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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Rockpool Bar & Grill, Melbourne

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Category: CBD, Dinner, Lunch, Modern Australian, Steakhouse

The first time I dined at Rockpool Bar and Grill was the year I started at my first full-time job. Cashed up, carefree and childlike, I strode into the restaurant with my two high school friends, past the open-plan kitchen and through to the equally grand dining room resplendent in plums and browns. I remember being seated at the table in one of those comfortable leather chairs and being greeted by the image of a proudly posing cow on the menu in front of me – all the while feeling as if I was crashing a party made for wealthy businessmen.

On this night, the proudly posing cow had the last laugh. My friends unwittingly chose ‘My steak tartare with chips’ and were stunned to find that it was a dish best served cold. As they alternated between gagging and giggling at the prospect of eating this uncooked delicacy, I couldn’t help but savour every bite of my delectable duck ragu. It was sublime.

Rockpool Bar & Grill
Crown complex, Southbank VIC
(the last restaurant before Queensbridge St, right next to Crown Towers)
http://www.rockpool.com.au/melbourne/rockpool-bar-and-grill.html

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It’s time for Seven:am

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Category: Bayside, Lunch, breakfast

The 'swimming pool' bowl of latte, ready for your attention at Seven:am.

The 'swimming pool' bowl of latte at Seven:am, guaranteed to dezombify

7.00 AM ON A SATURDAY MORNING

Tubbymistress is sitting cross-legged on her bed, bleary-eyed, the morning light and a disobedient body clock ending all hope of a rare sleep-in. She sleepily pushes her Justin Bieber-esque fringe out of her eyes and stares at the bedroom door, fully aware that Tubbymaster and an early morning jog are lying in wait on the other side.

The door opens, and Tubbymaster steps into the room, looking as tired as Tubbymistress feels.

TUBBYMASTER: Coffee?

Seven:am
155 Bay St, Port Melbourne VIC
http://www.sevenam.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

The lustrous Pearl Café

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Category: Inner East, Lunch, breakfast

ONCE IN A BLUE MOON

Tubbymistress is standing next to her car, opposite the food temple known as Pearl Restaurant. For once, she is early for a breakfast rendezvous with friend Cyril, although something is rotten in the state of Denmark.  She takes off her sunglasses and strides across the road for a closer look at the restaurant, which is cloaked in darkness on a sunny Saturday morning.

She picks up her phone and dials Cyril’s number.

TUBBYMISTRESS: Pearl is closed! Where are you?
CYRIL: About five minutes away. Are you sure it’s closed? Are you at the café?
TUBBYMISTRESS: The café? What, we’re not having breakfast in the restaurant?
CYRIL: No. The café is a couple of blocks down the road, toward Swan St.

Tubbymistress looks down at her sky-blue Leona Edmiston heels, and sighs.

Pearl Café
Church St, Richmond VIC
http://www.pearlrestaurant.com.au/cafe-pearl-2

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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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Il Bacaro: When in Rome …

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Category: CBD, Dinner, Italian, Lunch

Il Bacaro, gleaming under the street lights on Lt Collins St

Il Bacaro, gleaming under the street lights on Lt Collins St

Sometimes the best decisions are made on the fly. Like, choosing where to dine on a Saturday night. Or securing a rare on-street car park in Melbourne’s Lt Collins St and deciding that the Italian place across the road is just the place to chow down.

When I stepped into Il Bacaro, I saw a cosy restaurant filled with diners – and seemingly little chance of securing a table. Listed in the Australian Good Food Guide as a premium cut on Victoria’s restaurant menu, this was hardly a surprise. What was a surprise was that we couldn’t have planned the night better if we tried – settling for a place at the bar offered one of the best first-time dining experiences I’ve had in some time.

Il Bacaro Cucina & Bar
168–170 Lt Collins St, Melbourne, VIC
www.ilbacaro.com.au

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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/

The Victorian

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Category: Bayside, Dinner, Lunch, Modern Australian, Small plates, breakfast

The Big Vic, in all its glory

The Big Vic, in all its glory

EARLY ON A SATURDAY MORNING
It’s a calm, crisp Melbourne morning. Tubbymistress is ‘jogging’ along the beach, her ragged breathing punctuating the sound of children laughing and women talking on their iPhones. The bay is a serene shade of blue, its waves too sleepy to cause more than a ripple. Suddenly, a beacon of light looms up ahead.

The Victorian
123 Beaconsfield Parade (corner Kerford Rd)
Albert Park VIC

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