Dumplings and tea alchemy: Melbourne Food and Wine Festival

So little time and so much eating to do! The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival is on again for another year.  I’m trying to get along to as many events as I have the time and cash for.  

Melbourne Food & Wine

This is my list:

  • The Immersery;
  • Tea Alchemy at Travelling Samovar;
  • Duck crawl;
  • Speakeasy cocktail tram; 
  • Express lunches.  

I’ve ticked two things off already this weekend, The Immersery (which I was invited to go to) and the Tea Alchemy event.

Dumpling action at The Immersery
Dumpling action at The Immersery

The Immersery
This pop up restaurant and bar built over the Yarra river is the centrepiece of 2014’s “water” themed festival.  Designed by Hassell architects it’s a spectacular construction, especially considering everything is only around for the three weeks of the festival.  The top level of The Immersery collects rain water which then flows down to the rain garden in the middle level which is where the food is served up.  The lower level is a barge floating on the river itself and serving cocktails. 

Inside The Immersery
Inside The Immersery

The food on offer is a choice of dumplings designed by a collection of top chefs from Hamish Nugent and Rachel Reed at Tani Eat Drink to Daniel Wilson at Huxtable.  I tried out collection two ($14.50 for four dumplings), the highlight being the duck dumpling teamed with a sweet orange and honey sauce.  

Salted caramel popcorn ice-cream at The Immersery
Salted caramel popcorn ice-cream at The Immersery

The dumplings suffered from being dry and I’d guess they’ve all been pre-prepared rather than made fresh each day.  But the setting is spectacular and it’s fun to try out the different flavour combinations created by the different chefs.   The Immersery is expecting to serve up 30,000 dumplings over the festival so get down there to snap up your share!

Gourmet Chick was invited to review The Immersery

Details: The Immersery, Queenbridge Square, Melbourne. 
Damage: Reasonable ($14.50 for lunch)

Iced tea at Travelling Samovar
Iced tea at Travelling Samovar

Tea Alchemy at Travelling Samovar
The same day I headed over to Carlton for an education in tea at the Travelling Samovar with my friend Joyce.  This charming little teahouse has an even lovelier outside courtyard where the Tea Alchemy event was held.  Each tea was paired with a different afternoon tea dish from Oolong tea with an Oolong tea rock melon jelly.

Oolong tea at Travelling Samovar
Oolong tea at Travelling Samovar

It was really interesting to learn about the different teas and I especially enjoyed comparing them served as a cold brew or hot infusion.  If you are as tea obsessed as me, this is a really fun event to get along to.  

Details: Travelling Samovar, 412 Rathdowne street, Carlton North
Kid: Kid friendly – there are high chairs and change facilities.  
Damage: Reasonable. $45 for teas and food.  
Travelling Samovar Tea House on Urbanspoon


  1. Oh no, I must have just missed the start of the festival. I just got back from Melbourne recently. Thanks for the recap of some of the events!

  2. Lorraine – What a shame! Still a week to go so there’ still time…

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