The Wise / Prahran
The Wise, hot new restaurant and tapas bar located just off Chapel Street in Prahran. Nick and I were privileged to get invited to the launch party to taste some sample dishes and enjoy a few drinks.
Erase and rewind was what we immediately felt when walking through the door. Cosy small venue, with a warm ambiance where you can easily tune out of what is going on around you, and tune in to what is happening inside.
I love the different variations of wood, the old books, and the vintage wallpaper interior.
We got to the party early which was fortunate as we got to quickly snatch the most comfortable seat in the house. Here I met fellow food blogger Ashley from I’m so hungree.
As the night progressed, The drinks started flowing, and I caught up with a few other bloggers including Alan from Almost Always Ravenous, Sarah from Style Melbourne, James from Ravishing Retail and Lexi from Retail Therapie. We were also pleasured to meet Kane from My Kitchen Rules, Kylie and Alice from Masterchef, Ben the winner of Big Brother, and a whole lot of other great people.
Drinks and celebrities aside, I came here to blog about the food. Off to a great start, as the first dish they served was a little out of the ordinary.
It was anchovy wrapped over an olive, roasted red pepper and baby gherkin. A daring yet quirky dish to start the party. I felt like I needed breath freshener after eating this, but luckily everyone was eating the same thing, so that wasn’t necessary.
Trio of dips, usually served with sourdough. Spanish tomato sauce with peppers and onions. Greek feta spread with green peppers and oregano. Venezuelan guacamole with avocado, tabasco, garlic and lemon. All very tasty and flavoursome.
It’s always hard to remember all the food you eat at a launch, especially when it’s not listed on the menu. I think this is some cheese and meat selected from the antipasto platter that is available. It tasted great and transitioned the tastebuds nicely before moving onto the heavier dishes.
Chorizo, grilled spanish sausage served with white wine sauce. A simple, but necessary dish when serving spanish tapas. They had a subtle but friendly kick to them, which got me a tad more excited than I should have been.
Croquettes, house made and filled with prosciutto and mussels in a béchamel sauce. I try to stay away from too much deep fried food, but these were so good I couldn’t resist.
At this point it gets a little bit blurry as the wines kept flowing and the food was going quick. Don’t judge me. With my guess this looks like either the omelette or the cheese. I’ll let you decide.
And this one is also the omelette or cheese, or something else… anyway it doesn’t matter as they were both delicious and i’m a great food blogger.
I do remember this though, the Ali-Oli Calimari - Marinated and grilled calamari served with aoli. The calamari aroma was quite pungent, in a good way (if you like calamari). The saltiness balanced out by the delicious creamy aioli.
Nick got a tad distracted at the bar while I was getting fed. He missed out on this great Greek Moussaka - sautéed eggplant layered with potatoes, ground beef, topped with béchamel sauce was divine. One of my favourites of the night.
Marinated rockling fillets lightly fried with aioli. Not too fishy, crunchy outside, soft inside. It’s not too healthy because it’s fried, but it’s not too unhealthy because it’s fish. A pleasing dish for all me thinks.
Handmade lamb meatballs pan fried served in almond sauce. Fragrant, delicious, I think I ate it all in one gulp. Oops.
Potatoes Bravas - Sautéed garlic potatoes served in a traditional brava sauce. These were very tasty and super addictive. Cut into the cutest bite size pieces.
Aragonese style pan fried chicken pieces with tomato, onion and rosemary in a white wine sauce. Tender, soft and flavoursome. It doesn’t have that usual ‘crunch’ you get with BBQ’ed chicken nibbles, but the softness allows the great flavour to shine through.
The Wise is a great place for breakfast, lunch or dinner. They have the menu and environment to satisfy any occasion. All the food was tasty and goes great with alcohol - which of course they have a great wine list, cocktails and need I mention, Sangria Sundays.
Disclaimer: The images and descriptions of the dishes might be a little inaccurate at some points, but the experience was not. I had a great time and the vibe throughout the whole night was great. Huge thanks to Jess and Greg the owners of The Wise, and SilverLeafPR.
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The Wise Tapas Bar and Restaurant
173 High Street
Etto / South Melbourne
Melbourne’s hottest new pasta joint ‘Etto,’ has opened up in my local area and i’ve fallen in love. Coming from a graphic design background, this sexy branding caught my attention.
