Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Goats On The Hill - Organic beer, 4-Wheel-Drives, and the most delicious zeppole.

Between morning tea and breakfast, to our 3-course dinner taken care of by Chef Salvatore and his team... Even more food, of course! Megan, Taylan, and Chef Matt truly know how to show their guests a good time!

The way to one's heart is with a sandwich in one hand and bottle of organic ale in the other, you say?

In between touring the farm's expanse, the exchange of information, and the wild 4-wheel-drive riding through the hills, were peaceful moments like this. We nestled ourselves at the crown of one of the hilltops. Overlooking the rolling landscape, one really needs to take a breath of appreciation. 
In the photo above, our happy camp.

In the photo below, our view.


Monday, 29 October 2012

Malaysian Street Festival @ Queen Vic Market

A couple of Sundays ago, a group of us hit the city with empty stomachs. The intent was clear - the Malaysian Street (FOOD!!!) Festival was on at Queen Victoria Market, and we were gonna take full advantage of everything on offer!

Friday, 26 October 2012

Goats On The Hill - FROM PADDOCK to plate!

My ducklings, I'm going to tell you about one of the most intensely amazing days I've ever had in Melbourne.
Last Sunday, I had the marvellous opportunity to spend the whole day at a sustainable goat farm. Woof, what a sentence! I'd been invited by Chef Matt Baker of Whe-Eat to join them for their first ever paddock-to-plate event at Seven Hills Tallarook.

I'm talking waking up at 6:30am, in the car with Shiv (of course!) at 8:15am and on our merry 1.5 hour way to Tallarook up north of Melbourne.

Seven Hills Tallarook is a wonderful patch of greenery (and by patch, I mean over 600 acres!) that boasts advantageous views of Seymour, Puckapunyal, Broadford and the Tallarook State Forest. We were welcomed by Seven Hills' own Megan, Taylan (see photo below) and the Atar boys, along with Chef Matt.
Goats On The Hill, Part 2

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Confusingly AMAZING snow mountains @ Dessert Story

Odd title, isn't it? "Confusingly amazing" - okay, fair enough. "Snow mountains" - you mean, to eat?

Yes. Yes to all of that! Dessert Story is a franchise started by three men all with a pretty adorable passion for Asian (more specifically Taiwanese and Hong Kong) home-style desserts. Apparently, a passion so grand that they have over 100 items on their menu. 

Initially, I was a little bit judgemental about this chain, to be honest. A rouged up dessert franchise that I'd see all around the city offering what I thought was just shaved ice? Cheers, I'll pass. But thank all the goodness in the Universe that Shiv took me here after our dinner at Shimbashi, because I have now been very appropriately set straight and put in my place. 

Monday, 8 October 2012

Incredible hand-made soba @ Shimbashi Soba & Sake Bar

Oh Shimbashi! Your quiet decor, your dim and cozy atmosphere. Your sweet, hand-written white board signs. That are missing the letter 's' in 'wholesome'. Your authentically Japanese staff, and authentically large Japanese sake collection. Your in-house flour mill. Your communal high table.

I could write an ode to you, Shimbashi, and I haven't even started talking about the food yet! Sigh. Let me count the beautiful ways!

Thursday, 4 October 2012

Dîner en blanc; a dream of mine.

A sea of white. White china, table cloths, folding chairs. White dresses, suit jackets, linen pants.

A dinner invitation. No address. Would you go?

Bring your own everything. Food. Tables. Seating. Everything. Would you still go?

Wait until the very last moment, dressed in your best, cutlery in hand, and ready to go. Receive word of the secret location where you are to gather, and dine, and then dissipate like nothing ever happened.
It's an ethereally mysterious event, in my opinion. One that I would be honoured to eventually attend. Flash mob? Please. This spur-of-the-moment dîner raises the bar to beyond magical. 

It's a predominantly exclusive and very in-demand event. Priority goes to friends of the organisation, then a second round of invitations is sent to people recommended by the first batch. The third and final batch of invitations are sent to those that have requested to be put on the waiting list. It's about connections, and what a charming French air it bears. 
The thousand or so diners come and go like a wave on the shore. There and then gone to no knowledge of a passer-by.

To reach this would be a glimpse of my version of heaven on earth. My true loves captured in a single glorious evening. The entire event in my favourite colour? Or shade? Semantics. White china, clothes, decor. Drool.

The essence of a picnic amped up a hundred fold in style and poise? Check. A drawn out tease-slash-secret location leading to quite possibly the greatest pay-off (in my mind) ever? Ready as ever!
That exclusivity that, no matter what, we all find secretly (or not so secretly) thrilling. The oozing of French origin and sophistication, the elegance of well-dressed invitees.

The idea that such specific rules exist, like a strictly enforced dress code

"ELEGANT... Indeed very elegant!"
"No t-shirts, no sport shoes, no caps, no shorts."

and criteria to be eligible for future invites

"You must be accompanied (2 people per table)"
"Everyone must remain until the end of the evening"
"The presence of all guests is required and mandatory, weather conditions notwithstanding"

turns the prim and proper in my heart so on.

Started over two decades, originally as just a picnic between friends and friends of friends, the dîner has grown to such a grand international scale. Inspirational!
One day.

Friends, get ready to be badgered by me trying to get you all in white and gathered for a public picnic! ;)

(All photographs on this post do not belong to me. Click-through for original source.)

Tuesday, 2 October 2012


Configuring all my shooting settings.

Pondering the world's mysteries. Deciding what to order.
I am always so grateful to my dining companions for letting me take over their dishes for a minute or two before we eat!
And finally, time to dig in
We went to a nearby park afterwards to do some shooting.
If you've ever hung out with me, you'll quickly realise how jumpy I am. Demitasse + wild animals? Trouble.
Very, very quick to run away!
A big thank you to Shiv, an amazing buddy who took all the behind-the-scenes photos and more. Kinda novelty to be in front of the lens as well for once!

All above photos in their entirety c/o Shiv Nandwani.