Review:  Pizza E Birra – Melbourne

Words and Images by Daria Kill-Smith

Pizza E Birra shimmers brightly at the Fitzroy St junction of Canterbury Rd and Grey Street St in St Kilda.  A black and white, 1950’s deli-style shop frontage of glass bay-windows showcases a rear wall of wine laden shelves above the bar, with a massive black and white collage over the kitchen pass that celebrates the immigrants of the time. Our bench seat by a corner window gave an unimpeded view of the constant activity on Fitzroy St, along with the comings and goings of restaurant patrons – adults and kids alike, as well as the staff knuckling down to business keeping patrons well fed and watered.


An extensive menu ensured any craving could be met, and included antipasti, salads and of course, pizza – with traditional Italian flavours including imported Buffalo mozzarella, aged pecorino, and gorgonzola. Italian pork sausage, 36 hour-cooked Veal Osso buco, and local seafood made up the pasta selection, while pizzas were topped with porcini mushrooms and black truffle; zucchini, tomato, and aromatic basil; green apple and chilli. Salads of rocket, parmesan and pear, and a warmed asparagus, spinach and almond rounded off the mains. A selection of gluten-free, vegetarian, and vegan dishes were available, plus a dessert pizza of Raffaello, gelato and coconut.


Mark, the manager, ensured all dishes were delivered promptly to our table, with the assistance of the capable service and kitchen staff.


With planned works to bring the restaurant back to its former glory, it is expected that Pizza E Birra will remain a popular destination for St Kilda locals.


60 Fitzroy Street

St Kilda

VIC 3182

Phone: (03) 9537 3465

**Daria was a guest of Pizza E Birra – thanks to co-owner Ly Nguyen


Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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BURGER PROJECT – Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane

Launches fundraising drive for the National Indigenous Culinary Institute

Burger Project is going back to its native roots as a part of an exciting charity initiative to raise money for the National Indigenous Culinary Institute.

All 11 Burger Projects across Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane will donate $1 from the Outback limited-edition burger to the National Indigenous Culinary Institute (NICI), an apprenticeship, mentoring and support program for aspiring Indigenous chefs.

The Outback ($12.90) is the latest in a series of limited-edition burgers and is available from Wednesday, 1 August to Sunday, 30 September. This one-of-a-kind burger comprises of a Cape Grim beef pattie, lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles, roasted, sliced and marinated beetroot and Burger Project’s secret sauce. This classic Australian combination of flavours is given a native boost with a generous drizzle of lemon myrtle mayonnaise.


In addition, Black Label by Burger Project in Sydney will make an ongoing contribution to the Institute by donating $1 from every Native burger ($17) sold from Wednesday, 1 August.

The Native burger heroes indigenous Australian ingredients, including locally-sourced Paroo kangaroo, which is blended with Cape Grim beef. The pattie is accompanied with lightly pickled beetroot, lettuce, tomato, onion and cheese. It is drizzled with lemon myrtle mayonnaise and finished with spiced quandong, a native Australian peach, and bush tomato sauce.


Money raised from the Native and Outback burgers will go directly toward the Institute’s apprenticeship program, which brings passionate Indigenous chefs into some of Australia’s
fine-dining kitchens with guaranteed employment at the end of the program.

Rockpool Dining Group has helped train NICI apprentices and now employs graduates at two of its Sydney restaurants, Rockpool Bar & Grill and Rosetta Ristorante.

The group’s Culinary Director Neil Perry believes the Burger Project initiative is another valuable way to support the apprenticeship program.

“We’ve had the privilege of training these talented, ambitious apprentices, who are invaluable employees of the group,” Mr Perry said. “NICI provides a vital platform for Indigenous chefs to begin fulfilling careers, and we’re proud to support the Institute in every way we can.”

National Indigenous Culinary Institute General Manager Michael Ingrey is thrilled to join forces with Burger Project, and believes the fundraising initiative will play a vital role in the training of these young Indigenous chefs.

“The money raised will provide ongoing invaluable support to Indigenous trainees throughout their apprenticeship, including mentoring, counselling and specialist skills training,” Mr Ingrey said.

