- 3AW Food
- Ela gets jiggy at Jinda Thai
- Ela's champion lunch at the Clayton Bowls Club
- Scandinavian style meets farmhouse chic
- Ela visits Dee's Kitchen on the pier
- Ela tastes 'hellenic dirty food'
- Ela's salvation at Saint Crispin
- Ela gets spoiled by Meatmother
- Roast collection 2013
- Ela Carte Food Images
- Ela heads to old Napoli
- Ela gets a taste of 'the real' Mexico
- Ela heads to Fu Manchu in Preston
- Ela in Kew for Lil' Boy Blue
- Ela starts anew at Shakahari Too
- Ela Carte 'Milks the Cow'
- Ela Carte's Spring Graze
- Ela Carte eats and loves
- Ela Carte's British fare
- Ela gets engrossed with the Roast
- Ela says Konnichiwa to Akachochin
- Ela tips her sombrero to Senoritas
- Ela's got soul...and marmalade
- Ela Carte in burger heaven
- Firechief Ela reports for duty
- Ela's pilgrimage to the temple
- Ela's function at the junction
- Ela's eastern excursion
- Ela Goes swimming at Middle Fish
- Ela's 'lazy lunch' at Albert Street
- Ela finds gold on the Silk Road
- Ela feasts at The Long Table
- Moors Head has Ela craving more
- Ela Carte: Escar-got to Bistro Gitan
- Ela blows into Bruin
- Ela Carte reviews Noir
- Ela inspects Bramble and Vine
- Ela unveils the Wyndham Cache
- Ela snacks at the Yak
- Ela goes over the Barwon edge
- Ela digs the Paella at Robert Burns
- Ela picks Claypots Evening Star
- Ela takes the Thai road
- Ela chooses Franco Choos
- Ela indulges in Daylesford
- Ela goes Spring Grazing
- Ela mingles at Montsalvat
- The Kids keep Ela satisfied
- Ela sizzles at 'Los Latinos'
- Ela joins the Union
- Ela's Green Day Out
- Ela Completes Royal Trifecta
- Ela and 'Estelle' get aquainted
- Ela discovers 'Crimean' side
- Ela rugs up at Scarf
- Chin chin, Ela!
- Ela gets Bottle Shocked
- Ela gets Roasted
- Ela graces Golden Fields
- Ela gets (L)OST
- Ela goes Greek at Mezedakia
- Ela Inspects Rochford Wines
- Ela experiences Pirianda
- Ela picks a Dandelion
- Ela dives in to The Atlantic
- A Good Table Indeed!
- Ela's Tale of Two Breakfasts
- Ela's Morsels - 15th April
- Ela says "Oui" to PM24
- Ela lets loose at Papa Goose
- Ela meets Simon and his ducks
- Ela Carte discovers Agraba
- Ela Carte's "Morsels"
- Ela Carte reviews Josie Bones
- Ela races to Hare and Grace
- Afghan Spice Banquet
- Ela Carte unveils coastal gems
- Saint Peters
- Ela goes Naked For Satan
- Food of Laos, Burma and Thailand
- Ichi Ni Izakaya
- Ela Carte reviews Kinglake Pub
- Ela's Neighbourhood Gems
- Hallah (Korean BBQ)
- The Grange Restaurant
- The Little Press and Cellar
- Noodle Kingdom
- Ten Minutes By Tractor
- City Lunches - $15 and Under
- The "Art" of the Picnic
So often it’s the unplanned adventures that are the best. As I drove down to a wedding on the Bass Coast last weekend, I saw a sign for the Claypot Curry House for the umpteenth time, and I can’t tell you what it was that made me take note this time.
Above all, it feels accessible, the sort of place you’d want to wander off the street to check out. And there are two particular features it is absolutely worth checking out – a very affordable work day lunch deal, and a seriously cute rooftop.
Surely Melbourne has enough food festivals? Surely not! Here’s another one, and this one a whole month of activities, events and special deals to help you make the most of Melbourne’s gastronomic treasure trove.
