Truly, Madly, Deeply Melbourne – Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

Truly, Madly, Deeply Melbourne – Part Three at The Plaza Ballroom Melbourne Food and Wine Festival    On Tuesday 20 March, The Plaza Ballroom will once again host an indulgent night of degustation and entertainment not to be missed, as part of the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.  With the previous two years quickly selling … Read more


‘Taste of the Highlands’ Train Journey

The Belmond Royal Scotsman Bagpiper
The Belmond Royal Scotsman Bagpiper

Words by Sindy Chan:

Images: Troy Nam with Hasselblad

Boarding The Belmond Royal Scotsman

Home of Aberdeen Angus

Ballindalloch Castle, the much-loved family home of the Macpherson-Grants, was the last sightseeing itinerary of our 3-day-2-night The Belmond Royal Scotsman “Taste of the Highlands” train journey.

On day 3, before departure for sightseeing, Headwaiter Marx shared the daily menu, informing us that Aberdeen Angus beef was to be the main course of our formal dinner that night.

I realised later that we had encountered the Aberdeen Angus cattle in their homeland – the Ballindalloch Estate in Speyside of the Scotland Highlands, in a riotous profusion of season’s colours.

The black, hornless castle, a breed noticeable for its meat quality and easy rearing, are descended from the herd first started by the 3rd Baronet of Ballindalloch, Sir George Macpherson-Grant, in 1860, and are now the oldest surviving bloodlines of Aberdeen Angus in the world.

Guy Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch Castle received us at the coach park. Ian Gardiner, our Host on The Royal Scotsman Train said that Guy and wife Victoria always received Belmond guests upon arrival, personally taking each group around the castle.

Guy Macpherson-Grant personally receiving guests of The Belmond
Guy Macpherson-Grant of Ballindalloch Castle
Seasonal splendour - Ballindalloch Castle
Seasonal splendour –
Ballindalloch Castle

Wining Before Dining 

DSC09773 Welcome back drink
DSC09961 Cocktails & canapes before dinner

Belmond Royal Scotsman Formal Dinner

I was so delighted to have Paupiette of Scottish oak-smoked salmon, my favourite poached langoustine, tomato & chive dressing as starter; and fully enjoyed the main course Roast fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef in the Highlands of Scotland.

From what I learnt from steak gourmands, Aberdeen Angus breed is rich in flavour, juicy with a hint of sweetness from the grass. The smaller conformation allows for a thicker steak with the resulting contrast in textures – caramelised outside and buttery, melt-in-the-mouth inside. The short fibres, exquisite marble-textured Aberdeen Angus produces tender meat with excellent nutritional balance.

Paupiette of Scottish oak smoked salmon, poached langoustine, with tomato, chive dressing
Paupiette of Scottish oak smoked salmon, poached langoustine with tomato, chive dressing
Pairing wine - Bacchus, Offida, Le Merlettaie - Ciu Ciu, Italy 2015
Pairing wine – Bacchus, Offida, Le Merlettaie
Ciu Ciu, Italy 2015
Roast fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef
Roast fillet of Aberdeen Angus beef
Chocolate Cremeux, lime caramel sauce & hazelnut ice cream
Chocolate Cremeux, lime caramel sauce & hazelnut ice cream
Cheese and coffee in the Observation Car after dinner
Cheese and coffee in the Observation Car after dinner

First dinner on board

Isn’t that amazing

The Royal Scotsman’s very fine culinary “Taste of the Highlands” are delivered from a two-chef’s kitchen?

Starter – Honey Roasted Duck Breast, Beetroot Chutney, Toasted Hazelnuts & Orange Reduction reminded of a little of Oriental flavour; pairing wine Wachauer, Rainer Wess, Gruner Veltliner Austria 2014.

Honey Roasted Duck Breast
Honey Roasted Duck Breast

Main Course – Oven-Roasted Halibut, Fondant Potato, Wilted Spinach, Crayfish & Chervil Veloute and pairing wine Montagny 1er cru, Les Grappes d’Or, Feuillat Juillot, Burgundy, France 2014 was a perfect match.

