It’s back! The best time of the year has started again with Melbourne Food and Wine Festival launching on the weekend. If you love food and booze there are so many events to check out. I’m going to be working my way through as many as possible.
1. Festival artisan bakery and bar
The hub of the Food and Wine Festival is always the pop up on the Yarra. This year it’s an artisan bakery and bar at Queensbridge square, just down from Crown Casino.
There are smashing river views and every morning a team of local and international bakers, including superstars like Éric Kayser (Maison Kayser, Paris), Justin Gellatly (Bread Ahead, London) and Melbourne’s own Daniel Chirico bake a range of top notch baked treats to eat there or takeaway. The great thing about the bakery is that it’s free to check out and even if everything else at the festival is booked out by ultra-organised people it’s always an option.
Gourmet Chick attended the bakery launch as a guest of The Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Details: Artisan Bakery and Bar, Queensbridge Square, Melbourne.
Damage: The bakery is free to attend. Prices are reasonable.
2. Crawl ‘n Bite
The Crawl ‘n Bite is a bit like a food version of a pub crawl. The idea is that you wander between three different restaurants and at each one you get a drink and some food. I went along to the Crawl ‘n Bite for a work event starting off at San Telmo for some empanadas, roast pork rolls and a glass of wine.
Next stop was Ginger Boy for a lurid pink cocktail and the most delicious slow cooked pork baos then we finished at Bomba’s rooftop with a smoky vermouth and a substantial plate of pork (it seemed to be a theme for the night!) and creamy pureed potatoes. The Crawl ‘n Bite was lots of fun and a great way to get a taste of some different restaurants.
Details: Crawl ‘n Bite runs during the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival.
Damage: $56 for three drinks and food.
3. Maha Express lunch
Restaurant Express lunches are one of my favourite parts of the Food and Wine Festival. At lots of the top restaurants in town you can get two courses, a glass of wine and tea or coffee all for $40. I went with my friend Jade to the Restaurant Express Lunch at Maha which has just had a major renovation.
Inside it looks more contemporary and luxurious with aqua fabrics and copper fittings. But when it comes to the food Maha is still serving up top notch Middle Eastern dishes. The wild barramundi was crispy skinned and slivers of zucchini and a fava puree served as a nice foil to it. Chocolate and pomegranate tart was dark and bitter with peppermint crisp ice-cream adding some zing.
Details: Maha, 21 Bond Street, Melbourne VIC 3000 (Ph 03 9629 5900)
Damage: Reasonable $40 for two courses, wine and tea or coffee.