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Kate’s Week in Food: A ‘mighty’ new local + the Yarra Valley’s open for business

Ross and Kate
Article image for Kate’s Week in Food: A ‘mighty’ new local + the Yarra Valley’s open for business

OUR KITCHENETTE – In Hawthorn, Our Kitchenette has stuck with their pivot, turning their small 14-seater cafe into a retail, grocery and ready-made meals business online and in-store. They’re promising to cater for your dinner party needs, midweek meals & sweet treats. Check the website for full menu: has the full menu available.

BAR ROMANEE – Locals in the west have been eagerly awaiting the opening of Bar Romanee in Yarraville, and the big news is – they quietly opened this week! Owner Jim Gridas’ wine bar Barkley Johnson is an institution, and chef Anna Quayle has proven her skills at Fitzroy’s Town Hall Hotel. We haven’t had too much detail just yet, but expect a classy wine room, bar bistro, with European leanings.

THE MIGHTY – Over in Moonee Ponds there’s a new local – “The Mighty” – featuring some of the best craft brands in the country and a hospitality A team that includes hospitality veteran Dennis Ferreira and former Dinner by Heston Blumenthal chef Adrian Corigliano. The Mighty is all about creating a community and hub for Founder First’s craft beer and spirit brands, so you can taste them all under one roof, and plus get some great nosh.

STARWARD DISTILLERY – After months out of action, Starward Distillery finally re-opened this week, and celebrated with the release of their brand new special project TODAY. It’s “Dolce”, a single malt Australian whisky matures in Australian wine barrels and finished in dessert wine barrels, they describe it as a ‘melding of juicy wine and oak characters with a flourish of sweet “Sicilian” notes; marshmallow and cola. To be among the first to taste it, head down to the distillery TODAY (Saturday 7 November).

SCARF – Well, it hasn’t been an easy year for hospitality social enterprise, Scarf. Usually they’d spend their months training and mentoring young people from refugee backgrounds for hospitality careers – that’s very tough when the entire restaurant industry has been shut down. Regardless, they made it through and they’re actually celebrating a decade of helping transform the lives of disadvantaged youths. To celebrate, they’ve embarked on a special collaboration with Melbourne-based artist Olana Janfa, creating bold and joy-filled limited-edition pieces curated just for Scarf. Showcasing Janfa’s lively ode to Scarf’s spirit of hospitality and diverse cohort of trainees, you can get your hands on colourful, Australian-made, tote bags, face masks and jigsaw puzzles – just in time for
Christmas gift-giving – plus, the original artwork will be auctioned. See it all at

AND … there is plenty happening out in the Yarra Valley, which is terrific given from tomorrow we can head out and visit!

TARRAWARRA ESTATE – Over at Tarrawarra Estate, there are great opportunities for dining indoors and out. The new restaurant tasting menu champions Estate-grown produce and Chef Mark Ebbels’ commitment to sustainability. Highlights include Buxton trout with chardonnay and mustard; or kangaroo with radicchio and garlic. Or, you can go al fresco & enjoy a new picnic on the picturesque lawn. Hampers are available $65 per person and include sweet and savoury items like Chicken with beetroot, feta and pickled onion and a 69 per cent single origin chocolate slice. More info:

IL VIGNETO @ ROCHFORD – Like many, 2020 has been a year of refreshing and reimagining for Rochford Wines, and they’ve come out of it with a brand-new restaurant. il Vigneto is the Yarra Valley’s new home for gourmet Italian dining with a focus on fresh Neapolitan style pizza and pasta. There’s a delectable menu executed by Chef Raki Andriana, formally of the iconic Isabella’s restaurant. Open Friday to there’s a spacious deck with great views of the vineyard lake.

INNOCENT BYSTANDER – At Healesville’s Innocent Bystander HQ you can head back for wood-fired pizzas, classic paella, and a spread of local produce. But, you can also visit their “Garden of Innocence” from Monday. This brand-new wine garden is tucked in between the existing cellar door and the Grace Burn Creek, a relaxing spot perfect for summer days. Yes you can drink the lovely OB wine, but also try their Rosé gin and tonic, a Pinot Noir Negroni, or Tempranillo Old Fashioned. More:

Ross and Kate