Oven-roasted Halibut
Oven-roasted Halibut

Who doesn’t like Champagne Jelly?

Dessert – Timbale of Seasonal Berries in Champagne Jelly, Raspberry Sorbet & Marshmallow 

Timbale of seasonal berries in Champagne jelly
Timbale of seasonal berries in Champagne jelly
Pairing wine Montagny 1er cru, Les Grappes d'Or, Feillaut Juillot - Burgundy, France 2014
Pairing wine Montagny 1er cru, Les Grappes d’Or, Feillaut Juillot – Burgundy, France 2014

Risotto perfectly cooked

I always have problem with chewy, half-cooked Risotto. On the Royal Scotsman train, I discovered the perfectly cooked Roasted butternut squash Risotto.

Roasted Butternut squash risotto
Roasted Butternut squash risotto
Pairing wine - Chablis, Domaine Fevre - Burgundy, France 2015
Pairing wine – Chablis, Domaine Fevre – Burgundy, France 2015
Honey & Sultana bread & butter pudding with heather honey cream
Honey & Sultana bread & butter pudding with heather honey cream


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Chapel Street’s Resto Bobo

Resto Bobo – Melbourne

Words by Kate Taylor

Images Courtesy of Eugene Hyland

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

Nestled right in trendy Windsor, adjacent to Mr Miyagi, and squeezed in close to Hawker Hall, sits the stylish French casual diner, Resto BoBo.

Offering beautifully surprising and delicate share plate options in an award-winning French-style art deco interior, you and your besties will be taken away from the noise and bustle of Chapel St to enjoy the food, the drinks, and the seriously French, surprisingly friendly, wait staff.

Thing is, Resto BoBo offers something you won’t find anywhere else in Melbourne: the many flavours of their signature dish, tarte flambée.

Tarte what? Tarte (tart) flambée (flom-bay). Literally, a hot tart.

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

It’s a traditional French-style pizza from the Alsace and surrounding regions (North East France, Southern Germany), made with a very thin bread dough base, presented as a rectangle and cut into smaller rectangular pieces. Super easy to eat that way. Trust me. They story goes, the French used to cook the bread to test the heat of the ovens, and then share the bread with the whole village.

Resto BoBo creator and owner (and ex-engineer) Dan Xerri, fell in love with the generous community spirit and traditional flavours of the French country-side after spending some time living and working as an engineer in Strasbourg. Back home in Australia, Dan brings Melbourne just a small piece of that discovery.

I was so lucky to have dined at Resto BoBo this week. As Dan began to explain the cocktails, and patiently answer all my questions, I scribbled like a maniac to make sure I got everything down. Not having had a chance to really study the menu before my arrival, I asked Dan to surprise me.

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

In fact, one of the menu items is the Feed Moi!!! – get it? Can’t decide what you want? Let the people who know this stuff choose for you.

I began with an aperitif. Based on the Kir Royale, these fresh, summery champagne cocktails all come with a twist, and are all served on ice. I tasted the Strasbourg Spritz; a Frenchified Aperol Spritz – Orange Colombo liqueur, Pere Bertrand Triple Sec, Cremant d’Alsace. Incredibly balanced flavours, and perfect for summer.

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

Now let’s talk food. I tasted one item from the Bites section of the menu, two items from the Plates section (and my favourite of the night), and three unforgettable flavours of the tarte flambée.

The Chorizo Butter Bread Tartine is two quenelles of a bright red paste made of chorizo and coriander, strongly flavoured and served with small slices of bread. Take the paste spread it on the bread. Go for it. This is a great starter – and the bread won’t spoil you for the flambée, so don’t worry about that.

The Garlic & Chive flambée was so full of flavour, so rich and so luxurious, you’ll feel a little guilty, but not guilty enough to stop. It’ll make you angry that you didn’t know it existed until now. It’s something you thought of doing yourself, but you don’t have the necessary skills to make it. The base of the flambée is that thin, slightly crispy dough, with a layer of white sauce. This particular flavour, a twist on a traditional tarte flambée, is emmental (Swiss) cheese, onion, smoked bacon, confit garlic and chives. The cheese is perfect, the flavour is incredible.