The menu during the week is a’la carte, but you do have the option of a set course type arrangement, choose from the sections titled “smaller”, “bigger” and “sweeter” and you can pair two courses for $35, or grab three for $45. It is phenomenal value.
ELA CARTE: That George Calombaris is nothing if not adaptable. This corner restaurant has changed yet again, the oh-so-fancy Press Club is no longer, and in its place is a far more laidback eatery promising “Hellenic Dirty Food”.
If you head to Urbanspoon and ask to just list the eateries in Moorabbin, one sticks out at the top of the list with a 98% rating. Could be an anomaly, of course, but on closer inspection things look pretty legi.
It might be new, but this place is already heaving, so you’ll need to book in advance and while you can indeed book – but you’ll choose between a 6pm or 8.15pm sitting unless you sit at a bench at the window or bar like we did.
A gathering of food trucks complete with actual chairs and tables and a fully stocked bar. Fairly central on St Kilda Road, parking isn’t exactly a breeze, but once you find one – there are plenty of eating options on offer.
REVIEW: It was pretty quiet for a Saturday afternoon lunch, apparently Friday evenings are pumping at the moment. Winemaker John Harris is on hand for advice on choosing a drop, the menu consists of fairly simple snacks, but plenty of them.
ELA CARTE: Fear not. This isn’t another super cool Mexican eatery. This is a little taste of the real Mexico, on the eye and the palate. It’s fun, it’s vibrant, and it’s great, simple, authentic fare.
ELA CARTE: I love it when someone opens a decent eatery away from the main drag. It takes guts, and it’s generally so very appreciated by local punters. Marty Chu has done just that with Fu Manchu, transforming an old community hall into an oh-so-funky Vietnamese cafe.
Oh, this joint became the talk of the town so very quickly. It helps that the chef and owner is the same Jason Jones who co-founded Mamasita. It probably helps that it isn’t another bloody Mexican place.
Lil Boy Blue is probably a bit like the poem – compact, fun, and cute. It has the added charm of seriously cool décor – it’s all about the detail, from the hanging ferns to the picture frame shelves, & elegant crockery.
Set in a renovated house on a busy Dandenong thoroughfare, this truly aims to be authentic home-cooked fare – so the surrounds are apt. Floral tablecloths, images of the motherland, and Polish tunes are a good start...
Salix at Willow Creek is just that little more out of the way out in Merricks North. The winery and the restaurant are separately owned but you’d never know it. The property features a pretty original homestead but the restaurant is all new.
The original Shakahari in Carlton is something of an institution, well known for being a cut above the typical lentil patty veggie café. Like their newer little sister in South Melbourne, Shakahari Too, these guys aim for an elegant, flavoursome menu.
Another one of those “wish I had one in my ‘hood” type of place. The Way to San Jose is an Italian eatery that wouldn’t be out of place in the trendy inner suburbs, but if firmly planted in a south eastern shopping strip.
ELA CARTE: A licensed fromagerie, Milk the Cow does what it says on the tin –sells cheese, and booze. They have plenty of it, something like 70 varieties, and they’d tell you they have the best of the best.
But my favourite is probably the most picturesque, a stunning ramshackle café spilling onto the Ovens River right at the end of town. With jam jar lights, and chunky timber tables, Ginger Baker is in a class of its own.
Piqueos draws on cuisine from some of my favourite places in the world - Argentina and Peru. It’s been opened by a couple of young local blokes who’ve done their time working for others in some of the best restaurants in Melbourne.
ELA CARTE: For starters, these guys are serious about their roti, it’s prepared fresh in the front window, and if you can’t get a seat straight away, it’s not a bad distraction while you wait.
FOOD REVIEW: It’s been a while since I’ve been this excited about a meal. Hell of the North was pure heaven. Tucked away in a side street leading from busy Smith Street, Hell lives in a beautiful bluestone terrace with an unmistakably yellow door.
