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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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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The pretty La Petanque

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Category: Dinner, French, Lunch, Winery restaurant

A SUNNY DECEMBER MORNING IN NADI, FIJI

Tubbymistress is sitting in the backseat of an old taxi, en route from Fiji’s international airport to the palm-tree lined paradise known as Denarau Island. The contrast between the streets of Nadi and the tourist hotspot is immense, as if a veil of instant paradise has been made to order, leaving the rest of Fiji shrouded in third-world darkness.

FRIENDLY TAXI DRIVER (glancing at Tubbymistress in the rear-view mirror): There is regular time, and there is ‘Fiji time’. Only the planes run to schedule, you know.

The taxi headed over the narrow bridge and into Paradise.

The dining room at the very pretty La Petanque

The dining room at the pretty La Petanque

La Petanque is more south of France than Fiji. Instead of palm trees, you’ll find a beautiful garden that winds down to an equally charming restaurant. Instead of wonderful but sometime forgetful ladies delivering pina coladas to bikini-clad Tubbymistresses reclining on poolside deck chairs, you’ll find polite and friendly staff who make a habit of greeting you at the door as you arrive. The one thing that La Petanque and Fiji have in common is that they both seem to run to ‘Fiji time’ – perhaps not a bad thing if you’re here for a leisurely Sunday lunch.

La Petanque
1208 Mornington-Flinders Rd, Main Ridge VIC
www.lapetanque.com.au

Eh? Aix.

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Category: CBD, French, Monday to Saturday, breakfast

The Peking duck crepe, sliced through the gut and ready to go (foreground); meatball baguette (background); mandarin and blood orange blend

(from bottom) Peking duck crepe, sliced through the gut and ready to go; meatball baguette; mandarin and blood orange blend

 A RANDOM SATURDAY MORNING

Tubbymistress gazes longingly at a pair of blue and mustard candy-striped heels in the window at Kinki Gerlinki, a fashion oasis amongst the plethora of eateries in Melbourne’s Centre Place.

TUBBYMISTRESS: I want those shoes.

There’s only one thing that can save the credit card now.

Aix Café Creperie Salon
24 Centre Place, Melbourne VIC

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Noisette: Not French for ‘noisy girl’

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Category: French, Lunch, breakfast

Noisette's rendition of an Easter classic: the hot cross bun

Noisette's rendition of an Easter classic: the hot cross bun

Let’s face it: one of the best things about Easter is eating. One of the best things about Easter-time eating is a bun that’s fruit-spiced and branded with a white cross.

Noisette – boulangerie | patisserie | chocolaterie
84 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC

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Cafe Vue cocktail night

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Category: CBD, Dinner, French, Lunch, breakfast

If only I’d discovered this earlier. Last chance: 7 pm on 26 March!
$75 per person.

Cafe Vue Cocktail night
‘Friday night at the movies’
430 Lt Collins St, Melbourne VIC
http://www.vuedemonde.com.au/

Moulin Noir

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Category: Bayside, Dinner, French, Lunch, Tapas, breakfast

Chocolate tart: Just one of the sweet delights on offer at Moulin Noir

Chocolate tart: one of the sweet delights on offer at Moulin Noir

Moulin Noir, a little French café/restaurant tucked off Bay St, is a great casual dining experience. It’s perfect for lunch, with sandwiches large enough to silence even the most talkative of ladies. As I found out recently, dinner was pretty good too.

Moulin Noir
Rouse St, Port Melbourne

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Coda

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Category: CBD, Dinner, French, Lunch, Tapas, Vietnamese

Don't want to book? The bar is your friend.

Don't want to book? The bar is your friend.

Craving Vietnamese food? Or maybe something a little more ooh la la? Whether it’s Vietnamese or French cuisine you’re after, you’ll find something to please your tastebuds at Coda—another Hot New Thing Down a Laneway Serving Dishes Designed to be Shared.

Coda
141 Flinders La, Melbourne
www.codarestaurant.com.au

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Bistro Guillaume

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Category: CBD, Dinner, French, Lunch

Fish and chips: whole, fried whiting atop a latticed mat of obese chips

The fish and chips: whole, fried whiting atop a latticed mat of obese chips

Bistro Guillaume
Shop 7, Crown Entertainment Complex (i.e. the place next to Rockpool)
8 Whiteman St, Southbank
www.bistroguillaume.com.au

When Mr Tubbymaster chose Bistro Guillaume for our first date, little did he know that this elegant French brasserie was my favourite restaurant at the time. Whether it was fabulous taste or sheer luck, he remains my partner-in-eating to this day.

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