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

If a whole flambée is looking to take up valuable stomach space, and you want to try more flavours, you and your table can order slider versions. Try them all!

From the cheese section of the flambée, ladies and gentlemen:

La Belle Vie #2. Bleu d’Auverigne cheese, fresh julienne pear, onion and pecans. Like the cocktails, the lovely balancing act of the flavours means that you can taste every element – nothing is overpowered by the other. A perfect sharing of flavours.

The Salmon Piquante. From the meat flambée choice list, this is little chunks of fleshy salmon covered in fresh julienne apple and mint, on a base of chilli cream sauce. It’s as refreshing as it sounds.  You’ll talk about the flambée for quite a while. That is, until you try your next dish.

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

Lastly for me, but by far not the least, was the Seared Black Angus Steak & Greens, which was served to me with the Frenchified Mac & Cheese.

Are you ready for this?

The carved steak is served on a long plate, and is presented in bite-size squares, with little visible salt flakes just around its edges. Extremely tender, and wonderfully juicy, flavours of garlic are subtle and pair gently with simple seasonal greens. Your table will need this one.

And finally, the pièce de résistance for my evening, the mac and cheese. Housemade Spaetzle (Alsatian pasta), pan fried in duck fat, and served with a multi-cheese sauce. A light paprika sprinkle for colour. Duck fat. Pan fried. The pasta is soft, but with a beautiful crisp touch, and cheese sauce is rich, thick and is basically the best mac and cheese in Melbourne. I said it.

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland

You won’t want to miss this little place. You’re in for a traditionally long French evening of friends, bread, butter, cheese, herbs and sparkling cocktails.


**Kate was a guest of Resto Bobo/Zilla & Brook PR – Deveta Patel

Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor. Picture: Eugene Hyland
Resto BoBo at 110 Chapel St, Windsor

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events




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Cherry Blossom Season with Celebratory Cocktails at Saké

Saké Celebrates the Arrival of Cherry Blossom Season Saké Restaurant & Bar is gearing up for its annual, month-long Cherry Blossom celebrations of all that spring and the new season has to offer… The celebrations run from Monday 4th – Saturday 30th September and kick off with the release of a range of gorgeous, seasonal cocktails designed by Rockpool Dining Group’s National … Read more



A Luxury Country House Hotel in County Wexford…

Words by Sindy Chan/Images Courtesy of Troy Nam

Sindy Chan is a ‘travelling gourmand’, sharing her international culinary adventures with readers!

Dining Irish is sumptuous and tasty, yet with a hefty focus on meat. Four-star hotel Marlfield House, has taken a giant step forward, creating balanced Irish meat dishes in palettes of home-grown herbs, vegetables and edible flowers from the kitchen garden, which I’ve labelled ‘The Green Evolution’.

DSC05030 Marlfield House kitchen garden

After our pre-dinner tour of the edible garden, with Margaret Bowe, from the ‘owner family’, we were ready to sip on a cocktail! There were a variety of choices, all refreshing and appetising, with one aptly named Peacock Mimosa, inspired by ‘George’ the resident peacock. There’s also a Gin Special – Cocktail of the Month.

DSC04900 Cocktail Peacock mimosa

Historic Marlfield House has two dining options – the fine-dining Conservatory Restaurant and our choice of the casual dining at The Duck Terrace Restaurant both offering a diversified menu.

Main Course

The Duck Terrace Restaurant’s signature dish Magrat Duck Breast, sauté baby potato, wilted spinach, balsamic mushrooms & Raspberry jus (€32) features sweetness of duck meat with the tastiest spinach.

DSC04943 duck breast

Chef’s successful twist of ‘fish & chips’ in oriental flavour Tempura of Haddock, Asian carrot, & lime slaw, house fries, tartar sauce (€16) is a very popular choice. (See pic below)

Mildly flavoured Irish meat dish Slaney Valley Rump of Lamb, turmeric, vegetable and pea couscous, tomato salsa, feta cheese (€26) perfectly blends with freshly-picked home-grown produce.

