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Scorcher reviews: The Arbory + High Cheese at The Westin

Roast Collection at The Arbory
1 Flinders Walk, Melbourne 

High Cheese at The Westin
205 Collins St

I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but it’s ridiculously cold in Melbourne at the moment.

Who am I kidding? Of course you’ve noticed. Autumn has got up and left and winter has rudely swept right in to take its place.

I keep reading articles in the newspapers about it being one of the hottest autumns since records began or some rubbish. Either my internal temperature gauge needs recalibrating or those reports are a giant heap of bulltish.

Anyway. Just because it’s Arctic outside does not mean you have to stay at home and mope around the house until September.

Grab your coat and woolly hat because there are some new winter food experiences around town that will help to keep you nice and toasty throughout the colder months.

I don’t know about you but when I think winter, I think roast dinner and red wine. From now until spring arrives, The Arbory will be serving up a rotating roster of meat and wine pairings as part of its Roast Collection, kicking off with pork and pinot.

For $25, you can snag yourself a lovely plate of roast pork and a glass of Lucinda Estate pinot and watch the city lights bounce off the frigid Yarra.

Chef Nick Bennett’s titillating list of pork dishes for June include wood-roasted porchetta with brussels sprout puree, baby carrots and apple, pork loin with cauliflower and cavolo nero and pork jowl and ham hock pie with piccalilli and potato.

At the end of June pork will trot on, to be replaced by a month of beef and Barossa. The Arbory will round off its Roast Collection with lamb and Languedoc in August. It’s an explosion in an alliteration factory.

Yes, I am aware that I am recommending an open-air venue as a place to go to in the chilly Melbourne winter but don’t let that put you off; every square inch of The Arbory is covered by heaters and with a belly full of pig and pinot you won’t even feel the cold.

But if you do prefer your winter food eaten indoors, Maker and Monger and The Westin have teamed up again for a second season of its immensely popular High Cheese experience. Think traditional high tea but instead of cucumber sandwiches and macarons you get three tiers of cheesey treats to spark joy in your innards.

Sweet cheesus this is gouda; for $70, diners get a range of cheese-focused bites – a mix of savoury and sweet – and bottomless tea and coffee.

How does this sound? Fire up the belly with a gloriously gooey, baked Normandy camembert, before moving on to a black truffle, porcini and walnut layered brie.

Other cheesy items include Papillon Roquefort and cognac cream terrine with Four Pillars Gin marmalade, Marcel Petite comte custard tarts, and a poached French pear with stracciatella, fresh honeycomb and smoked roasted macadamia crumble.

So even thought it might be grey and drizzly outdoors, resist the urge to hibernate and meet some mates in the city for a winter warming meal.

Melbourne gets a little bitey when she’s cold but lean in and embrace her and she can also be rather charming.

Roast Collection at The Arbory, 1 Flinders Walk, Melbourne (next to Flinders Street Station), $25; High Cheese at The Westin, 205 Collins St, $70.

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