Winter warmers: Southgate restaurants are serving up seasonal delights with a series of masterclasses, meet-the-maker events, and innovative new dishes and drinks

*Title Photo: Pure South’s King Island pasture fed wallaby, parsnip, native pepperberry sauce – Photo credit: Pure South Dining

As the colder months approach, Southgate restaurants are keeping Melburnians warm with new menus integrating the best local and regional produce, limited edition specialty drinks and dishes, and a range of foodie events including makers dinners, regional foodie fests, opera nights and Mother’s Day high teas.

 Innovative winter menus incorporate some of the best seasonal produce to create indulgent meals, with new offerings providing the perfect excuse to revisit a favourite Southgate venue, or discover a new haunt amongst the 13-strong staple of restaurants, bars and cafes.

 Melbourne’s beloved risotteria, the award winning Tutto Bene, is adding six new dishes that deliver a taste of winter to their menu. Hot picks include the Finocchio, a roast baby fennel with snap fried khol rabi and the Pannacotta di gianduia, a stunning hazelnut chocolate pannacotta with lemon gelato and fennel pollen. Plus of course, risotto, always risotto.

Risotto Masterclass at Tutte Bene Photo Credit: Tutte Bene
Risotto Masterclass at Tutto Bene
Photo credit: Tutto Bene

“We love working with fennel at this time of year – it grows in abundance and you can be creative with how you use it in both savoury and sweet dishes. It is such a versatile plant, with all parts being edible from bulb, stalks, leaves and seeds, while the fronds and pollen are great accents to any dish,” says Nathan.

 Tutto Bene’s risotto masterclasses are back by popular demand, on 13 June and 11 July. Clue: if you’re using Arborio, you’re doing it wrong. The event includes a take home goodie bag with all the right ingredients. Book pronto, as it’s tipped to sell out.

 Waterslide’s new cocktail list delivers some of their most creative winter-warmer concoctions yet. ‘Auntie Faye’s Cure No.23’ is inspired by the head bartender’s Auntie Faye, who would add a large measure of bourbon to her apple and rhubarb pie to cure your ailments. The cocktail version takes over 24 hours to prepare, delivering powerful punch of flavour with spiced rhubarb, apple syrup, and a hit of bourbon, topped with custard, rhubarb skins and crush. Guaranteed to kick your winter chills to the kerb.

'Aunty Faye's Cure No. 23' Cocktail -Waterslide Bar Photo Credit: Waterslide Bar
‘Aunty Faye’s Cure No. 23’ cocktail – Waterslide Bar
Photo credit: Waterslide Bar

 A commitment to provenance is something a number of Southgate chefs are passionate about, whether that means working with the best local suppliers of fresh produce, or paying homage to a specific region of the world via carefully curated local and international ingredients.

 Pure South Dining brings the best of Tasmania to the table and their extensive wine menu is perfectly curated to match the impressive food offering. During May and June, a series of wine dinners will be taking place providing the chance to sample incredible wines from bespoke Tasmanian wineries Piper’s Brook, Moorilla and Torbreck accompanied by special menus from their Michelin star chef, David Hall.

Pure South's King Island Beef Tartare, taco, daikon, avocado, finger lime Photo credit: Pure South
Pure South’s King Island Beef Tartare, taco, daikon, avocado, finger lime
Photo credit: Pure South

 BearBrass has secured the makers of three of their favourite Yarra Valley producers to attend their special ‘A Taste of the Yarra’ event on Sunday 27 May. With tastings on offer from Napoleone Beer & Cider, Four Pillars Gin and TarraWarra Estate, patrons can also enjoy a special Yarra Valley Bar Menu accompanied with live music from Rory McKenna across the afternoon.

 La Camera Southgate is bringing regional Italy to Melbourne with Gior D’Italia. Friendly chefs will lead diners through a culinary tour, using their daily specials as their flavour passport. Each week in May a different region will take the spotlight with a selection of delicious meals showcasing the unique elements of the selected district. It’s a tour of Italy with a view of the Yarra River.

La Camera’s Opera Nights have become a fixture on the calendar for many, combining culture and cuisine in one electrifying evening. The next event takes place on Monday 28 May, when the souring voices of Samantha Du Rennes, Suzanne Shakespere, Lino Del Giudice and Richard Thomas will come together to give the ultimate wine and dine experience, enjoyed over a set three course menu.