DSC04792 lamb

Wine pairing

Seafood or meat, the two recommended French wines worked very well either way.

Irish coffee

After dinner, Hotel Manager, Greg Murphy, walked us to the hotel main house where we watched young Lorcan O’Shea preparing authentic Irish coffee for us – coffee and whiskey in the right proportion were mixed, then a floating layer of silky Irish cream was added.

Lorcan O’Shea making Irish coffee

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times Gourmet News – Food/Wine/Events

Follow us on Instagram: @tatgourmetmag

Read on for additional information on Marlfield House and region, plus more pics…

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The Cliveden Bar & Dining opened this week. A fitting tribute to an 80s and 90s restaurant icon…

The Cliveden Bar & Dining in East Melbourne, showcases a ‘new way to buffet’, with a keen focus on local and artisan produce and beverages, across an impressive 1000 square metre space.

The Cliveden Bar & Dining (phonetically pronounced Cleev-den) is situated on the same site as one of Melbourne’s most exclusive fine dining restaurants of the 1980s and 1990s – The Cliveden Room – where A- listers such as Barry Humphries, Bert Newton and Jeff Kennett were amongst its famous clientele.

Executive Chef John Ross has curated five unique buffet menus for the restaurant. Concepts include European and Mediterranean cuisine, fresh seafood, comforting roasts, and weekend brunch featuring seafood and pancakes. Separate to the buffet menu, guests can enjoy afternoon share plates, high tea (launching in October), and a charcuterie offering.

Bar Share Plates_2

The oversized Cliveden Bar shines as a focal point of the space, animated by mixologists shaking up Insta-worthy cocktails, including the Bloody Aussie Negroni made with Four Pillars Bloody Shiraz Gin (Vic), Maidenii Sweet Vermouth (Vic) and Red Økar Amaro (SA), served on a sphere of ice with burnt orange zest. Guests can snuggle into a cosy nook, perch at the bar, or gather at low-set round tables, and enjoy live oyster shucking (selected days).

Oyster Shucking_1

The wine list showcases some of Victoria’s best wines from producers in the Yarra Valley, Mornington and Bellarine Peninsulas, as well as European varietals. There will be a particular focus on craft beer and cider, plus a range of European brews – both bottled and on tap – and signature spirits (a bespoke spirit range is in development), perfect for pre and post drinks after major sporting events at the MCG and surrounding stadiums.


The Cliveden Bar & Dining Pullman Melbourne On The Park 192 Wellington Parade
East Melbourne VIC 3002

  Reservations: Website: Instagram @thecliveden
Facebook @theclivedenbaranddining

Information & Images Courtesy of The Cliveden Bar & Dining/Kate & Co. – Hayley Edwards

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times Gourmet News – Food/Wine/Events


Follow us on Instagram @tatgourmetmag

Read on for additional info and Pics on The Cliveden…

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Australia’s Most Opulent Champagne Lunch!

SYDNEY FOOD & CHAMPAGNE LOVERS… Saké Double Bay offers free-flowing Dom Pérignon at Australia’s most opulent Champagne lunch, from Saturday 26th August. Saké Restaurant & Bar Double Bay is dialling up the decadence with free-flowing Dom Pérignon,  where from Saturday, 26 August, guests can indulge in a carefully curated lunch menu ($75pp) every Saturday and … Read more

Lunch on the Run with Saké’s Bento Box Express Lunch

 Saké’s Bento Box Express Lunch

Review by Celeste Iuliano…”a real stand-out”.

It can be hard to grab a satisfying lunch on the run. The good news is that you can ditch your sad servo sandwich, because Saké Restaurant & Bar has recently launched the Bento Box Express Lunch at their five locations across Melbourne and Sydney.

Part of Australia’s largest dining group, Rockpool Dining Group, Saké upholds the brands’ reputation for quality and innovation. Their bento box is a creative and refined taken on the traditional Japanese workers’ lunch, featuring modern classics prepared with fresh ingredients. The many elements of a bento box naturally guarantee that you’ll be spoilt for choice, however Saké’s version rotates on occasions to keep things interesting!