Burger Project is located at Bondi Junction, Broadway, Circular Quay, Martin Place, Parramatta and World Square in Sydney, Edward Street and Southpoint in Brisbane, and Bourke Street, Chadstone and St Collins Lane in Melbourne. Black Label by Burger Project is located at Grosvenor Place in Sydney.

Black Label by Burger Project – Native Burger                                                                        Burger Project – The Outback

**Information and Images Courtesy of Burger Project/Rockpool Dining Group – Georgie Meredith

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Southgate restaurants are turning up the heat with a host of exciting events, masterclasses and Father’s Day celebrations.

Winter has well and truly arrived in Melbourne, but never fear – Southgate Melbourne’s riverside restaurants and bars are coming to the rescue with wine festivals, special events, warming seasonal menus, opera nights, and whisky masterclasses.


At the top of the event list is the new Southbank Progressive Dinners – The Winter Trail, hosted by three Southgate restaurants. Southgate is perhaps the ultimate destination for this style of dinner in winter – whether it’s wind, rain or hail outside you’ll be staying warm as you enjoy three courses across three different restaurants, all under one roof!


The progressive dinners are hosted by Red Emperor, La Camera Southgate and Hophaus with Waterslide Bar billed as the official pre and post dinner drinks venue. Progressive Dinners are available Sunday to Thursday evenings from 12 August to 6 September. In one night, let your tastebuds travel from Germany to Italy to China, without the need for a passport. Each acclaimed restaurant features breathtaking views overlooking the Yarra River and city skyline.


On Sunday 12 August, Pure South Dining are hosting Wine Tasmania’s annual VIN Diemen festival, bringing 100 wines from over 20 Tasmanian vinters together with their rare produce on the banks of the Yarra River. Pure South Dining’s remote artisan food suppliers will come together with wines from each region, offering a truly intimate experience of the ‘pure south’s’ startling fresh produce.


Family-favourite La Camera Southgate is set to impress with their second wonderful winter performance event. On the 27 August the celebrated Opera Night returns – join sopranos Samantha Fawcett U’Ren, Laura Slavin, and Suzanne Shakespeare as they perform some of your favourite arias, combining culture and cuisine in one electrifying evening.

Warm your bones with a whisky and learn something new along the way with one of Southgate’s stellar whisky masterclasses. Waterslide Bar are hosting intimate masterclass dedicated to some of the rarest and finest whisky in the world (booked at your convenience, with a minimum of two and maximum of fifteen in your group), while famed Irish pub P.J.O’Brien’s has a whiskey masterclass in the calendar. On  15 August the Peated Malts of Distinction masterclass will unearth some of Scotland and Ireland’s delicious peated single malts.

On 7 September, Pure South Dining is hosting an exceptional evening dedicated to ethically sourced and sustainable produce. Meet the Makers of Pure South will highlight delicious produce from Tasmania’s most sought after ethical farmers: Nichols Poultry and Mount Gnomon Farm, with celebrated head farmers from both businesses hosting the event. To top it all off, each course will be expertly matched with award-winning wines from Josef Chromy Wines, with the winemaker also in attendance.


In September, when the chill (hopefully) begins to ease, our restaurants will turn on the charm, with an assortment of fun and delicious Father’s Day specials and events. Whatever your Dad likes, there’s something here for him – from a photo booth and prizes for the Best ‘Dad Joke’ at La Camera, to free drinks for Dad at Hophaus, P.J.O’brien’s, Blue Train and Bear Brass and a special Father’s Day Chef Selection at Tutto Bene. Meanwhile the ever-delectable Damon Bradley is celebrating ‘man’s best friend’, donating $3 from every pancake sold on the day to the Lost Dog’s Home.


Effervescent Sundays continue to steal the show at Southgate, with long lunches and sparkling accompaniments consistently on the menu. ‘Free Flowing Champagne Sunday Lunches’ at Pure South Dining continue, while Tutto Bene’s Sparkling Sundays pairs delicious two or three-course Italian feasts, with bottomless premium Italian sparkling.


