Loose Silhouettes – Man Repelling?

Sartorially offensive is what the ‘Man Repeller’ does. Taking fashion trends that men hate and popularising it into a movement of female emancipation and an attitude of ‘ I don’t give a ****’ is blissfully refreshing. Political correctness is boring, give me blunt, honest hilarity any-day. Whenever I see articles in the newspaper with sensationalist titles such as,’10 Fashion Trends that Men Hate’ or ‘What not to Wear to a Date’, it sends my feminist spirit into fury mode. Honestly, who cares what others think? I wouldn’t want my young niece to read these articles, and think the sole reason of her existence is to please another’s eyes. If I want to wear crotch sagging harem pants (jokes, those are truly horrible), clunky platforms, or a completely oversized duster coat, it’s a free world baby! Fashion is expression, so don’t let any sexist articles hinder your style ;).

Overall, I’m a big fan of 2015 pre-fall silhouettes, it’s loose, free and awfully comfortable. Brand favourites such as Celine, Cos or Acne have traditionally favoured this silhouette, with gorgeous minimalistic pieces. The latest ‘man-repelling’ fashion item are culottes. Otherwise known as those wide-legged pants that swallow the vertically challenged. Personally, I think they they look majestic, with a pair of stilettos and paired with an oversized waistcoat. Seems like more man-repelling fashion is on our way, and it never looked more comfortable.

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Valentine’s Day in Melbourne

Valentine’s day – it sends fear through the hearts of the unprepared and a deep sense of apathy for the singletons. I dedicate this post to the clueless males who dread this couple canoodling day. I’ve got you, Bro.

On this compulsory day of affection, millions of couples compensate for their lack of spontaneity and romance. C’mon, we know this is true.  The skeptics will be proclaiming, ‘I don’t need Valentine’s day to show my S.O that I love them’, or ‘ Capitalist idea invented for us to spend our money!’ (Are you North Korean?). You may be right, but SHHHH, a little extra effort might be helpful for your relationship.

The following is a simple guide to Valentine’s day including a handful of ‘special occasion’ restaurants. These were chosen on the basis of quality of food and the romantic atmosphere. The secret ingredient is thoughtfulness and spontaneity. Be prepared for some cheesy ideas.

CITY DATE

There’s no shame in a simple city date. Melbourne has that European feel, combined with the hidden surprise of alleyway finds. The sparkling city lights reflecting off the Yarra is quite romantic. A walk through Collins St brings a multitude of colours. If coming to the CBD isn’t a frequent occurrence for you and your lady, perhaps consider a city date.  The limitless options of restaurants & bars, makes dining so much easier.  For theatre entertainment, The Lion King has a Valentine’s Day show and Cirque Du Soleil have a show on Feb 13th. Be quick as tickets sell lightning fast.

In terms of romantic ambiance, ‘ The Moat’ is a great choice. The restaurant is hidden within the corner basement of the State Library and Wheeler Center. Cosy and elegant, the underground feeling creates an intimate setting for Mediterranean influenced tapas, with the calm tranquility of its classical library inspired decor. If your lady is a fan of sweets, head to Om Nom Dessert Bar, for the most decadently plated desserts in Melbourne. (More CBD dining options below)

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Group Dining in Melbourne

Got a group function to plan, but fear cooking? Xmas party, birthday, family gathering? Melbourne can be be a tough dining scene. ‘No booking’ policies and meandering queues are a common sight. It also doesn’t help that just about everybody is obsessed with food, and actually DON”T MIND queuing. Personally, I despise lines (unless you are Heston Blumenthal offering me a free meal at The Fat Duck); no lining up for me. The following are restaurants that are great for large groups (10+), have a fun noisy atmosphere and are happy to take large bookings without upfront payments (those places are the wankiest *cough Chin Chin).

ALBERT STREET FOOD & WINE

For a finer option, consider Albert Street Food and Wine, on Sydney Road. The environment is a casual one, casually breeding a restaurant with a wine bar to create a contemporary affair. Although, famed pastry chef Phillipa Sibley has left her post. Her second in command has upheld the quality of the menu. Surprisingly, highlights are still the dessert, with the deconstructed mascarpone cheesecake setting tastebuds alight.

There’s plenty of booths and tables for groups. The service can be a tad slow, but the seafood options are worth the wait. All-in-all, Albert Street Food & Wine is a great place for a group function, the food is good and the booze is even better. Cheers.

Pictured: Seared Scallops w/ Zucchini Flower, Bottarga, Fennel Aioli + Sundae + Seared Yellow Fine Tuna w/ Olives, Oyster Mushrooms, Blood Orange, Beurre Noisette + Wagyu Bresaola w/ Horseradish, Watercress

Albert Street Food and Wine on Urbanspoon

BERTH RESTAURANT & EVENTS 

If you need to impress with a scenic view, consider Berth Restaurant & Events at Docklands. It’s no Sydney harbour, but the glass windows capture the tranquil waters of the Dockland harbour and the sparkling city lights. The saying ‘ The better the view, the worst the food’, does not apply at Berth.  Don’t expect a complex 10 course degustation. The food is simplistic, but nevertheless tasty. The view will surely impress your guests. Considering the gastronomic nightmare that is Docklands, Berth is definitely one of the more acceptable restaurants.