After setting such a high standard from their branding, I was anxious to see how good the food would be. Despite seeing similar typography/branding around, Etto has a unique style and a great sense of authenticity in delivering the best ‘Italian street pasta’.
Pasta is one of my favourite things in the world, so I was excited to see a place which specialises in fresh pasta.
Cute simple interior with a modern design, seating around 10 people inside. The ambiance was laid back and warm with a fun, family friendly environment.
Outside seating available for rush hour or outdoor friendly days, although I think majority of the customers choose the take-away option. I wouldn’t blame them, as the food comes in a trendy brown paper bag. Perfect for lunches, dinner, or an afternoon snack if you’re a fatty.
The beautiful typography is carried all the way through their branding, with the menu including info-graphics of pasta. The deal is - you pick your pasta, and then you pick your sauce to stir through, or a salad. It’s impossible to go wrong, as everything in the menu looks delicious.
There’s no need to fear if you don’t know what “rigatoni” or “pappardelle” or “tagliatelle” is. Etto has fresh pasta all labeled or info-graphicised for your learning pleasure. And if you’re still stuck, i’m sure a little bit of human interaction won’t hurt. The staff here are very friendly.
Lauren got the smoked salmon and roast capers with dill, rocket and lemon infused olive oil with desiree potato gnocchi. I had a few bites and was in gnocchi heaven.
Gnocchi was ultra fluffy and moist, and sauce was deliciously flavoursome. I would have chosen this sauce if I liked rocket - it’s one of the very few ingredients I am still learning to like.
Justine ordered the basil and pine nut pesto in a light cream sauce with toasted herb pine nuts. Delicious pesto flavour and once again a delicate light and fluffy gnocchi.
Pesto has a tendency to be quite rich, which was also applied onto this dish. I personally love pesto, and enjoyed the 3 spoonfuls I managed to steal.
My choice on the menu was the smoky pancetta carbonara with crunchy breadcrumbs in a light white wine cream sauce. I got it with spinach tagliatelle. No regrets, and a rare occurrence - no food envy!
A great carbonara sauce, with excellent texture and crunch added by the breadcrumbs. The sauce was light and creamy and releasing a beautiful flavour without overpowering the delicious smoky pancetta. The spinach tagliatelle added a bit of green to the dish to make it a bit ‘healthier.’
At first glance, I judged the serving size as it was tiny and was immediatley dissapointed - however, by the end of our meals, we full and very satisfied. The girls even had about 4 gnocchi pieces left over (which I ate of course.) At around $12 a dish, this pasta is great quality and excellent value. I will definitely be back to try the rest of the menu.
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Etto Italian Street Pasta
251 Clarendon Street
Where?House / Melbourne
Where?house you ask? Melbourne Music Week launched their festival hub at a top secret pop-up location this year. I was lucky enough to get a +1 VIP ticket to an opening event hosted by SONOS.
Located at the Argus building on the corner of La Trobe and Elizabeth Street. This abandoned gothic building creates the perfect setting for drunk party animals, eargasmic music and great food or in this case Melbourne Music Week.
There were still workers on site fixing things when we arrived, which made me unsure about the legitimacy and saftey of the event. The excitement built as we entered the building, rustic, spacious, grungy, abandoned and crazy.
All our worries and concerns evapourated as we were lured into the exciting environment thanks to great music, shifty lights, the smell of delicious food and the thirst for booze.
When the invite mentioned “Free Food” I was expecting a sausage sizzle. To my surprise we were presented with the most delicious, funky and hip vendors. I devoured all the food there was on offer. I Love Pho 246, Phat Bratz, Huxtaburger, Touche Hombre, and Fancy Hanks. (Note: Food may be smaller portion sizes in images, so don’t fret.)
My first time trying a Huxtaburger (guilty), and it was Huxta-de-licious as expected. Tasted even better because it was free. Delicious Wagyu beef with a pungent meaty flavour and a generous dollop of sauce. I hate when a burger isn’t saucy enough! Couldn’t flaw the burger really, soft bun, tasty fillings. Will definitely be back to try some more.