 Waterslide is hosting a bevy of special events throughout the cooler months, including their own Waterslide Gin & Tonic Appreciation Day on Thursday 3 May and Waterslide’s Rum Day on Thursday 14 June. June will also see the return of their (literally) hot ‘Fitzroy Hipster’ cocktail, back by popular demand. Available for a limited time only, the delicious combination of spiced whipped butter and rum is Waterslide’s take on the classic Hot Buttered Rum and is guaranteed to warm you up from the inside out.

 Pure South Dining is hosting a unique King Island Degustation Dinner on 1 June, celebrating the world-renowned produce from the island’s wild shores and seas. The intimate dinner will showcase some of the restaurant’s most remote, and in some cases exclusive, suppliers from King Island’s farms, dairies and fisherman. For example, the newly available King Island wallaby is now on the Pure South menu, but cannot be found anywhere else on the mainland.

Sunday blues are a thing of the past thanks to the continuing ‘Free Flowing Champagne Sunday Lunch’ at Pure South Dining. Enjoyed with either a two or three course lunch, Pure South will be rotating the bubbles with Mumm Cordon Rouge Brut, Bollinger Special Cuvee and Moet & Chandon Brut Imperial. Sunday afternoons never looked so good.

 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.

Tutto Bene's Finocchio Photo credit: Tutto Bene
Tutto Bene’s Finocchio
Photo credit: Tutto Bene

**Information and Images Courtesy of Southgate restaurants/supplied by Fuller PR – Keryn O’Donnell & Keshia Hutchens

P.J.O'Briens Winter Seafood Chowder Photo credit: P.J.O'Brien's
P.J.O’Briens Winter Seafood Chowder
Photo credit: P.J.O’Brien’s

Connie Lambeth

The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events

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It’s been a big year for multi award-winning Italian restaurant and gelateria, Tutto Bene. Melbourne’s beloved risotteria has again won the respected Best Italian Restaurant at the 2017 Restaurant & Catering Australia (R&CA) Awards for Excellence.

 This is the sixth time Tutto Bene has won this award, cementing its position as one of Melbourne’s most consistently applauded eateries. The award adds to a successful run for the restaurant, which launched a series of sell-out risotto masterclasses over winter and completed a major renovation and expansion in 2015.

 Owners Luis Pampliega and Tamara Volkoff have run Tutto Bene since it first opened in 2004.

 “We feel very lucky that we’re continuing to be recognised by our industry. After twelve years in business, it’s not easy to maintain this level of regard and we couldn’t be more proud of the entire team – a true reflection of the hard work and passion they bring on a daily basis,” says Luis.

 “But of course it’s what our customers think that matters most. We would not be successful without our amazingly loyal clientele.”

Tutto Bene’s menu, which is always an impressive mix of classic and seasonal Italian dishes, is full of new creations thanks to Head Chef, Nathan Scarfo’s, recent trip back to his family roots in Italy.

“I’ve returned from my trip inspired. My family have a little farm in the south of Italy. Cooking there is simple, raw and uncomplicated. Every piece of produce has a million uses,” he says.

This approach has brought about an array on new dishes that incorporate Tutto Bene’s no-wastage approach. New seasonal dishes are incorporating every element of produce, with highlights including freshly shucked oysters with peach Bellini granita, carrot arancini with edible soil, lemon spaghettini with blue swimmer crab, basil pesto and pistachio and fried zucchini flowers with roast pumpkin, peppitos and mustard fruit. Everyone’s favourite risotto dishes remain on the menu, with some varieties campaigned for by customers resulting in four risottos never leaving the menu since opening in November 2004.

The Italian summer cocktail menu includes a range of signature aperitifs such as the Tutto Bene Mule (vodka, lime juice, Nonnina grappa, ginger ale and mint) and Terrazza Campari (Campari, orange and pink grapefruit juice). These delicious cocktails are only $10 during happy hour (3pm-5:30pm daily) and $15 all other times.

Excitingly, Tutto Bene’s award winning gelato is transforming for the holidays with festive gelato flavours including ginger bread, pavlova and trifle, available from 1-27 December.

The Tutto Bene restaurant is open seven days, until late. Bookings can be made by calling the restaurant on 03 9696 3334. Bookings for Christmas and New Year’s functions are filling fast, call or email to ask for a function pack.

**information & Images Courtesy of Tutto Bene/Fuller PR


Connie Lambeth – The Australia Times News

Editor GOURMET – Food/Wine/Events




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