The Bento Box currently on offer comes with miso soup, sashimi, nasu dengaku (miso-glazed eggplant), popcorn shrimp, and ginger garlic chicken. It’s hard to know where to begin when everything looks so good. Fortunately you’ll start your meal off with a generous serving of warm, slightly salty edamame seasoned with nori chilli. These humble soybeans are a favourite snack in Japan, where people often enjoy them with a good beer at their local izakaya. Saké offers two fantastic Coedo beers on tap to help you wash them down – Shiro, a smooth white beer with a hint of banana, and the sharper Marihana.



Once you’ve whet your appetite, you’re ready for the main event! The nasu dengaku has a deliciously sticky coating with 5 types of sesame seeds, and is a fantastic introduction to the bento box. As for the chicken, it’s sous-vide for 12 hours then flash fried to give the skin a light crisp. Its flavours are delicate, with the mushrooms in the dipping sauce giving it a nice umami. Of course, the seafood is the hero of the meal. The sashimi is fresh, with the salmon being a personal highlight, and the popcorn shrimp is a fun addition – springy and chewy with the light acidity of yuzu juice cutting through the creamy coating.


You’ll definitely be feeling full and happy at this point, but there’s always room for dessert. The final element of the lunch is a delicious scoop of green tea ice-cream, made fresh in-house every 2 days.


This is an express lunch, so of course you can take it away to enjoy in the comfort of your office. But, if you find yourself with some time up your sleeve, there’s no better way to escape these cold winter days than by savouring your meal in the transportive restaurant. The choice is yours.

The Bento Box Express Lunch is available daily from 12pm-3pm at all Saké restaurants  

**Celeste Iuliano was a guest of Saké Restaurant & Bar, Flinders Lane, Melbourne. She is a regular writer for The Australia Times Gourmet News, and loves nothing better than checking out the latest menus and tasty morsels around her city, as well as attending awesome events, sharing her experiences with readers. Her last fab review? The Donut & Beer Fest!


Images Courtesy of Thomas Bindley/Saké Restaurant & Bar/Michelle Campbell – Minc Communications/Rockpool Dining Group

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times Gourmet News – Food/Wine/Events


Follow us on Instagram @tatgourmetmag


**Read on for the Bento Box Express Lunch Menu & Additional Pics…

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Rosetta Brings Sophisticated Italian Dining Experience to Sydney

Rosetta Opens in Sydney Tuesday 15th August

Rockpool Dining Group’s Rosetta Ristorante will radiate Italian coastal elegance and deliver a sophisticated dining and bar experience over three levels, plus a panoramic outdoor terrace, when it opens for dinner on Tuesday, 15 August.

Rosetta Sydney has a delightful seafood riff that sets it apart from its award-winning Melbourne sister. An easy-going gracefulness spans a curvaceous ground floor dining room, with a sweeping terrace and bar that overlook the city with views to the harbour. Stairs lead to a split-level bar, then on to a sensuous mezzanine dining room creating multi-functional spaces for business meetings, celebrations, after-work drinks and exclusive events.

The menu charts an adventurous seafood course through crudo, antipasti, pizzette, pasta and secondi, showcasing produce from sustainable suppliers and farmers, including Marine Stewardship Certified yellowfin tuna landed in Mooloolaba, and King George Whiting, John Dory and squid from Corner Inlet, Victoria.

Spaghetti alla chitarra, king prawns and pistachio (1)

Beautiful milk-fed veal from southern NSW is the hero meat component, punctuating the menu in dishes such as vitello tonnato, veal tartare, osso bucco and cotoletta.

Contorni such as Sicilian caponata and baby carrots with stracciatella, embody the group’s philosophy of selecting the finest produce and handling it in a simple and respectful manner. A heavenly collection of house-made dolci, including cassata, cannoli, panna cotta and Torta di Verona, is flirtatiously Italian in every way. True to Rosetta’s Italian roots, bread and pasta are made in-house every day.

