Izakaya Den

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Category: CBD, Dinner, Japanese, Lunch, Small plates

The pork belly (background) and eggplant (foreground): two dishes on offer at Izakaya Den

The pork belly (background) and eggplant (foreground): two dishes on offer at Izakaya Den

SOMETIME IN THE LATE 1980s

Little Tubbymistress is sitting on the carpet in her primary school classroom, cross-legged, petite and shy. Despite her small stature – and a brain that has never loved processing numbers – she has no hesitation belting out the 10 times table with three other children in her class, harmonising in the monotone, singsong way that primary school children do.

As she sang, Little Tubbymistress could not know that basis mathematics (and a lack of research) would be her undoing some twenty years later. In May 2010, a section of Russell St became a catwalk for the hungry and navigationally challenged, as three Melburnians searched in vain for one elusive number.

LITTLE TUBBYMISTRESS (sings earnestly): Fifteen 10s are … hun-dred and fiff-ty!

Izakaya Den
Basement, 150 Russell St, Melbourne VIC
www.izakayaden.com.au

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Bistro Vue

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Category: CBD, Dinner, French, Lunch, Monday to Saturday

Tulips blushing in the sun at Monet's Garden in Giverny, France

Tulips blushing in the sun at Monet's Garden in Giverny, France

A SUN-DRENCHED SPRING MORNING IN FRANCE

Tubbymistress is standing in Monet’s Garden in Giverny, France, shoulder-to-shoulder with an American couple. It’s a warm morning but, despite the influx of tourists to this small, floral oasis, it’s surprisingly serene and calm.

Inspired by the works of impressionist painter Claude Monet, the gardens are immaculately conceived and maintained. Weeping willows lean casually over the pond; beds of tulips (vivid reds, yellows, pinks and mauves) stretch toward the sky as if competing for the attention of the sun; dainty roses climb and twirl around iron arches that frame the central walkway. It’s living artwork, enchanting fodder for the many camera lenses working hard for their money.

A world away, a restaurant called Bistro Vue springs to life, imbued with the kind of charm and appeal found by the tulip-bed in Giverny. This carefully constructed slither of old-world Paris immediately piques the curiosity and appetite of Tubbymistress, a twenty-something with an unfortunate penchant for killing plants.

Bistro Vue
Normanby Chambers, 430 Lt Collins St, Melbourne VIC
(entrance on New Chancery Lane)
www.bistrovue.com.au

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