Was very excited to see my favorite sausage shop here. Top notch dogs for top notch people, like us!
Delicious as always, meaty sausage was balanced by the delicate pulled pork and refreshing appleslaw. Phat Brats have an amazing menu, taking your hot dog experience to a whole new level.
Tacos from Touche Hombre, a very cool Mexican restaurant / Tequila bar in the city. Delicious taco’s fresh and heathy tasting. I have tried a few tacos, but will need to head back as I consumed too much tequila to remember what I ordered. Touche Hombre has a really cool vibe so check it out.
BBQ Ribs from Fancy Hanks, a brand new restaurant/venue specialising in BBQ cuisine, if you can call it that. These delicious ribs were totally flavoursome and manly. Fancy Hanks are planning on opening up a store near/in the convent, not sure when but it will be worth the wait.
Vietnamese prawn cracker taco’s by I Love Pho 246. Pretty much a Vietnamese salad on a prawn cracker, my favorite kind of salad. Refreshing, healthy and crisp. The juicy dressing added a hit of flavour, leaving my mouth watering for more. They had pretty good spring rolls, rice paper rolls and deep fried calamari too. I will definitely be heading out to Richmond to find this place and devour all they have.
All of the food is amazingly delicious, but who am I kidding, people are here to get drunk and dance to music. It’s a shame the event is now over and nothing is left, however i’m sure Melbourne Music Week will be doing something equally as exciting next year. You can still try all the amazing food, you will just have to venture around to find them all.
Dead Man Espresso / South Melbourne
Dead Man Espresso is one of my favorite local cafe’s just around the corner. He is hiding away on a secluded corner in South Melbourne, yet everyone knows where he is. This gem of a café has critics, bloggers, hipsters and normal people alike creaming themselves.
I love how I can ride my bike, park it up and walk right in with extra swag. At least I think I have swag, but it’s probably just helmet hair.
Quirky light fittings with elegant and simple décor. Modern and hip.
As mentioned; critics, bloggers, hipsters and normal people creaming themselves. No, seriously, this place is often full but I have been lucky enough to get a seat every visit. Well worth the wait.
Even the cabinet food looks alright, catering for those in a rush or those unlucky ones who missed out on a seat.
Vibrant flowers lighten up the room and make me feel happy, it’s probably going to do the same to you.
Delicious coffee, they have two blends available. Seven Seeds (house) or Market Lane (special). Both are delicious.
Freerange eggs on toast. Simple and light, for the conservative or the one with the weak stomach.
Avocado on Zeally Bay Organic toast with chevre, grapefruit, toasted almonds & radish. Delicious combination of flavours, fresh and vibrant.
Big breakfast special - poached egg, baked beans, bacon, toast, tomato, mushrooms, sausage. Hearty breakfast that will either satisfy or dis-satisfy your stomach. A good hangover meal.
Herb and potato rosti with poached egg, avocado and smoked salmon. loved the rosti, delicious and filling without being too heavy or bland.
Buttermilk banana pancakes with Melbourne Rooftop Honey mascarpone & white choc crumb. Delicate and unique elements that all compliment each other.
After enjoying such lovely meals at this wonderful café, I just wanted to take it home with me. Well, it turns out I can! You can buy Melbourne Rooftop Honey here or Dead Man Espresso coffee beans, tea towels and other merchandise. I really like this place. Not particularly for the food, not for the coffee, nor the environment, but for all of the above.
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Dead Man Espresso
03 9686 2255
35 Market St
Melbourne, VIC 3205
Black Betty / Christchurch
Black Betty is another amazing post-earthquake restaurant that has erected. Serving great food and great coffee in a trendy environment. Located close to, what is left of the CBD. Gutted I forgot to take pictures of the place. It was packed.
Creamy garlic mushrooms, baby spinach, on toasted ciabatta topped with ricotta. Flavorsome and juicy, loved the garlic/ricotta/spinach/mushroom combo. A delicious light meal leaving me feeling a little bit healthy.
Black Betty’s Big Breakfast with two eggs, crispy bacon, sausages, mushrooms, slow roast tomato, homemade hash browns with a side of toast. They didn’t have hash browns today so they gave Kent some baked beans instead. He also got an iced chocolate, surprised this boy didn’t explode. Great food. Great environment. Greatness all round.
