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This Week in Food: Indian street food and a very novel private dining room

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GET THAT INDIA: Chris Lucas’ Windsor eatery Hawker Hall is spicing things up this month with “Little India”, a limited edition Indian street style menu from newly appointed Head Chef Nabila Kadri. Kadri spent her youth in India, so it’s a perfect start to her stint at this popular venue. There’ll be six dishes on offer alongside the usual Hawker Hall menu, including Wagyu beef Seekh kebab with charred shallots, Grilled Varuval tiger prawns, and one of Nabila’s childhood favourites, the Mumbai Pav Bahji.

CHAPEL OF CHEESE: Well, it’s been a staple of Prahran Market for four years now, but now the Maker and Monger antique French food cart has gone and been replaced by an all-encompassing, bricks and mortar cheese shop. Yes, you’ll still get your raclette and cheese toasties, but they’ll also offer up everything the cheese process entails, from milk to maturation. There’ll be a seven metre fridge with over 50 cheeses on offer, plenty of cheese dishes to take away, and famed cheesemaker Anthony Femia on hand to help you with your cheese choice.

A HOTEL DOWNTOWN: Remember the old Downtowner in Lygon St? Well, it’s no longer, and in its place is Zagames House, a seriously stylish boutique hotel. It’s been an $18m transformation for the now 97 room facility, and it shows. I spent last weekend in a “Neon Suite”, a quasi-apartment equipped with sofa, bar, and 55″ flatscreen TV with free new release movies. It’s a great option for visiting friends and family, or an edge-of-the-CBD staycation. Have coffee or breakfast in the cafe downstairs, “1851”; or enjoy wine, cheese and bar food in on-site wine bar “Lord Lygon”. Good luck choosing from the 300-strong wine list, don’t be afraid to call on the skills of super-friendly sommelier Marcus Radny.

AN OTT PDR: Ross is a huge fan of the Private Dining Room, and QT are offering up a pretty novel offering when it comes to the PDR. Their King private dining room has been transformed into a multi-sensory garden titled ‘Art of the Wild’, with an accompanying culinary and champagne experience deisgned by QT Executive Chef Andy Harmer. It’s a partnership with Champagne House Maison Perrier-Jouët, with nature graphics projected throughout the room inspired by the anemone flowers you’d see on a Perrier-Jouët Belle Epoque bottle. To complement the wild surroundings, a manu including cured Hiramasa Kingfish with Jicama, Yuzu & Dashi; WA Marron with Broccoli, Smoked Eel & Osetra Caviar; and a Sher Wagyu Porterhouse with Tarragon, Artichoke and Beetroot. So get some friends together and enjoy this exclusive experience – up to 20 guests at $125 per head for four courses and champagne on arrival.