FOOD REVIEW: These promotions from the Melbourne Food and Wine people are always the perfect chance to head to a venue you’ve been meaning to check out. This week Ela headed to the Middle Park Hotel, The Deanery and The Living Room.
REVIEW: You may read “BBQ”, but don’t be thinking burnt bangers on a sizzling hot grill. This is authentic US style barbecue - all low and slow. Specifically, Big Boy BBQ employs the Kansas City style of cooking.
THREE REVIEWS: "It’s that time of year again, and once again I have been unashamedly squeezing as many roast dinners as I can into one single week so I can then come and tell you guys about it." Ela reviews Matteo's, Post Office Hotel & Huxtable.
Akachochin is another of those Japanese “Izakayas”, supposedly a more casual eatery designed for small bites. At the helm is chef Kengo Hiromatsu, so while the feel is relaxed the food seems too good to described as casual.
REVIEW: The Corner Store- It’s big, with options for dining indoors and out, intimate tables and spaces for groups. It was pretty loud given this was a Tuesday afternoon, but it’s not unbearable, and certainly promising that at least it was busy.
REVIEW: The Nuevo-Mexican wave started of course with Mamasita, but there have since been additions like Touche Hombre; Fonda and Chingon Cantina in Richmond. Senoritas has one clear advantage, both owner and head chef are Mexican born and bred.
REVIEW: If you've enjoyed spending evening grazing at Bar Lourinha, have I got a bar for you! The crew from the popular Little Collins bar have opened up a little further north, & it’s another venue perfect for a night of Spanish share plates & fine wine.
MARMALADE AND SOUL: "For me, this was the kind of place where the everyday lunch menu was so enticing that I was annoyed when they then presented me with a blackboard full of appealing specials." Complete review here.
THREE REVIEWS: "So this week the aim was to go and check out some of the new generation of burgers trying to steal the limelight from established stars like Andrew’s in Albert Park, Danny’s Burgers, and even the likes of Rockpool."
REVIEW: This week Ela headed to Melbourne's East to the newly opened pizzeria in Melbourne's east she says is "A vibrant eatery that is funky, modern, tasty AND family friendly – it really is a winning combination."
REVIEW: This week Ela Carte headed to Neil Perry’s Spice Temple at Crown Casino. Ela ruminated through the Yum Cha offerings that she says are a "more refined version of the Cantonese tradition that many Melburnians enjoy." Read her review here.
REVIEW: "It’s an impressive renovation, some tables with comfy, funky chairs – a few higher ones with stools. Great artwork on the walls, fresh flowers and greenery. And the menu itself seems well suited to the neighbourhood."
REVIEW: This week Ela headed to Hampton where shes dined in the elegant and welcoming OS Kitchen and Wine Bar. Ela says the bar delivers authentic Italian cuisine with style and simplicity. Read here full review here.
REVIEW: Sean Donovan’s decision to open a sister pub in South Melbourne pleased me no end. Once again taking over a hotel that hasn’t necessarily benefited from stifling popularity, Donovan has given the Wayside Inn a new lease of life
I really did put off a visit to San Telmo, purely because I know and love Argentinian food, and have eaten myself silly at many a parrilla in Buenos Aires. I’m also a proud Melburnian, so if this place was no good – I’d rather not know about it!
REVIEW: Every shopping strip should have an Italian eatery with this much charm. Open just a year and a half – Pure Italian has that lived in feel that gives the impression it’s the old lady who’s lived down the road for as long as anyone can remember.
REVIEW: Not your average Thai restaurant and it’s not your typical locale for a bright, airy, funky café – but then that’s the beauty of Middle Fish...Only trading for breakfast and lunch now, it will hopefully get permission for evening service and a liquor licence...
REVIEW: Housed in a grand old bank, this new restaurant is slick and it is stylish, from the outside and within. But the great thing about it is that despite this almost imposing first impression, the service is fabulously friendly, and the food elegantly simple.
