocolate is made with all-natural ingredients – Cocoa powder sourced from Ghana, Cacao Liquor from Venezuela and unrefined coconut blossom sugar (a diabetic friendly sweetener). Suddenly, hot chocolate is cool again.

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Supernormal

What do you do when you have a successful business venture? Well, you expand of course. Andrew McConnell is no stranger to feeding crowds, with a string of successful restaurants including Cutler & Co, Cumulus Inc, Builders Arm Hotel and Luxembourg. No matter the cuisine, Andrew delivers, creating a trendy vibe and a queue of eager foodies. With the Midas touch, I question whether he is in possession of a magical food wand.

Supernormal, with its crimson neon cherries, acts as a gesticulation to hungry Melbournians to enter and salivate at the distinctive Asian Menu. The katakana signage and raw menu screams Japanese, but touches of Chinese and Korean, creates a fusion menu that takes diners on a journey through Asia. Freshly steamed baos, Szechuan lamb, sashimi – this is one red light district I would happily enter :P.

We tasted the banquet menu, as part of Zomato Australia’s first #zomatomeetup.

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A Guide to Brunching in Flemington/Kensington

What springs to mind when you think of Flemington? ‘The races!’ ‘Future music festival!’ ‘Creepy guy on the 57 tram’. There’s more to this inner city suburb, than the occasional event. This ethnically diverse suburb is quiet on most days, with brunch places scattered around the Flemington, Kensington and the Travancore area. Admittedly, the cafes are cosy, but quality trumps quantity any day. Personal favourites were the ‘The Premises’, ‘STREAT’ and ‘ Mr Ed’.

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A beginner’s guide to New York City

New York’s iconic skyline has been an inspiration to many – from Jay Z to Sinatra to wide-eyed fashion interns, the allure of New York City has attracted both tourists and dreamers alike. This is a quick guide to travelling around the Big Apple for first timers.

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