Antipasto Platter for Two w/ Fried Olives, Feta cheese, Prosciutto, Arancini , Sundried tomatoes, Calamari

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Sister restaurants: San Telmo & Pastuso

South American cuisine provides a plethora of flavours, all unique to their countries of origin. For a country that is the biggest consumer of beef per capita, charcoal grilled beef is what Argentinian cuisine is best known for. San Telmo celebrates Argentinian cuisine, using the power of smoke and fire to produce a menu that celebrates all things beef. The success of San Telmo, led to the opening of it’s Peruvian sister restaurant. Pastuso’s menu is one that celebrates a variety of cultural influences, with a strong emphasis on ceviche. Both restaurants are best enjoyed in a group for maximum variety. But, compared to San Telmo, how does it’s sister restaurant compare?

SAN TELMO

Argentinian Parilla grill is star of the show at San Telmo. The Latin American inspired menu is heavily centred on meat, with a few curveballs such as Peruvian ceviche and a selection of tasty side dishes. The ceviches were zesty and fresh, with lemon cured seafood acting as a refreshing palate cleanser.

Beef reigns supreme at San Telmo. The fire and smoke of the Parilla grill, successfully recreates the style and flavour of Argentinian barbeque. The stand out dish was the hanger steak with servings of chimichurri and salsa – a perfect acidic accompaniment to one of the most tender pieces of meat I have tasted. Finally, a South American feast would remain incomplete, without the caramel goodness of a Dulce De Leche dessert

San Telmo is truly a carnivore’s heaven.  Even the decor is predominantly focused on cows, including the leather menus. There isn’t much to fault, except I would probably refrain from bringing any sensitive Vegetarian friends :P.

White Fish Ceviche 

Ceviche

Prawn Ceviche 

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A Beginners Guide to the Great Ocean Road

The Great Ocean Road is one of the iconic drives of Australia, stretching along the south eastern coast of Victoria between the towns of Torquay and Warrnambool. The most famous attraction are the Twelve Apostles, with busloads of tourists visiting the magnificent rock formations. We started at Apollo Bay and drove down to the Bay of Islands. This is a beginner’s guide to the highlights of the Great Ocean Road. Happy Road Tripping!

1. Moonlight Head – Wreck Beach

This is a slightly difficult walk, descending over 350 steps departing from Wreck Beach carpark. Signage is limited, be wary of turning into the wrong road, or you will end up on a narrow gravel path filled with potholes and ditches (yes, we got a tad lost). Follow the Moonlight Head sign, once you reach a fork in the road, turn left and you will notice a small ‘Wreck Beach’ sign.

The scenery is quite remarkable with pieces of ship wreckage embedded into the rock pools. The dilapidated anchors serves as a reminder of the treacherous nature of the ocean and the people that have drowned at sea. On a lighter note, mollusc sea life consistently wash up on shore, and the rock pools are home to an abundance of flora and fauna. Great fun for kids and nature lovers.

NOTE: This beach and wreckage is only accessible during low tides. Check the local websites for low tide times. It is also illegal to take home any of the washed up molluscs. Sure those abalones look tasty, but conservation is more important that your seafood dinner : ) .

For keen campers, the ‘Devils campsite’ is located close to Wreck Beach.

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City Wine Shop

The City Wine Shop is both a wine retailer and wine bar serving a ’round the clock’ food menu and quality wine. Located across from Parliament House, the setting is intimate with oaky ambiance and the sensation of feeling ‘hidden’. It’s the perfect date place. Not awkwardly quiet or overly noisy. Plus you are surrounded by liquid courage and sharing is caring at the City Wine Shop. If you grow weary of dessert franchises (by growing weary, I mean you have tasted everything), consider visiting restaurants or cellar bars such as the this one. The menu is often a rotating array of popular classic desserts, such as chocolate fondants, creme brûlées and parfaits. The accompanying gelatos are a stand-out, always refreshing and brimming with flavour.

Plus, is there anything more romantic than sharing a decadent plate of dessert with your romantic interest? Yes, having the plate to yourself ;).

Poached Pear w/ Ricotta Vanilla Parfait 

Pear & Ricotta Parfait

Creme Brûlée w/ Mandarin Gelato 

Creme Brulee

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Pho24 – Western Style Pho

Coming from a Vietnamese heritage, it’s fair to say that I have had a fair amount of exposure to authentic Vietnamese cuisine . Nothing beats a big bowl of pho on a winter’s day, crispy fried banh xeo or the pleasant pungency of vermicelli noodles in bun rieu (my fav!) Vietnamese cuisine is known for freshness and green veggies. We just love to wrap everything in leafy greens. Thanks heavens too, otherwise my diet would just be carbs :P.

Pho24 is a newly opened ‘western style quick service’ Vietnamese restaurant. It is a successful international franchise, originating from the streets of Vietnam, whose objective was to provide a comfortable eating environment for the traditional cuisine. Many doubted its success. ‘Who would pay that much for Pho in Asia’? But as haters hate, it was a massive success. Melbourne is the first Australian location.

Smoked Barramundi, Double cooked Chicken, Sticky Paprika Pork Rice Paper Rolls 

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Traditional Vietnamese Pork Banh Mi 

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