Southgate is home to fifteen diverse restaurants, bars and eateries with cuisines ranging from German to Tasmanian to modern European. A range of boutique retailers including vintage fashion, books and stationery can also be found within the precinct.

**Information and Images Courtesy of Southgate Restaurants/Supplied by Fuller PR – Keryn O’Donnell



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VIN Diemen Melbourne at Pure South Dining

Pure South Dining will host VIN Diemen Melbourne for the first time.

The annual VIN Diemen festival will return to Melbourne on Sunday 12 August and for the first time will be hosted at Pure South Dining for one true Tasmanian experience, celebrating the region’s exceptional food and wine culture.


Brought to life by Wine Tasmania, in partnership with master of events Revel, better known for the world’s biggest Pinot festival, Pinot Palooza, VIN Diemen will give guests an opportunity to explore Tasmania’s culinary delights without leaving the city.

Tasmania is Australia’s hidden gem, where the wild meets a cool, calm and collected climate with an abundance of natural beauty. This year, VIN Diemen Melbourne will showcase the unparalleled quality of Tasmania’s wine and food, with an extended line-up of the island’s leading vintners paired with Pure South Dining’s artisan producers.


Guests can enjoy a glass of sparkling on arrival before winding their way through each region, tasting an array of varieties from every corner of the island. The day will welcome over 20 Tasmanian wine producers featuring 100 different wines from the likes of Tolpuddle, Moorilla, Pipers Brook, Moores Hill Estate and many more.

Moores Hill Estate owner, Fiona Weller said, “VIN Diemen is a one-off opportunity to experience Tasmania’s food and wine offerings. We’re delighted to be involved in sharing what defines our region and why Tasmania is such a unique place.”

Long before provenance became a buzzword, Pure South Dining’s close relationships with Tasmania’s remote growers and producers has brought the best of the ‘pure south’ to Melbourne.


Situated on the banks of the Yarra River, the newly refurbished two-story restaurant will transform into a gourmet isle for the day, offering an unrivalled feast of Tasmania’s finest and most bespoke fare. Pure South sources the highest quality ingredients from farmers, fisherman and artisan producers across the region, some of which are exclusive on the mainland, flown in by light plane. VIN Diemen will feature produce from rare-breed Mt Gnomon Farm pork, St Helens Oysters, Tongola Farm, bass strait scallops and more.


The event will also include beverages from Tasmanian suppliers Strait Brands serving vodka and gin along with Pagan Cider.

Wine Tasmania Chief Executive OfficerSheralee Davies said, “we are extremely thrilled with the opportunity to bring VIN Diemen back to Melbourne for its fourth year, with a twist. This year’s event, presented in partnership with Pure South Dining, will feature Tasmania’s outstanding food alongside our cool climate wines to present a Tasmanian feast like no other.”


VIN Diemen is a chance to meet the makers, sip, savour and socialise whilst delving deep into Tasmanian culture with over 20 wine producers offering over 100 wines and one true Tasmanian experience.

Early bird tickets are $110.00 and general admission are $125.00, limited VIP tickets are also available for guests to purchase. Each ticket includes a Plumm wine glass to taste and take home, all wine tasting, and food served by Pure South.

The event will run on Sunday 12 August from 12:00pm – 5:00pm and tickets can be purchased here:



**Information and Images Courtesy of Pure South Dining/Supplied by Fuller PR – Keryn O’Donnell


Wine Tasmania is the peak representative body for Tasmanian grape growers and winemakers, working to assist them to be recognised as world leaders in the sustainable production of premium cool climate wine. Established in 2006, Wine Tasmania represents more than 98% of Tasmanian wine production, with 100 state-wide producer members and 60 associated member businesses. All activities undertaken by the wine sector body are designed to generate value for its members.


Revel are the team behind epic wine and food events including Pinot Palooza, Game of Rhones, Mould: A Cheese Festival, Gauchito Gil’s Malbec Day, formerly known as Bottle Shop Concepts.

Our new name, Revel, represents our love of bringing people together for a good time. It says fun. It says celebration. It says cut loose and leave your troubles at the door.