165 Madras Street
Burgers & Beers / Christchurch
Burgers & Beers is a nifty little diner which does great burgers and great beer, inclusive.
A very cosy/casual ambiance with 60’s style diner furniture.
They also have a outside area at the back, with a similar vibe. Too bad it was freezing cold!
Food is served in a brown paper bag and serviette, no plates or cutlery.
Seductive dark branding, crisp black and white illustrations with a violent red accent. Very cool.
Chips and gravy is amazing. Back in the day we would come to Burgers & Beers after a late night out, just so these chips could absorb up all the alcohol. Highly recommended hangover prevention.
Ok my bad, I forgot to take a photo before I started eating. I was hungry! This is the stag burger (venison) with beetroot, mayo and relish - delicious! Perhaps the best burger joint in Christchurch. (Dare I say it, but I can’t think of any others.)
Burgers & Beers, perfect place for something low-key, fingers crossed they aren’t too busy!
Burgers & Beers
THE PEDAL PUSHER / CHRISTCHURCH
The Pedal Pusher is another awesome cafe located in the up and coming area; “SoMo” on Lincoln Road.
This cute cafe/bar/restaurant comes with very cute identity, including a vintage bike with a basket of goodies.
A cute logo with a mouse.
And the relevant-post-earthquake slogan “Let the good times roll.”
This place has a warm rustic ambiance. Pretty much everywhere in Christchurch is rustic or ruble, I feel The Pedal Pusher has captured a bit of the Neo-Christchurch persona.
It also has a friendly kiwi atmosphere, and bubbly staff - with unique decor, bicycle chains, all tying in with the bicycle theme.
A kiwi classic - Fish and Chips, served in a more sophisticated manner. Tasty fresh fish and crispy chips.
Chicken salad, delicious, fresh, and healthy.
Pork Belly with caramelized parsnip and apple sauce. Absolutely beauitful, the pork was tender and moist complimented with the fixating crunch of the crisp crackling.
The Pedal Pusher has set the bench mark for all other cafes/bars wishing to join in this upcoming creative scene. It’s beautiful, has great character, great food and a great vibe. Definitely giving Christchurch hope for the future.
The Pedal Pusher
284 – 286 Lincoln Rd
Phone: 03 335 0095
Speakeasy / South Yarra
Speakeasy Kitchen Bar is one of my favourite spots on Chapel Street, it’s about 10 months old, serves great coffee, great food and it has a vibrant ambience. I’m in love with the shop fit out, natural light and the modern earthy feel. The lustrous new fittings and décor is accompanied by young, friendly and trendy staff, which eliminates the pretentious cockiness that this place could have easily acquired. My friend Josh seems to think that the staff need to smile more, but I actually the melancholic persona and cool edge they have. P.S Josh is a bitch!
It has three/four areas with their own unique vibe. The main entrance hall and front outdoor courtyard has a fresh-hip-cafe/cocktail-bar-vibe, where you can sit with a book and coffee for hours. When you head deeper inside, you end up in a sophisticated little restaurant area, and outside through the glass doors is an open clean-grunge restaurant/bar with graffiti art, perfect for after work drinks. Also upstairs, which I haven’t been to yet. The owners/whoever-was-in-charge somehow tied all of these different environments in very well.
Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon, English muffin, spinach and hollandaise sauce. The hollandaise was perfect, and the salmon and spinach were very flavoursome. The egg was slightly over-cooked, so it lacked that oozing yolky goodness. Plated up nicely and the hero was definitely the hollandaise sauce.
Fiery breakfast, scrambled eggs cooked with harissa and coriander with merguez sausage on toast. I don’t normally eat scrambled eggs, but I had no regrets with this dish. The herbs and spices in the scrambled eggs were seasoned well, the merguez sausage was delicious, moist and tender. The toast was a little bit burnt, but I was in a good mood so didn’t really notice.
Prawn fattoush salad. Fresh and vibrant lunch with 3 large pan-fried, flavoursome prawns, with fresh crispy salad ingredients. (I forgot what was in it.) It was delicious.
Speakeasy Kitchen Bar
03 9824 0770
359 Chapel St