Ten Minutes by RCZ

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Category: Dinner, Lunch, Modern Australian, Mornington Peninsula, Winery restaurant

The 2010 Peugeot RCZ

The 2010 Peugeot RCZ

There once was a car named the Peugeot RCZ
It came out of nowhere, leaving the Batmobile for dead
The Batmobile fought to catch up but it was all in vain
The RCZ was already in Main Ridge, bathing in champagne.

Ten Minutes by Tractor
1333 Mornington-Flinders Road
Main Ridge VIC
http://www.tenminutesbytractor.com.au

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Paringa Estate

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Category: Dinner, French, Mornington Peninsula, Winery restaurant

A little bit country: The inquisitive geese coming to play at Paringa Estate

A little bit country: The inquisitive geese coming to play at Paringa Estate

A SUNDAY AFTERNOON, TWO YEARS AGO

It’s a beautiful day for a drive in the Batmobile. The Tubby twosome are heading down the Moorooduc Highway, otherwise known as Rue de Roundabout, bound for Red Hill on the Mornington Peninsula. They are on time for their 12.30 date with winery restaurant Paringa Estate.

The exit sign for Red Hill appears on the road ahead. Tubbymaster glances across at Tubbymistress, who is playing with her iPhone in the passenger seat.

TUBBYMASTER: Is it this turnoff?
TUBBYMISTRESS (vaguely): No, I think it’s the next one. I’m sure we’ve gone past that bridge before.
TUBBYMASTER: It says ‘Red Hill’. Should I turn off or not?
TUBBYMISTRESS: No, take the next exit.

The Batmobile sails past the Red Hill exit. They are now late for their 12.30 date with Paringa Estate.

Paringa Estate
44 Paringa Road, Red Hill South VIC
www.paringaestate.com.au

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Tom Phat

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Category: Asian, Dinner, Lunch, breakfast

Tom Phat's tempeh curry

Tom Phat's tempeh curry

ONE EVENING, RIGHT BEFORE DAYLIGHT SAVINGS STRUCK A MUCH-NEEDED MATCHSTICK OVER MELBOURNE

Tubbymistress is walking down Sydney Road, in search of friends and food. On her hit list is Tom Phat – not an obese nor ‘fully sick’ man named Tom but a funky Thai-style restaurant firmly on the radar of her friend, Miette.

It’s cold, and she clutches her straw-coloured handbag even tighter as she scours the buildings for street numbers. As soon she sees Tom Phat, she scurries inside, relieved to be off the street and minutes closer to being fed.

Tom Phat
184 Sydney Rd
Brunswick VIC
www.tomphat.com.au

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Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove

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Category: Dinner, Lunch, Modern Australian, Winery restaurant

The view from the car park

The view from the car park

A SUNDAY MORNING, ANY TIME OF YEAR

Tubbymaster is sitting at his desk, a white-wash trestle table upon which his iMac is perched. As he taps out an email, he hears the nearby television stutter then hop to yet another channel. He glances over his shoulder at Tubbymistress, who is reclining on the couch, lazily flicking between channels in an attempt to find something other than football panel shows.

TUBBYMASTER: What do you feel like doing today?
TUBBYMISTRESS: I don’t know. What do you feel like doing?

Montalto Vineyard and Olive Grove
33 Shoreham Road, Red Hill South, VIC
www.montalto.com.au

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The Graham

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Category: Bayside, Dinner, Gastropub, Lunch, Modern Australian

The handsome Graham, nestled amongst Victorian terraces and parkland in Port Melbourne

The Graham, a renovated pub on the quiet end of one of Port Melbourne’s busiest streets

EARLY ON A SUNNY SATURDAY MORNING

The Tubby Two are jogging along the beachside track, Tubbymistress a nose ahead. Clad in black leggings and a long-sleeved jogging shirt – and completely into the zone thanks to Kelly Rowland’s ‘Work’ – she is moving with unexpected gazelle-like grace.

A short shirtless man looms up on the track, heading toward her. Shirtless Man isn’t dripping with sweat but overt jogging superiority, decked out with an iPod armband, silver earphones and a suspicious winter tan. He is also smack-bang in the middle of the track and not showing any sign of moving across.

As he approaches, Tubbymistress steps off the track to avoid a collision. He swooshes past like an express train hurtling through a station. She glances over her shoulder at Tubbymaster, and frowns. ‘Do you think he even saw me?’

The Graham
cnr Graham St and Esplanade West, Port Melbourne VIC
www.thegraham.com.au

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The Palace by Luke Mangan

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Category: Dinner, Gastropub, Lunch, Modern Australian

The Palace by Luke Mangan, perched on the corner of Pickles St and City Road, South Melbourne

The Palace by Luke Mangan, perched on the corner of Pickles St and City Road, South Melbourne

SOMETIME ON A SATURDAY AFTERNOON

The Batmobile is sitting at a busy intersection, waiting for the green light to continue its assault on Melbourne’s streets. In the front passenger seat, Tubbymistress is gazing outside as the sun dances on the window and the light turns to green.

A building catches her eye on the precipice of Port Melbourne. It looks like an old pub, one that has been dipped in a giant bucket of gunmetal grey paint.

TUBBYMASTER: What is that place?

TUBBYMISTRESS (shrugs): I don’t know. Some dodgy place, probably.

The Palace by Luke Mangan
505 City Road (cnr Pickles St), South Melbourne VIC
palacehotelmelbourne.com.au

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Portello Rosso

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Category: CBD, Dinner, Lunch, Monday to Saturday, Small plates, Spanish, Tapas

First floor of Portello Rosso: comfy and inviting

Bird's eye view of a tapas and jamon restaurant called Portello Rosso

Once upon a time, in a winter wonderland called Melbourne, there was a lady called Tubbymistress and a tapas-slash-jamon restaurant called Portello Rosso. Their long-awaited rendezvous took place on an icy Saturday night in June – not so much a meeting of minds as a meeting of empty stomach with Spanish-inspired food …

Portello Rosso
15 Warburton Lane (off Little Bourke St), Melbourne VIC
www.portellorosso.com.au

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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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Claypots Seafood – St Kilda

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Category: Bayside, Dinner, Lunch, seafood

A tangle of shellfish: The impressive shellfish stirfry, featuring crabs, prawns, mussels and yabbies

A tangle of shellfish: The impressive shellfish stirfry, featuring crabs, prawns, mussels and yabbies

I need to preface this blog post by saying, categorically, I am not a St Kilda girl. There’s something about this bayside hub that has always deterred me – except for the occasional summertime trip to Clamms or a gig at the Palais. It may have something to do with feeling like I could get mugged at any time, or that I’ll end up paying for parking. Or both. At the same time.

I do love how a plate of shellfish, so visually impressive it elicited a ‘Phwoar!’ from a neighbouring diner, could possible change all this …

Claypots Seafood (St Kilda)

213 Barkly St, St Kilda VIC

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