Building upon our experience, success and commitment of creating and delivering remarkable experiences, our new brand marries the very best elements of yesterday with a fresh outlook to create something that’s a bit more us these days (we aren’t actually a bottle shop, you know).


Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour
Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour is launching an exclusive Goose Island Beer paddle just in time for the hoppiest day of the year. The Goose Paddle offers a 200ml taste of four refreshingly crisp and aromatic beers, which on International Beer Day includes the Goose IPA, Honkers, Halia and Midway. On Friday, 3 August, guests quenching their thirst with this limited-edition paddle ($30) will also be offered a complimentary Margherita or Diavolo pizza.

The Goose Paddle will remain on the menu at Fratelli Fresh Darling Harbour after Friday, 3 August, with diners able to select which beers they would like to sample.


Munich Brauhaus, The Bavarian and The Bavarian Beerhaus
Australia’s favourite Bavarian restaurants will celebrate International Beer Day with a wacky and wonderful pretzel flavoured beer, on offer at Munich Brauhaus, The Bavarian and The Bavarian Beerhaus. The Pretzel Beer, a delicious, malty lager with a dense white head and mild salty finish, is available in 300ml ($5), 500ml ($10), and 1l ($20) and is on offer on Friday, 3 August only.


For bookings: and

**Information and Images Courtesy of Rockpool Dining Group – Georgie Meredith


Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Recently in Sydney, Callebaut revealed ruby RB1 chocolate – the fourth type of chocolate, and first new variety to be discovered in 80 years. Adding a new option to the well-known milk, dark, and white chocolate categories, ruby RB1 turns everything we know about chocolate on its head.

The new chocolate’s sparkling ruby colour occurs naturally from the ruby cocoa bean, and surprises with intense fruitiness and fresh, sour notes. Offering a completely new chocolate taste, the fruitiness and sourness makes it perfect for pairing with Rose Champagne, and even beer or savoury ingredients – so expect to see a lot of amazing creations from chocolate and pastry professionals once ruby RB1 is available in September at Fine Food Australia.

Ruby Cherry
Ruby Cherry

The first ruby chocolate dedicated to chocolatiers and pastry chefs, ruby RB1 will be made available in Australia from September. Prior to this, Callebaut’s Chocolate Heroes will be offering ruby RB1 treats for sale at their stores from August, giving die-hard fans the very first chance to taste ruby in Australia before its official September launch.

Global Callebaut Ambassador and Australia’s Queen of Chocolate, Kirsten Tibballs says of the new chocolate, “ruby RB1 is one of the most exciting things to happen to the chocolate industry in decades. It opens up a whole new world of ideas and makes you rethink everything you thought you knew about chocolate.”   

Ruby chocolate was discovered more than a decade ago when researchers found out that ruby chocolate was linked to precursors in a specific type of bean: the “ruby” cocoa bean. Identifying the ruby cocoa beans, which hold plenty of these precursors, and finding the best way to process the beans during chocolate-making has taken many years of research. Callebaut’s ruby RB1 owes its colour and specific taste solely to the expert selection and meticulous processing of the ruby beans – no fruit flavouring or colourants are added to the chocolate. In addition, Callebaut sources sustainably grown cocoa beans and supports farmers in cocoa farming communities.


Find Ruby desserts at the following Chocolate Hero locations in August:

Textbook Boulangerie Patisserie: 274 Botany Rd, Alexandria NSW 2015

Purchese Sweet Studio: 647 Chapel Street, South Yarra VIC 3141

Josophan’s Fine Chocolates: 132 Leura Mall, Leura NSW 2780

F.Mayer Imports is the Australian importer of Callebaut chocolate. Callebaut chocolate is relied on every day by chefs and chocolatiers around the country and the world to craft truly delicious creations.