REVIEW: Silk Road has only been open a year, and it’s very much a family business. As you might expect, it’s a modest eatery – clean, but certainly not fancy...but at the end of the day it’s the food that will bring you back.
REVIEW: "The Long Table this year earned itself an Age Good Food Guide chef’s hat, and it’s easy to see why. Set on split levels, the feel is spacious and classy – tables are spread out and the décor is almost rustic in its warmth and simplicity."
REVIEW: Sitting down at The Moors Head on a Sunday evening, there was nowhere else I’d rather be. It seems to be built for relaxed evening dining, those nights when you don’t feel like cooking, but you don’t want to spend a fortune either.
REVIEW: We often talk about the pedigree of an eatery and its employees, and it doesn’t get much better than this. Imagine the three offspring of Jacque Reymond getting together to open a French-inspired bistro in South Yarra.
The vibe is very inner city but locals of the western suburbs don’t have to cross the bridge for it – I have no doubt Bruin is going to be embraced with vigour by the good people of Williamstown - and rightly so
REVIEW: The interior at Noir is fittingly dark – black walls, dark chairs, even the air conditioner looks like it’s had a coat of ominous matte paint. The menu, however, is anything but gloomy – and I happily would have tried each and every item listed.
REVIEW: "If there’s a good sign to come from a visit to Mister Bianco, it’s that within 30 minutes of arriving wait staff were turning away punters who arrived unannounced and asked for a table. And this was a Monday night."
If you’re sick of hearing people talk about the same “it” restaurants, and would rather support emerging businesses that are just as capable of turning out first rate cuisine – and doing it with a huge dash of passion and pride - it’s worth giving Bramble and Vine a go
REVIEW: Please – leave your prejudices at the door. Eatery. Werribee. South. I can see you all wanting to make jokes, but believe it or not – there are a number of choices for dining in the area, and they’re all pretty impressive.
PHOTO GALLERY: This is not a traditional restaurant, more a laid back Mediterranean seafood bar of the best kind, where the seafood is displayed and cooked before your very eyes...So things can be a little bewildering upon arrival.
It’s that time again, each year the team from the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival convinces restaurants all over Victoria to put on daily, weekly, or one-off lunches and dinners based around the theme of the “Spring Graze”.
REVIEW: Talk about this new fad of pop ups, this week I popped up in Mission Beach to check on the small town’s recovery post-cyclone Yasi and basically to eat my way through coastal tropical north Queensland.
A novel experience this week, with a visit to St Bernadette’s Catholic Primary in The Basin, to experience the wonder that is “Café Kids”. Staffed by students from prep to grade 6, Café Kids runs each Friday lunchtime and seats 28 guests.
REVIEW: The vego stalwart of Brunswick St is undoubtedly the Vegie Bar, that place where even the meat eaters like to go – but if I were to tell you that a small, Korean, vegan, raw-food café has opened down the road, would it get your pulse racing?
REVIEW: The Estelle reminds me of some of those Basque bars, a little brighter perhaps, but still feeling very much like a drinking establishment where loitering, eating and drinking are encouraged, almost in that order.
Most Monday nights, somewhere in Melbourne, community group Scarf is offering a two course meal at a respected restaurant or café for only $35. The catch? Well the staff aren't quite polished professionals just yet.
There's been a buzz around Melbourne, and with its uber-cool interior; creative, modern Asian menu; and an army of fans spruiking it in social media, Chin Chin is bound to remain as busy as it has been from day one.
The Roast Collection is an initiative of the team between the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival and sees restaurants all across Victoria put on daily, weekly, and one-off lunches and dinners based around that favourite winter meal.
OST Bar and Diner is an addition to Bridge Road that has been very much welcomed by locals, bringing a bit more style and substance to the busy shopping strip, and hopefully encouraging others to do the same.
Mezedakia feels like the sort of place you could spend three or four hours in grazing and drinking without feeling guilty for taking up space – a rarity in this age of express lunches and double sittings