Luna night market at the Queen Vic Market

Mulled wine, suckling pig and outdoor log fires.  You don’t have to worry about Winter weather with those three things to warm you up at Queen Vic Market’s Luna Night Market.  I’m a big fan of the Christmas markets in Germany so happily accepted an invitation to go down and check out the Melbourne’s own Winter market.  

Luna1878

Entry is free and the thing that really sets the Luna Night Market apart is the excellent food on offer.  The Queen Vic Market has enlisted some top Melbourne restaurants like Hammer & Tong, Wonderbao and 400 Gradi to set up stalls.  

400 Gradi pizza making in action

400 Gradi pizza making in action

 400 Gradi brings in a whole woodfired pizza oven for the night to ensure the pizzas have that smoky char to the base.  The margherita suffered a little from a spell in a pie warming device before being served.  

400 Gradi pizza

The biggest crowds were around the Hoy Pinoy bbq store.  I suspect the three suckling pigs slowly rotating on spits over hot coals may have been the draw card.  

Suckling pig at Luna1878

Suckling pig at Luna1878

I couldn’t help but feel a little sorry for the vegetarian stall next door which was deserted, but that still didn’t stop me ordering a serve of the pork ($12) complete with crispy crackling and atchara – a pickled sauce made from papaya.  

Suckling pig at Luna 1878

Suckling pig at Luna 1878

The market has a great atmosphere with log fires dotted around adding warmth and light and a French gypsy band playing.  There’s a bar selling beer and wine but I went straight for the mulled wine stall for a cup of spicy rich wine laced with cinnamon ($8).  I figured that counted as dessert in a liquid form.  

Mulled wine at the Luna Night Market

Mulled wine at the Luna Night Market

Gourmet Chick was invited to review the Luna Night Market

Essentials
Details: Luna1878 Night Market, every Wednesday from 9 July to 27 August, 5pm to 10pm. 
Damage: Such a bargain my mother would approve. Entry is free.
8/10

Posted by: on July 28th, 2014     1 Comment »

Category: City, Gourmet Event, Market Tags: , ,
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The uncommon Hawthorn Common

There’s a lot of talk about using local and sustainable produce in the hospitality world.  But Hawthorn Common goes further with a “closed loop” philosophy.  There’s a rooftop herb garden, in-house coffee roaster and even a flour mill for stone milling grain every day to bake the cafe’s own bread.  But this isn’t some rustic operation run on the whiff of a mung bean rag.  It’s a huge space with plenty of room for outdoor dining on the balcony.   The interior is all pale blonde wood with a dash of personality injected through huge black and white photos of staff and customers lining the walls.  

 Hawthorn

The cafe is owned by hospitality heavyweights Danny Colls (Café Racer and Silo by Joost) and George Sykotis (The Press Club, Jimmy Grants and Gazi) and ex-Vue de Monde chef Stefano Rosi is manning the stoves so the food is not an afterthought here.  

Inside Hawthorn Common

Inside Hawthorn Common

If I was a really dedicated food blogger I would have ordered one of the more whacky sounding dishes like the soup fruit salad ($10) or the black pudding paté ($18).  But instead I played it safe with the mushrooms ($16).  They are served on a smoky char grilled slab of Hawthorn Common’s home made bread and are given punch with some crumbled beetroot and creamy cottage cheese.

Mushrooms at Hawthorn Common

Mushrooms at Hawthorn Common

Even better are the lightly fried ricotta fritters ($16).  A trio of the fritters are enlivened with pops of sweetness from a swipe of pumpkin chutney and scattering of currants. Sustainable? Probably.  On trend? Certainly.  Delicious? Definitely.  Hawthorn Common is a cafe where the food actually delivers on all the talk.   

Ricotta fritters at Hawthorn Common

Ricotta fritters at Hawthorn Common

Essentials
Details:  Hawthorn Common, 302 Burwood Road, Hawthorn (Ph 03 9819 2200)
Damage: Reasonable.  But the girls shouted me brunch as a belated birthday present  (thanks Jo, Clare and Jo!).
Kids: Welcome.  There are lots of high chairs and staff were accommodating of the three little people we had with us.  
7/10
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Posted by: on July 25th, 2014     2 Comments »

Category: Breakfast, Brunch, Cafe Tags: , , , ,
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Italian dreaming at Centonove

I’ve been suffering severe Italy withdrawal since my return to Melbourne.   Luckily for my birthday my mother in law gave me a voucher to Centovene restaurant in Kew (thanks Carmel!).  It was one of those really Wintery evenings when I went there with MTV, the sort when you really just want to hibernate at home, but the welcome was warm and Italian at Centonove.  

Italy dreaming at (1)

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Posted by: on July 22nd, 2014     4 Comments »

Category: Dinner, Italian Tags: , , ,
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Where to eat in Puglia: Gourmet Chick in Italy

If Italy is a boot then Puglia is the heel right at the bottom.  It’s hot with an arid and flat landscape.  We hired a masseria (walled house) for a week with friends in the Salento region in the middle of an olive grove.  All around us there was sun, sea and seriously good food .  And the occasional little stone building which looks like a smurf house but which is known as a trulli.  It’s a region which seems still quite undiscovered.  There were no tour buses and most of the other tourists we ran into were Italian.  

Puglian

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Posted by: on July 17th, 2014     4 Comments »

Category: Travel - Italy Tags:
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How to make Bourke Street Bakery’s pork and fennel sausage rolls

I hosted a very crazy party at my place on Saturday.  The guests spilled drinks everywhere, spread food all over the floor and one of them vomited a few times.  Yes it was wild times at the joint first birthday party for our mothers group.  Those one year olds really know how to trash a house!

Pork & fennel

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Posted by: on July 14th, 2014     5 Comments »

Category: Recipe - Finger Food, Recipe - Lunch Tags: ,
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