For more than 100 years, Callebaut® has been making chocolate in the heart of Belgium and is still one of the rare chocolate makers to select, roast and grind cacao beans into its own secret and exclusive cocoa mass – the most important ingredient for chocolate couvertures. Callebaut® was established in 1850 in Belgium as a malt brewery. Grandson Octaaf Callebaut produced his first chocolate bars in 1911 and began production of chocolate couverture for Belgian chocolatiers soon after. Callebaut® began exporting its finest Belgian chocolates in 1950 and is part of the Barry Callebaut group, the world’s leading manufacturer of high-quality chocolate and cacao.

**Information and Images Courtesy of Callebaut/Supplied Evil Twin PR


Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Rockpool Dining Group is putting the customer in the driving seat with two Mercedes-Benz GLA 180s up for grabs across its premium restaurants in Sydney and Melbourne.

The customer loyalty initiative will run from Monday, 30 July 2018 to Sunday, 30 2018 September. Every time a customer dines at one of the group’s premium restaurants in either city they are eligible to enter the competition to win a sleek and shiny GLA, valued at $54,000, from Mercedes-Benz North Shore, Sydney. One GLA will be given away in each city.

Whether it is a solo diner, a table of two, or a group of three or more, every person in the dining party can enter the draw.

Customers can accelerate their way into the winning seat by dining at five premium restaurants during the period of the competition, which will secure them ten bonus entries to the draw.

Through Rockpool Dining Group’s partnership with Qantas, which allows Frequent Flyers to earn and burn their points at the Group’s restaurants, diners who pay for their meal at one of the premium restaurants by burning their points will also receive an additional entry to the competition.

Participating restaurants in Sydney:

  • Rockpool Bar & Grill
  • Rosetta Ristorante
  • Spice Temple
  • The Cut Bar & Grill
  • Saké Restaurant & Bar The Rocks
  • Saké Restaurant & Bar Double Bay
  • Bar Patrónby Rockpool

Participating restaurants in Melbourne:

  • Rockpool Bar & Grill
  • Rosetta Ristorante
  • Spice Temple
  • Saké Restaurant & Bar Hamer Hall
  • Saké Restaurant & Bar Flinders Lane

The competition will be drawn on Wednesday, 8 October 2018. Get ready to dine in and potentially drive away.

**Information and Images Courtesy of Rockpool Dining Group – Racehl Lebihan



Built in 1884, during the hey-day of East Gippsland’s busy ports, as two grand residences overlooking the Mitchell River in Riverine Street, The Riversleigh hotel is steeped in history and plans are underway to celebrate the hotels 135th anniversary in 2019.

The buildings retain many original features, including a cast iron balcony, delicate etched glass, two rams’ heads thought to be a representation of the young Queen Victoria, and magnificent ruby glass windows, which originally lit the top of a central staircase.

Victorian Era Architecture
Victorian Era Architecture

The hotel underwent a major refurbishment in 2013, after it was bought by current owners Rachel and Adrian Bromage, and Rachel’s father, Michael Banson, adding contemporary indulgences while retaining its historical charm.

Under the careful direction of Rachel Bromage, The Riversleigh now offers understated luxury and a fresh, feminine touch with a keen eye on detail such as comfortable beds and pillows, high quality bed linen and towels, and condiments in each of the rooms. “When we bought the hotel there were 20 rooms, but we have now completed another two rooms giving us 22 rooms in total, including one fully self-contained apartment,” Ms Bromage said.

Rachel Bromage Owner/Managing Director
Rachel Bromage Owner/Managing Director

“No two rooms are the same; some have original fireplaces, most have the original glass dating back to 1884 and stunning, 14-foot ceilings.”  Contemporary additions include complimentary wi-fi and a Tesla electric car charging station.

Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Lounge), July 2018 Pix 9

The family, who moved to Bairnsdale from Melbourne in 1985, has extensive experience in the East Gippsland tourism industry, running businesses including the Bairnsdale Tourist Caravan Park, The Moorings, 5 Knots, McMillan’s and Director Boat Charters, in Metung, and Bellevue on the Lakes in Lakes Entrance.

“We have a lot of corporate guests and weekend visitors driving along the Melbourne to Sydney route, but some of our guests have been coming for more than 20 years and one guest has been staying regularly since The Riversleigh first opened as a hotel in the 1980s,” Ms Bromage said.

Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Duluxe King), July 2018 Pix 3-1

Under their management, The Riversleigh also has become a popular destination for weddings and events, with a well-equipped function and conference space. A professional wedding planner recently joined the team to help guests plan their perfect destination wedding.

Open for lunch, Monday to Friday, visitors and locals alike are invited to enjoy meals created from locally sourced produce and select from an extensive range of local wines. Just next door, in a stable dating back to the late 1800s, The Loft restaurant serves up meals showcasing the best of the best from East Gippsland producers, with a charge-back facility for hotel guests. 

Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Breakfast Room), July 2018 Pix 5

Guests of The Riversleigh are encouraged to visit the regions popular attractions including; a cruise on the Gippsland Lakes, spotting koalas on Raymond Island, a visit to St Mary’s Cathedral, a trip out to the Buchan Caves and a bike ride on the Great East Rail Trail, for further information see

The Riversleigh offers seasonal accommodation packages with room rates ranging $155 to $265 per night. All rates include a daily continental breakfast. It is open Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm and weekends and public holidays 8am to 6pm, see

**Information and Images Courtesy of The Riversleigh/Supplied by G D Publicity/Greta Donaldson

 Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Dining Room), July 2018 Pix 10

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Australia) July 2018 Pix 1Country Luxe; The Riversleigh Hotel, Bairnsdale, East Gippsland, (Owner + Managing Director, Rachel Bromage), July 2018 Pix 8-1

 EDENVALE – alcohol removed wines

Offering sophisticated alternatives for those who enjoy wine without the side effects, Edenvale is excited to announce the launch of their Premium Reserve range. Crafted from carefully selected, premium quality fruit sourced from the fine wine regions of South Australian, Edenvale’s Premium Reserve range delivers the ultimate wine experience for all wine lovers – without the effects of alcohol.

Through meticulous production processes, the Premium Reserve range maintains all the flavour, characteristics and varietal integrity of traditional blends, and includes a Sparkling Shiraz, Sparkling Blanc De Blanc, and a classic Pinot Noir. Unlike many other alcohol removed alternatives in the market, Edenvale wines are actually wines, made from varietal wine grapes, using traditional wine-making methods. In creating their premium range, Edenvale removes the alcohol at the final stage of the wine-making process, leaving behind the true characteristics of each wine.

With roughly half the calories of standard wine, you’ll not only wake up without the hangover, you’ll also be able to have a great night out, drinking premium wines, but without ruining your diet, or the morning after.

Premium Reserve Sparkling Shiraz

Classically Australian, the Premium Reserve Sparkling Shiraz has tantalising blackberry and currant fruit aromas. Hints of oak and smoky exotic spices are complemented by a palate that is round and full. The sparkling bead combines with rich dark fruit flavours and chocolate notes, making for a luscious indulgence. Persistent rich spicy flavours, yet finishing crisp and clean. Enjoy with roast meats, spicy dishes and any number of cheese styles.


Premium Reserve Sparkling Blanc De Blanc

Predominantly Chardonnay-based, delicious white peach fruit flavours come through with notes of citrus, apricot, apple and complex oak. The Premium Reserve Sparkling Blanc de Blanc has a beautiful clean, fresh palate with good length and wonderful balance. Enjoy with a variety of foods, especially oysters, smoked salmon, creamy cheeses and canapes.


Premium Reserve Pinot Noir

The “flagship” of Edenvale’s Reserve range, the Pinot Noir has attractive ripe red and dark fruit characters, hints of earthiness and a savoury complexity. The palate has fine interwoven tannins with perfectly ripe sweet cherry and mulberry fruit flavours, delicate and yet intense in the mouth. Clean and rounded with a delightful juicy finish. Enjoy with a wide variety of foods, especially duck, seared salmon or tuna, roast white meats and goats cheese.


Offering a sophisticated alcohol removed alternative for those who still wish to sip on an adult beverage, Edenvale’s range of wines are also perfect for anyone who still want to enjoy the social aspect of having a drink – without having a drink.

Edenvale’s Premium Reserve range is available now.