Torta di Verona

Playful aperitivo cocktails, such as the Cold Drip Café Americano and slushy Sgroppino, usher in a drinks menu that oozes la dolce vita. Bellinis are a centrepiece, rotating seasonally with different fresh fruit blends. The drinks list also includes  aperitivos, digestivos, a bitters section with five variations of Negroni, classic Italian and local beers, over 30 gins and an extensive collections of whisky (and whiskey), grappa, brandies and rum.

Rosetta’s wine list is an exploration of the regions of Italy showcasing the classics and some of the more diverse. Home grown Italian varietals feature throughout with many local favourites rounding out the selection.

Margherita Pizzette

Rosetta Ristorante: 118 Harrington Street, Sydney. 02 8099 7089.
Lunch: Monday-Sunday 12-3pm. Dinner: Monday-Saturday 6-11pm, Sunday 6-10pm. Terrace Bar & Mezzanine Bar: all day dining.

Information Courtesy of Rosetta/Rockpool Dining

Images: Jason Loucas

Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times Gourmet News – Food/Wine/Hospitality/Events


Follow us on Instagram: @tatgourmetmag

Read on for Additional Information on Interior Design, Bars and Sultry Vibes at the new Rosetta Sydney…

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Holy Duck!

Holy Duck!


Words by Daria Kill-Smith

Images Courtesy of Holy Duck!/Cardinal Spin & Daria Kill-Smith.

Les petits was the theme for the night, beginning in the little lanes of Chippendale – once a grungy centre of Sydney, now a trendy hub for inner city occupants, uni students, and hipsters too hip to eat at home. L’etiole accompanied me on this tasting and she was warned – leave your inner vegan at the door for there will be no room at the table for edible-consciousness – the bounty of the Holy Duck! promised meat, meat, and more meat, and it did not disappoint. Duck, steamed in a dumpling, roasted whole (sans bone if desired), or crisply filling a pancake, joined short-ribbed roast beef and stir fried wagyu, alongside double-cooked, roasted or barbecued pork – which included two types of crispy crackling for the true adventurers. For those preferring the white-meat option, there was the choice of whole spring or Sichuan-style chicken; crustacea in the form of spanner crab, steamed scallops or butterflied king prawns; and two types of fish – steamed orange roughy or fish of the day.

Roast beef short ribs 2

L’etoile and I decided to try our hands at as many taste dishes as we could and started with, what else, duck – encased in light and crispy spring rolls with the shining balance of mushroom and vegetable; that perfectly offset the special entree of the day, deep-fried spanner crab wontons with dipping sauce. We were mindful not to forget the lighter option of steamed scallops, although each of our dishes maintained the healthy food pyramid with the inclusion of micro-greens: alfalfa sprouts with sesame seeds, snow-pea shoots, and zucchini discs with smooth golden garlic and crunchy fried millet! We finished with crispy rice balls heaped with what else – duck – plus rocket, radish and red cabbage salad which was drenched in a sweet dressing; and fiery Sichuan Hot & Numbing Chicken – fat little pieces of wings with hidden heat bombs of Sichuan peppercorns and whole dried chilli. But L’etoile required a non-meat protein and we ordered a serving of Handmade Salt & Pepper Egg & Spinach Tofu – AMAZINGLY smooth and creamy and topped with coriander leaves and fresh chilli – and unanimously voted as the dish of the evening.

Crispy rice balls 2

Sadly, we missed full platters of barbeque and roasted meats, and were loathe to order a dessert neither of us could finish, but the sight of those dishes being served to fellow diners didn’t need tasting to know the verdict would be none other than delicious. Les petits morsels and a reasonably priced menu – little wonder the Holy Duck! is a popular venue.

Steamed duck & pork dumpling 3

**Daria is a Sydney writer with a palate for tempting food and tasty events!

Holy Duck!

The Old Rum Store

2-10 Kensington St

Chippendale NSW 2008


Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times Gourmet News – Food/Wine/Hospitality/Events

Follow us on Instagram: @tatgourmetmag

Check out more tempting photos from Holy Duck!…

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