RRP: $14.99 per 750ml bottle


Edenvale -Sparkling
Edenvale -Sparkling

Edenvale is Australia’s leading alcohol removed wine brand. Experts in the field of alcohol reduction and removal, Edenvale is an Australian owned company dedicated to developing and delivering healthy lifestyle beverages to consumers worldwide, and is committed to ongoing research to ensure continual product improvement and nutritional enhancement. Proudly made from only the best selected South Eastern Australian wine grapes, Edenvale premium alcohol removed wines contain less than half the calories of standard wine and are rich in antioxidants. Innovative alcohol extraction technology is used to delicately remove the alcohol, preserving varietal integrity. The International Standard for a non-intoxicating beverage is less than 0.5% Alc/Vol. Edenvale alcohol removed wines contain approximately 0.2 – 0.3% Alc/Vol, which is well below the International Standard, and a level similar to that found in natural fruit juices. Other wines in the Edenvale range include Sparkling Rose, Sauvignon Blanc, Rose and Riesling.

**Information and Images Courtesy of Edenvale/Supplied by Evil Twin PR

Edenvale - Premium Reserve
Edenvale –
Premium Reserve

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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Contemporary Indian restaurants Babu Ji and Piquancy are about to get another stylish sibling when Elichi (meaning cardamom in Punjabi) opens in Black Rock in mid-August.


The vibrancy and versatility of Indian cuisine was brought to the forefront in Melbourne by Mani Wariach of St Kilda’s Babu Ji and Hawthorn’s Piquancy, where local produce is the hero in dishes that pack a punch. Elichi will follow the same ethos, also serving up some of their classics, as well as new additions:

Roasted Jerusalem artichoke chaat – fried curry leaf, garlic labne and herb oil, Jangalee mushroom kebab – wild mushroom, goats cheese, and parmesan pappadum, Podi spiced calamari with pickled onion, shaved fennel and curry leaf aioli, Tandoori chickenwith baby sprouts, young carrot and yoghurt emulsion, Otway pork vindaloo with sugarcane vinegar and red masala, truffle naan bread and sweet treats like the Gulab Jamun tart and of course, Elichi cheesecake.


The name Elichi (pronounced Eh-lychee) was chosen due to its unfamiliarity. Similar to Piquancy, it doesn’t automatically make people think of an Indian venue, because like its siblings, it’s not your typical Indian restaurant. Dishes have been carefully created, paying homage to Mani’s family recipes, with a contemporary edge and the use of ingredients not usually associated with Indian food. Guests can come in and enjoy the likes of the Brussel sprouts with roasted coconut and curry leaf and the Darjeeling chai brulee with rhubarb and ginger compote, or opt for classics such as dal makhani and butter chicken with homemade naan and aged rice. Cardamom is also a staple ingredient in everyday Indian cooking as well as in the Elichi homemade chai blend.

Mani chose the location in Black Rock due to the beautiful surrounds and for their head chef Punit Fernandes, who is from the coastal city of Mumbai, India. Punit fell in love with local ingredients when he previously worked at Rockpool and Crown and was also a finalist for the 2016 San Pellegrino Young Chef of the Year Award.


Mani said: “We will be focusing on local ingredients with Indian flavours, there will be a modern approach to food while keeping traditional flavours in mind. There will also be gluten-free and vegetarian-friendly options. Elichi will be very fresh produce and seasonally driven.”

Also joining the Elichi team is Sanjay Bista as front of house manager. Originally from Nepal, Sanjay came to Australia in 2007 to study commercial cooking and went on to work for Koko Black for six years. Moving on to the InterContinental Melbourne The Rialto for four years, Sanjay is excited to now welcome guests dining at Elichi.

Elichi will seat 70 guests with a separate Chester lounge area complete with fireplace, perfect for patrons waiting for a table or just coming for a drink or snacks. Mani added: “As always, we want to create a friendly home away from home for our locals where they can always expect a delicious meal in a cosy and welcoming space.”


Opening mid-August

6/8 Bluff Road, Black Rock

**Information and Images Courtesy of Elichi/Zilla & Brook – Deveta Patel

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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